Cinetic gets a hand with film finishing

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As Cinetic Media transforms from one of the top indie film sales and financing outfits to a one-stop shop for packaging features with new management and digital rights arms, it now has more ammo in its arsenal: a multimilion-dollar film-finishing fund.

Cinetic founder John Sloss said that the company has closed on financing from Aver Media to establish a fund for features in varying states of completion. It marks Cinetic's first fund of any kind.

"This is set up as a tool for us to assist filmmakers and financiers," Sloss said. "We've seen countless films that could benefit from funds such as these, and we are now in a position to help."

The new service comes on the heels of the 2007 launch of Cinetic's digital-rights management company, CRM, a platform for the sale of digital rights, and Cinetic Management, created upon the arrival of new partner Bart Walker. Partner Robert Nathan will take on a more active role with the company's new venture and CRM, which recently hired former South by Southwest Film Festival producer Matt Dentler as head of marketing and programming operations.

Through Cinetic, Sloss has forged several of the biggest indie film sales, including "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Napoleon Dynamite," and consulted on everything from capital structure to asset sales. He said the financing deal with Aver has no set time limit, and the fund will be able to add varying amounts to complete features that have begun production, an increasingly important service in the tough film financing marketplace.

"We see around 10,000 films a year and sell about 50, and we've had scores of opportunities to go into the film financing business, but we've been very disciplined about it," Sloss said. "This is our first toe in the water on any kind of investment (service). Right now we see an opportunity in the marketplace as we step up with a wide range of activities."

Aver is a private, institutionally capitalized financial company led by Peter Sussman, formerly controlling shareholder of Alliance Atlantis Communications and CEO of its Entertainment Group. Alliance Atlantis was sold last year to CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for $2 billion. (partialdiff)
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