Entertainment Value boosts program


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BERLIN -- Flush with new credit lines from its U.S. and German financing partners, German film rights group Entertainment Value Associates is moving strongly into co-production and co-financing, looking to produce two to four midbudget films a year.

EVA, which financed eight feature films last year, is backing the family adventure feature "Dragon Dale" from Germany's mediacontentfactory and "Raising Phoenix" from Los Angeles-based Uncharted Territory.

"Phoenix," a $15 million film, is set to begin shooting in the summer in Germany. The story of a 12-year-old boy who finds a mysterious egg in a scientist's laboratory will be directed by Uncharted's Marc Weigert, with his partner Volker Engel producing. Casting is under way.

"Dale," a long-in-development project from Berlin-based producer Peter Kuhn, follows two young teens on vacation in Europe who travel back in time to a magical fantasy world full of Vikings, druids and dragons. Roland Suso Richter ("Dresden") is attached to direct from a script by David Howard ("The Three Investigators").

EVA was set up in 2006 by German film fund specialists David Groenewold and Kai Gruneke with the strategy of pooling together defunct German funds to more effectively manage their rights libraries. EVA currently has a film library numbering about 600 titles.

EVA is controlled by Groenewold's Odeon Film. Odeon's German distributor, Majestic, is releasing Doris Dorrie's Berlinale competition entry "Cherry Blossoms" in March in Germany.

While rights management continues to be EVA's bread-and-butter business, the company is expanding quickly into production, financing and world sales as a way of generating income and providing new titles for its library. Backing comes from German private investment and New York private-equity group Cedar Lane.

"We want to try and finance our co-productions entirely out of Europe, with the U.S. being an add-on, as opposed to the other way around," Gruneke said. "We will do anything from $1 million-$100 million budgets, so long as it makes financial sense and we can see the return."