It's a lot to Think about

Options abound for Bergstein funds, Capitol

David Bergstein's sale of his minority stake in IM Global last week heartened some in the industry that the entrepreneur could be freeing up cash to pay his creditors or to pour into his wholly owned Capitol Films.

But the move also raises the question for the privately held London- and Los Angeles-based Capitol and its New York-based U.S. distribution arm ThinkFilm: What now?

Bergstein and ThinkFilm topper Mark Urman recently have sought financing that could keep Capitol and ThinkFilm in business and releasing movies at least until year's end. ThinkFilm needs $10 million-$20 million in order to service its upcoming release slate — money that it needs by mid-August if it has any hope of getting its fall campaigns up and running.

The next few weeks, then, will be make or break for the distributor. If it comes up with the money, it could release its upcoming titles and at the very least buy more time. If it doesn't, ThinkFilm could, in one worst-case scenario, be dissolved and its upcoming movies sold off.

ThinkFilm has two key fall releases, the Bryan Cox and Joseph Fiennes prison-escape saga "The Escapist" and the Elle Fanning coming-of-age drama "Phoebe in Wonderland," both Sundance 2008 pickups. Two more unspecified Capitol films, one of which will play the Toronto International Film Festival, also could go out in the U.S. via ThinkFilm.

But even if Capitol lands funds in time, questions remain about where the money will wind up.

Capitol continues to face financial and legal pressures.

As one indie film veteran said, "Two months from now, Think could be in the midst of another Oscar campaign, under new ownership or entirely dissolved. It all depends on the money." (partialdiff)