EXCLUSIVE: Minneapolis-based private investment firm EBF & Associates and Kevin Frakes’ PalmStar Media Capital has formally launched Merced Media Partners, a strategic partnership targeting investments in approximately 15 films per year. The partners first started talking up the division at Cannes, where its execs looked for films to invest in. Merced kicks off putting over $20M in financing for an initial slate of pictures that includes Every Secret Thing, the Amy Berg-directed film that will star Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks; the Ryan Phillippe-starrer Chained, and the Elizabeth Allen-directed Careful What You Wish For, which stars Isabel Lucas. Merced just closed on a structured facility for some of Exclusive Media’s upcoming titles, the first of which is the Ron Howard-directed Rush. More commitments will be made leading up to the American Film Market in November.

Raj Singh, Stuart Brown and Mike Sullivan of EBF & Associates are involved with the day-to-day operations of Merced. EBF & Associates is a privately held registered investment advisor specializing in alternative investment strategies. Founded in 1988, the firm currently has $1.3 billion in capital under management. Limited partners include endowments, foundations, state and corporate pension plans, family offices, and high net worth individuals.

PalmStar Media Capital is the L.A.-based company owned and operated by partners Frakes and Peggy Taylor. PalmStar is making movie investments and developing and producing films through its production arm PalmStar Entertainment. Those include Rashida Jones’ Celeste And Jesse Forever, which was released by Sony Pictures Classics; the Bille August-directed Night Train To Lisbon, starring Jeremy Irons and Melanie Laurent; and the Paul Walker-starrer Vehicle 19; Seven Below with Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames. Walker is also starring in the New Orleans-set Hurricane Katrina drama Hours.