EXCLUSIVE: The media fund is raising money for a number of projects including 28K, written by Paul Abbott. Showtime USA is currently remaking Abbott’s Channel 4 series Shameless, while Universal turned his BBC series State of Play into the Russell Crowe movie. The urban thriller starts filming in October. Ultimate aims to establish a string of tax-effective Enterprise Investment Scheme companies. Each EIS will invest up to £2 million ($3 million) in a spread of film, TV, music, internet and theatre start-ups. For example, distributor Route One plans to release six movies and up to 40 DVDs a year. The idea is to spread the investor’s risk, while still giving him a 20% tax break.
If successful, the rolling media fund aims to raise £20 million each year.
Oliver Rothschild, founder of Buchler Rothschild Investments, is the chairman. Vice-chairman is Martin Carr, an independent feature producer who has worked with Danny Boyle in the past. Other board members include veteran director Piers Haggard, whose credits include the Beeb’s Pennies From Heaven.
This is not the first time Carr has gone down the EIS route. He used the EIS to fund gangland drama Clubbed. The film was released theatrically in the UK and France in 2009 and sold to 20 other territories on DVD. Unusually for a privately-financed EIS film, Clubbed also sold to BSkyB. But investors still not out yet. Sales agent AV Pictures has just closed a US sale. Carr and his partner Neil Thompson have pledged half their net profits from 28K and Top Shelf, another project on the slate, to help them recoup.