Senator gets new financing from Winchester

To bankroll acquisition and marketing pipeline through 2010

COLOGNE, Germany -- Senator Entertainment, the German industry's comeback kid, has secured a new lease on life via a credit line from L.A.-based private equity group Winchester Capital International.

Senator did not disclose the size of the loan but said Winchester's cash injection will allow the German distributor/producer to bankroll its acquisition and marketing pipeline through 2010.

Winchester's parent company, Winchester Capital Management, is a major player in the indie film financing world and has backed recent features including George Clooney-starrer "The Men Who Stare at Goats," and "The Private Life of Pippa Lee," featuring Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin and Winona Ryder.

Senator came close to collapse last year but has pulled through after radically restructuring and outsourcing many of its key operations, including its production of German-language films, which is now handled by deutschfilm, a joint venture between Senator and former company executives Anatol Nitschke and Christoph Muller.

Last month, Senator launched a new, Cologne-based operation lead by producer Ulf Isreal ("Adam Resurrected," "2 Days in Paris") that will focus on English-language features.

"After 15 months of restructuring, we are now happy to announce we have secured solid capital backing on the investment market for our promising pipeline," said Senator CEO Helge Sasse. "We also expect a loosening of financial constraints at home in Germany going forward, freeing further funds for film financing."

Senator's distribution slate includes Joseph Vilsmaier's upcoming mountain-climbing thriller "Nanga Parbat" as well as several high-profile U.S. pick-ups -- among them the Rob Marshall-directed musical "Nine," Viggo Mortensen-starrer "The Road" and "A Single Man," the critically-acclaimed directorial debut from designer Tom Ford.

Senator is hoping more cash for national marketing campaigns will help these features avoid the fate of its last two releases: German horror title "The Door" and chick flick "New in Town" starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. Both performed below expectations in Germany, something Senator attributes to the boxoffice tsunami of "The Twilight Saga – New Moon," which opened the same weekend.

Senator said the flops mean the Berlin-based company will not end the year in the black, as forecast.
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