Phil Hunt, a managing director at UK sales company Bankside Films, is backing a new Australian financing entity dedicated to low budget features.
Ticket to Ride is the new financing unit of See Pictures, the Sydney-based production company run by Jamie Hilton and Michael Petroni.
It will look to finance up to three films per year with a focus on high concept ideas with budgets under $2m.
Hunt told ScreenDaily that his involvement would be as a joint venture between his new investment company Star Gate Film and Bankside.
“The risk on these movies is so low,” said Hunt, currently in Australia at the 37º South Market, the industry side of the Melbourne International Film Festival.
“Jamie is confident, has good people around him, is a hard worker and knows the limitations of low budget filmmaking.”
Ticket to Ride films will, in part, be financed via Australia’s producer offset (PO), a tax rebate of up to 40% for films with “significant Australian content”. The rebate is only paid upon completion and Hunt will provide cashflow – “at a rate cheaper than everyone else” – as well as equity.
Deluxe Australia, an increasingly dominant post facility, and Red Apple Cameras are the other partners in Ticket to Ride.
Hilton told 37º South delegates yesterday: “[Deluxe Australia MD Alaric Mcausland] says he wants to find the next Baz Luhrmann or George Miller as a result of Ticket to Ride.”
The first film to be produced through Ticket to Ride is The Little Death, the directorial debut of actor-writer Josh Lawson that will be produced by Matt Reeder.
Described by Hunt as “five vignettes about sexual perversions”, it went into production today [July 29] and will be released locally by Hopscotch/eOne.
Hilton, named as one of Screen’s Future Leaders in May, said Ticket to Ride helped to fast-track The Little Death.
“Josh has worked tirelessly for over seven years to get this project off the ground through traditional financing methods. Ticket to Ride optioned the script in April and we commence shooting this week,” he said.
Hilton added that Ticket to Ride would enable films to be made without calling on direct investment from Screen Australia or state film agencies.