AFM 2012: Solar Pictures Unveils First Slate, Announces Four Projects

The fledgling film finance and production company closes deals to finance and produce films, including suspense thriller "Dark Corners" and a conspiracy drama "Jonestown."

Fledgling film finance and production company Solar Pictures has put together its debut slate, closing deals to finance and produce four new projects.

First up is the suspense thriller Dark Corners. Tom Shankland (The Children, BBC’s The Fades) will direct from a script by E.L. Katz and Tim DayPeter Block (House at the End of the Street), Andy Gould (Grindhouse) and John Penotti (Movie 43) are producing. Tim Williams will executive produce. 

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The story centers on Jess, a beautiful blind college girl who is tormented by a methodic killer who knows her well and therefore knows what terrifies her. He is motivated by brutal revenge, but Jess cleverly turns the tables. Using her apparent weakness to her advantage, she fights back.

The film will be shot at Mandragora Studios, a sister company of Solar Pictures, in Romania in first quarter 2013.

Solar is also producing the conspiracy drama Jonestown with Maxime Remillard’s Remstar Corp. (An American Haunting). The story centers on an idealistic young follower who is seduced by the brilliant cult leader Jim Jones. The once-utopian community spirals out of control resulting in perhaps the largest mass-suicide in world history. But behind the secrets of Jonestown, our hero bears witness to government collusion .

Solar will finance and produce the action-thriller Jet Black, written by C. Taylor and John Morgan. Set in the rarified world of the .001 percent, a highly-skilled private jet pilot risks his life to investigate the suspicious downing of his brother's plane and discovers the elite private airline they work for is not what it seems.

Bobby Paunescu’s latest feature The Girl Who Knew Too Much will also be folded into the Solar slate and produced with China Film Group Corp. Paunescu is writing and directing the suspense-thriller about the international fashion world.

Jonestown, Jet Black and The Girl Who Knew Too Much are also scheduled to begin shooting in early- to mid-2013.

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“Solar Pictures represents intelligent, experienced capital with a mandate to build long lasting partnerships,” said co-CEO Kearie Peak. “Our involvement with film projects and partners is heavily dependent on how smart the project is, its global viability, franchise potential and our collective passion for it. This initial slate hits the target for us, so we’re excited to green light and move forward toward production.”

Launched in March, Solar Pictures aims to produce four to five movies a year with budgets up to $40 million. Paunescu and Jared Underwood, the principal investors in the company, serve as managing directors. Co-CEO Christopher Taylor oversees business and corporate affairs.

Edward Lawson Johnston, founder of the London-based merchant bank LJ Group, which has more than $5 billion of assets under management, is also a key stakeholder in Solar, along with the New York-based Shu family, with holdings in real estate and green-energy.