Wind Dancer Films, the US-based production company behind What Women Want and hit sitcom Home Improvement, has cemented its relationship with UK/US production and sales outfit Winchester Films.
The two companies have struck an overall three-year development and co-production deal on a new slate of pictures. Winchester will provide development funds to Wind Dancer for a number of pre-determined films. The publicly-quoted company will arrange financing for these and select other films produced by Wind Dancer.
In return, Winchester will handle international rights on films originating from the partnership. Budgets are expected to range from $15m to $70m.
The announcement was made last week by Wind Dancer Films president Susan Cartsonis and Winchester Films' LA-based president, Hadeel Reda.
The partners first collaborated on prehistoric comedy Harv The Barbarian, written by Wind Dancer partner Carmen Finestra and Saturday Night Live writer Jack Handey. They also recently teamed up on Untitled Blake Masters Project, an action movie to be directed by Wind Dancer principal Matt Williams. Williams made his directorial debut last year on Where The Heart Is, starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd.
Wind Dancer senior vice president Melissa Goddard first introduced Reda and Winchester CEO Gary Smith to Cartsonis, Finestra and Williams. Wind Dancer became an independent entity in 1999, having left the Walt Disney fold. The arrangement with Winchester gives the outfit autonomy and financing outside the studio system.Winchester is stepping up its financing capabilities after recently raising more than $30m on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) for financing major US projects among other things. Last year, the company bought international sales rights to MGM's upcoming Heartbreakers, starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Gene Hackman.
The deal was negotiated by Reda with Wind Dancer executive vice president Dete Meserve. Winchester was represented by David Nochimson of Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca & Fischer, while Wind Dancer was represented by Robert Stuhlberg of Amstrong, Hirsch, Jackoway & Tyerman.