UK outfit Future Films was created in 2000 to help producers put together financial packages for their films. That remit was soon expanded to include working as co-producers, and now the company is looking to be involved at every stage of a film's progress from development to international sales.
"I'm trying to achieve a horizontally integrated business," explains Future Films' chief executive Stephen Margolis. "Not many people know but we have co-produced more than 25 films in the last three years, and now the Media programme has granted us a full award ($208,000) for the development of our next slate of films. So it would appear the authorities now see us as having moved away from just being a sale-and-leaseback outfit into a fully fledged production company."
On the post-production side, Future already had Future Post but was struggling to find its feet in the sector before the company merged with London-based outfit Pepper Post in March.
"The transition has been seamless," says Pepper's managing director Patrick Holzen. "We have two buildings in the centre of London that have been redeveloped to cater for special-effects equipment. Future Post will be re-branded to Pepper Post, and we will keep on their staff."
Since the merger, Pepper Post has enjoyed a surge in interest. It has just finished work on New Line's The Golden Compass and is now mixing Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.
Future also opened an office in Los Angeles last year in order to work more with US productions eager to take advantage of the new UK tax credit.
It has just co-produced Michael Radford's Flawless, starring Michael Caine, which makes its world premiere at San Sebastian this week, and is now working on Flawless writer Edward Anderson's thriller Shuttle. "We helped cashflow the Massachusetts tax credit for (Shuttle) and have now brought it back to the UK for post," says Margolis.
"What we're doing is looking at how to cross fertilise projects that we can find in the UK, which we can say to Los Angeles, 'Help us package this.' And also find projects in LA to which we can help bring a European style of financing."
Future also cashflows the new UK tax incentive for producers, as well as investing in projects and acquiring the rights to finish the funding. "We effectively become the bonder because we say we have the facilities here to finish the film as well," says Margolis.
Outside the UK and US, Future is also "involved in a couple of conversations about establishing a fund to invest in films made in Spain and looking to work more closely with Australia and South Africa," Margolis concludes.