* Grosvenor Park will once again lend money to film productions, forming UK-based EIS Film Fund to disperse $100 million each year for productions. Grosvenor Park fled from the film-financing scene in 2008, when the economy and the independent film business hit the rocks. The target is films with budgets ranging from $10 million to $30 million. Grosvenor Park will also produce senior, gap and tax lending collateralized by territorial distribution sales and production tax incentives, which was how the company lended to films in the past. “Now is an optimal time to re-enter the film-lending space given the strength of the marketplace and the current industry dynamics as evidenced by a resurgence of sales activity at the most recent film markets,” said GP’s Don Starr.
* Morgan Creek has become a co-financier on Universal’s remake of The Thing. The studio releases Morgan Creek’s films in the U.S. including the upcoming Jim Sheridan-directed Dream House, which stars Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz. The Thing is a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic and it’s directed by Matthijs van Heijningen and produced by Strike Entertainment partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman.
* Dustin Hoffman set Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins to star in Quartet. The film marks Hoffman’s directorial debut, and shooting on the BBC Films/DCM Productions pic began today. It’s based on Ronald Harwood’s stage play about a group of retired opera singers who put on a fundraiser, with ego clashes getting in the way. Hanway is handling international sales.