Influential Banker Frans Afman Dies

He helped oversee funding for films like "Three Days of the Condor," "King Kong" and "The Terminator," and also worked with Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis.

 

Frans Afman, the influential banker who revolutionized independent film financing as head of Credit Lyonnais Bank in the 1980s, died May 4 after a long illness. He was 77.

Afman, then the head of the international division of Amsterdam-based Slavenburg’s Bank, got into the entertainment business when Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis talked him into a small loan in 1972.

Afman would go on to oversee hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to production companies, and during a time when money from the major U.S. studios became scarce, one “yes” from him meant a go for a picture.

In addition to De Laurentiis, Afman worked with such foreign-based independent producers as Alexander Salkind, Mario Kassar and Tarak Ben Ammar and with such companies as Carolco Pictures, Castle Rock, Cannon Films, Imagine Films, Merchant Ivory Prods., Morgan Creek and Largo Entertainment.

Under his watch, Credit Lyonnais helped fund such films as Three Days of the Condor; King Kong; Superman; The Terminator; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Platoon; Hoosiers; A Room With a View; When Harry Met Sally …; Driving Miss Daisy; and Dances With Wolves.

“I invented this job,” Afman told the Los Angeles Times in 1985. “I always loved movies, and I’d had a few producers as clients, but I didn’t understand film financing until I met Dino De Laurentiis.”

Afman initiated the entertainment division at Slavenburg’s, which was taken over by Credit Lyonnais in 1983. He headed Credit Lyonnais’ entertainment arm until 1991, when he came to Los Angeles to join ICM as head of a new financial services division.

Afman left the agency after two unproductive years when Credit Lyonnais turned to CAA to restructure its entertainment portfolio, then became an independent consultant. He was a fixture at Cannes for years.

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