Monday, March 22, 2010

Global Opportunities

The LA Marathon was run this past weekend, and for the first time it finished down by the beach here in Santa Monica. It’s always inspiring to see so many people achieving their goal, this year more than 25,000 ran 26.2 miles and there was a great atmosphere at the finish line. It’s always especially great to see so many people from all over the world congregating in one great big event together. There’s been quite a bit of filming in our neighbourhood lately, with a few movies and TV shows using the beach as their backdrop, and we wondered how many sources of international money it’s taking to finance these various projects on the ground right now.

We’ve been going on for ages about international partnerships and movie production & funding solutions around the world. We’re currently discussing funding partnerships in China – a long-term discussion, that one - Japan, Singapore and Australia, as well as feeling out options in the Middle East. We have committed funding partners in Europe and there’s certainly a great deal of interest awakening in various markets about the opportunities available to investors into the film business. Many “Hollywood” movies have been financed over the years by funding structures around the world and while it’s commonplace these days to see producers take advantage of tax breaks and incentives on offer in the various US states, Canada and some other countries, there’s always some new stone being turned.

Last week it was reported following the Berlin festival that US producers had suddenly woken up to the potential of financing their movies from Europe. Producers are seeking not only co-financing money but also the opportunity to qualify for European content quotas – meaning that if a certain portion of their filming is done on location, they may qualify as “local” content and have more favourable distribution opportunities than typical Hollywood movies. As well as seeking additional opportunities in Europe, producers are also finding it tougher to close finance domestically in the US but conveniently it seems that European distributors are buying more English-language titles at present.

A nice combination of circumstances if you’re looking to finance your international movie, but it’s somehow surprising to us that the concept of international financing seems so novel. There are definitely great opportunities all over the world – we were recently invited to work with the producers of a new Hollywood movie being shot on location in Singapore and financed out of the US, the Middle East and Asia – but in our opinion your producer needs to be looking at all possible sources of finance to get that movie made, wherever the money’s available. We always think that the best place to find what you need is out in the world.

The Out Of Obscurity team.

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