In October, eOne announced it had hired former Studiocanal exec Harold van Lier as president of eOne Films International, and that it was putting in place a new financing and investment model. With van Lier now on the job, the company says it’s launching a $100M film acquisition fund. The news comes a year after eOne acquired rival Alliance Films, creating a Canadian giant with reach in the U.S., UK, Spain and elsewhere. The plan for the international division will be to secure worldwide rights on a series of “premium commercial films” over the next years. The fund will come as good news to Canadian and UK producers, notably, who saw a key partner removed from the market when Alliance was taken over. EOne says, “The company’s considerable commitment and enhanced spending-power will offer producers a substantial investment in their films and ideally positions eOne to secure wide-appeal commercial titles for both direct and international distribution.” Here’s the full release:
Los Angeles/Toronto/London – January 7, 2014 – In conjunction with the arrival of new President Harold van Lier, Entertainment One Films International (eOne) today announces that it has established a $100 million film acquisition fund to support van Lier and his division’s recently-unveiled growth strategy.
Van Lier now launches eOne Films International’s new integrated financing structure which will see his group secure worldwide rights on a series of premium commercial films through the coming years. With its new acquisition fund, the company’s considerable commitment and enhanced spending-power will offer producers a substantial investment in their films and ideally positions eOne to secure wide-appeal commercial titles for both direct and international distribution.
Van Lier will collaborate with eOne film business leaders across territories and will focus on bringing new relationships from within the European creative community to eOne alongside Alex Hamilton, Managing Director, eOne Films UK, film production head Xavier Marchand as well as Benedict Carver, who is based in LA, and Lara Thompson, eOne’s EVP, Worldwide Acquisitions.
eOne Films International’s strengthened partnership-potential is also reinforced by the successful negotiation of production financing from City National Bank and OneWest Bank for projects into which eOne Films International significantly invests.
“I’m incredibly excited to join the eOne team and lead the charge as we enhance our international offering to include wide-appeal feature films from across the globe,” said van Lier. “The acquisition fund is a game-changing resource for our division and will support our new strategy to get our hands on the most sought-after films in the earliest stages. eOne’s amassed ability to offer content creators a major financial contribution towards their projects, broad international expertise and access to the most robust international infrastructure is absolutely unmatched.”
Van Lier is also preparing for the debut of Séville International later this year. Longtime Montreal-based Vice President of International Sales Anick Poirier will run the new division from eOne’s Québec-based Les Films Séville offices. An integral part of van Lier’s eOne Films International, she will focus on exploiting high-quality independent films from Québec and Canada. Charlotte van Weede, Senior Vice President, International Sales, will oversee international distribution of eOne Films International’s slate.
Leading the eOne Films International team at the Sundance Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival in the coming weeks, van Lier will commute between eOne’s London, Toronto and Los Angeles offices.