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Film Private Equity Funding and COVID-19

I'd love to hear from members and about their experiences if they have had any private investment funding for their feature film pulled during this uncertain time.

I work in private equity investment across a number of industries now and my clients have a range of different experiences, so good, and some not so good.

What's yours?


  • Hi Lee, How are you? I had a few examples. I was hired on a private funded Motion Capture short back in March which I signed on the Friday and had cancelled on the Monday! I also had interest in my big budget LA based movie which has now been put on hold. I also now can work as an actor with a new agent and was in a short film which has lost its investor for now. Also a music video but that is back on now and I also have a comedy-horror feature film given new life with advanced conversations with a private equity investor. But during lockdown I have been trying to learn about property since this seems a much wiser industry to make money.

    1 year ago
  • Hey Wozy, lovely to hear from you. It's been a while. Hope you're in fine fettle.

    It's a bit redolent of 2008 when Moving Vision lost all its Blue Chip commercial work and our little syndicate lost almost a third of the £1.6m budget it had garnered for a feature film within days of the credit crunch.

    The silver lining from that crash was that we learned how to live without depending on financiers per se, but to design our projects around our audiences aspirations. That pretty much ruled out projects that had no other reason to exist other than solely as arts entertainment. In other words factual front loaded by aspirational crowds. No prizes, rewards, mugs, T-Shirts, vanity parts etc., other than acknowledgments. So far, apart from one we had a small part in, not in tha category of big budget features, though we have a couple of six and seven figure projects slow stewing quite tastily on the burners. Just waiting for the dust and the mirages to settle.

    With interest rates at zero, or even negative, and much of the world economy faltering and household names going bust, I imagine that entertainment including film and TV is likely to get a boost, once the existing business models, cartels and moguls readjust.

    Historically the entertainment industry in many of its forms has thrived during recessions and done even better in depressions. People need affordable entertainment and distraction in their millions. So many ways to honourably exploit a disaster. It's a sociopolitical economic thing.

    Money hanging about losing its flavour could do worse than partnering with creative producers. It might even get to the point where it becomes a producer's market. Financiers willing to be equitable rather than predatory, and able to duck and dive in a new environment, will get the prize.

    Well that's my imperfect contribution.

    I'll add my standard disclaimer; other realities are available.

    Hope you stick around dear chap.

    1 year ago
    • Hey, John. Yes sticking around (although in and out over the last 12-months).

      Investors in general are typically risk-conscious and therefore have a number of boxes to tick before parting with their capital. But they still ultimately desire as good a return on their money as possible. So a typical investor's risk appetite will require spreading capital across a number of different asset classes with varying risk profiles; some low risk, like cash or bonds, and some medium risk, like stocks or property, and some high risk, like commodities, movies or startups.

      And even in the high-risk investment areas, like movies, they welcome additional risk mitigation factors like tax incentives/breaks, to make the offer more attractive.

      The previous EIS/SEIS scheme benefits for investors in film production has changed recently, now require a number of additional and challenging hoops to be jumped through by filmmakers for Advanced Assurance to be granted for investors to be eligible for tax benefits actually mean the proposal has to show a higher level of risk to the investor. What? Doh!

      And this doesn't even start to cover what's termed as a 'Collective Investment Scheme' where more than one person invests, OR that regular everyday investors, people that are not classified as Certified Sophisticated Investors or High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI), are not allowed by law to invest directly unless via a company regulated in such matters. Breaking the FCA regulatory guidelines will actually exponentially increase risk to an investor.

      This is why all filmmakers need to work with an experienced producer to ensure fundraising is conducted legally so as to reduce financial risks on a film.


      2 weeks ago