The new US equity fundMotion Picture Fund of America has raised its first $20m and signed a 12-film,three-year deal with financier, producer and distributor Regent MB of BeverlyHills and Munich.

MPFA head Pete Maggi andco-manager Gino Dileo struck the deal with Regent co-presidents JeanetteBuerling and Maggie Monteith.

The companies willco-finance four films a year for three years with budgets up to $15m. Regent MBwill handle worldwide distribution and sales.

Regent and MPFA said theprojects will be packaged with appropriate talent and genres that have'maximum appeal to the commercial box office for US audiences to optimizethe potential returns to MPFA and Regent MB investors.'

The first slate of threefilms are being developed now and will be announced at the 2007 Berlinale.

'As films are becomingmore difficult to get financed due to the demising pre-sale market, equityfinance partnerships are becoming more valuable,' said Buerling.

'As the provider ofequity financing we are always interested to split our risk with other equityfinance partners,' added Monteith. 'As long as the partners have thesame taste in product, sharing the risk can be a receipt for success.'

'Regent MB and MPFA have anatural creative and business synergy,' said Maggi and Dileo. 'Ourcombined experience and finance offers a new force for producing, financing,selling and distributing quality, commercial film product that also offers astructured, risk minimized value to our investors. MPFA is geared to creatingthe benefits of a new style media commodity market.'

Maggi previously foundedItalian distributor Eagle Pictures and UK-based production company Blue StarMovies and his credits include executive producing The Merchant Of Venice and Head In The Clouds. The MPFA fund protects its investors by investingpartially in interest-bearing bonds as well as in media investments.

Regent MB was founded inApril 2006 by producer and Hollywood International Finance veteran Buerling andformer studio marketing executive Monteith.