International funds migrate to L.A.

New shingles get feet wet at American Film Market

The American Film Market is awash in new sales shingles tapping exotic funding from their Los Angeles bases.

Launched two months ago with backing from India, Beverly Hills-based Peak Entertainment was set up by Brady Bowen to sell and gap finance films from India and the U.S.

The firm's initial slate consists of both independent films and Indian animation secured through its Indian partner VMI Multimedia, which has part-financed the company. Current titles include the children's series "South Indian Fables" from Accel Animation Studios, and the horror films "No Time to Fear" from Michael Korbic and "Return to Sleepaway Camp," which Magnolia is releasing on DVD in the U.S.

Bowen is in talks with a second Indian company to form a fund to expand the company's brief to also gap-finance theatrical films.

"In the midst of this financial crisis, there has been a transformation of wealth to the middle classes and huge amounts of capital available in the Indian market," Bowen said.

A second Beverly Hills-based shingle making its debut here is the new sales company Byzantium Entertainment from Alan Mehrez, Aileen Rodriguez, and William Kanter. With the best-decorated suite at the market -- imagine the set of "One Thousand and One Nights" -- the company is focusing on presales of its live-action feature "Aladdin," which Mehrez has been working on for the past decade.

The film has received backing from Dubai's biggest technology company, Omnix Group. "We want to show with the film that the Middle East is a multicultural place and look at the real 'Aladdin' story," said Mehrez, who hails from Egypt and whose grandfather was the heavyweight boxing champion of Egypt. Going forward, the company plans to work on financing, production and sales.
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