With the hedge funds gone and banks fleeing the scene like rats from a sinking ship, the next wave of capital for a largely cash-strapped film industry will come from the mobile telephony sector, according to a leading Hollywood executive.

'A lot of it will be tied to technology and the next source will be mobile - it's just a question of when,' The Film Department CEO Mark Gill told attendees at the Film Finance Forum in Century City hosted by Winston Baker [March 11.]

'Film will come in on your mobile via broadband and you'll be able to run it through your television or project it onto a larger screen,' Gill said.

Moments earlier in what may be an unrelated development the executive said he understood that a $1.2bn deal was 'making its way towards the market', although the nature of that deal and the parties involved remained unclear.

Gill added his voice to the majority who believe that Asia and the Middle East are the financial hubs that look most likely to emerge as new powerhouses and remarked that his own company is funded from entities within the two regions.

Earlier fellow panelist Bryan LaCour, the senior vice-president, entertainment finance manager at Union Bank Of California, iterated a common theme that would be picked up by others throughout the day when he said the slate deal was dead - at least for now.

'The financial institutions providing senior debt that remain in Hollywood have historically been asset lenders and the banks who have exited the business were more active in the slate deals,' LaCour said. 'So unless more banks jump into the business I don't see slate deals coming back into play.'

Tuning to the question of where investors are finding value in Hollywood Isaac Palmer, the managing director of boutique investment bank Mesa, said investors had trained their sights on the secondary markets. 'They're finding value in things like discounted deals for film libraries and bank loans these days,' Palmer said.

J P Morgan Securities managing director Clark Hallren said fear was the 'overwhelming' driving force behind the entertainment finance market, however Myles Nestel, CEO of the single-picture financier Oceana Media Finance CEO, remained upbeat.

'There's still an independent film business and people are still putting money to work,' Nestel said, stressing the need to align with quality projects and stay out of the volume business. He added that 'smart equity that doesn't invest blindly in an asset slate' and considered investing in distressed assets would survive.