Brit-based cashpool eyes commercial fare

Limelight Fund set to launch second venture

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CANNES -- Good news for beleaguered indie filmmakers jetting to Cannes in search of cold hard cash.

Some of the brains behind the $300 million Limelight Fund, a British-based Venture Capital Tax cashpool, said Wednesday that they plan to launch a second one that will target more commercial material.

The move follows the successful distribution of the $300 million fund from the first Limelight cashpool, operated and administered by London based finance house BMS Finance.

BMS Finance plans to operate its own film fund under the BMS brand, bringing aboard Limelight founder and Oscar winning producer David Parfitt to chart the fund's decisions.

The new look fund aims to provide gap, presale and tax credit financing totaling up to 50% of budget for commercial British and international films with budgets up to about $20 million.

"Having successfully worked with Limelight to deploy its VCT funds, BMS is now looking to move up a level into the financing of larger, more overtly commercial movies," BMS director of film and media funds Ivan Mactaggart said. "We're delighted that David Parfitt has agreed to join our board as his contacts and experience will be invaluable in achieving our aims."

And Limelight VCT founder Michael Henry intends to continue to offer U.K. tax credit funding to lower-budget British films under the Limelight brand.

"Limelight VCT has proved an innovative and highly successful route to provide private finance to British film producers," Henry said. "I'm delighted that, with BMS' help, we have been able to finance so many films whose high quality belies their low budgets. I look forward to continuing to work with the best of British talent."

For Limelight Parfitt teamed with fellow producer Christopher Figg, Henry and Mactaggart to cover finance for 15 films, including Noel Clarke's "Adulthood," sci-fi Thriller "Moon," starring Sam Rockwell, and writer-director Julian Fellowes' "From Time to Time."

Limelight VCT was listed on the London Stock Exchange in April 2006 and is the only Venture Capital Trust investing in movie production.

In October 2007, Limelight VCT made arrangements with BMS Finance to jointly source and fund feature films. Michael Henry is the founder of Limelight VCT plc, and sits on its board.