EXCLUSIVE From Deadline|London editor Tim Adler: Over the past few years, Goldcrest has been investing in 18 Hollywood movies including Twilight, Knowing, Tropic Thunder for DreamWorks, Paramount and Summit. Now it’s changing tack and wants to invest in between 3 to 5 British films a year. It will be providing 20% of each project’s budget as an equity investment. Goldcrest has raised £19 million through the UK government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme. This EIS funding is designed to stimulate investments in risky enterprises such as movies. However, the amounts each EIS can raise are pretty small. Goldcrest’s investment will be capped at just £2 million ($3 million) per £8 million feature.
UK producers will be grateful for any new source of funding. Banks returning to gap financing, something which was being touted last year, just hasn’t happened. Adam Kulick, partner at Goldcrest Capital, said, “We would like to do more in the UK with UK filmmakers. The deal structures can be more complex than studio deals due to the number of parties involved, and therefore can be harder work to pull together, but it is incredibly rewarding.”
One rival financier said that Goldcrest isn’t focusing on British films out of any altruism though. It’s got no option now that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has stopped it “daisychaining” these EIS schemes together, I’m told. HMRC clamped down just before Christmas on stringing EIS companies. Goldcrest was testing the taxman’s patience, said this rival, by forming partnerships of EIS companies. Other moneymen were looking over Goldcrest’s shoulder at what it was doing. HMRC was worried about more financiers piling in. Someone who’d seen Goldcrest’s paperwork described it to me as “ferociously complicated” with a slightly awestruck tone still in his voice.
Goldcrest denies it doesn’t have any option but to do British indie films. Its Hollywood fundraising remains unaffected by the tax change. The plan was always to do more local films, it said. Goldcrest’s sole British investment to date has been in Paramount’s teen comedy Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging. The company’s advisory board includes such industry heavyweights as producers Michael Kuhn (The Duchess), David Parfitt (Shakespeare in Love) and Graham Broadbent (In Bruges).
Kulick said, “We’re a film company, not just a financier. Goldcrest has been in business since 1977.” In its heyday Goldcrest financed, produced and/or distributed over 100 titles that have won numerous awards, including 19 Academy Awards and 28 BAFTAs for celebrated films including Gandhi, The Killing Fields, The Mission, Chariots of Fire, A Room with a View, and Local Hero. Since then it’s best known for its work in post-production. As to why an indie producer should turn to Goldcrest, Kulick said, “We tend to understand what everybody needs to get out of the deal as we already touch so many parts of the industry. We try to keep things simple. And we want to get from start to finish as painlessly as possible.”