EXCLUSIVE: Scythia Films and Stellar Citizens have launched a development fund designed to back five to seven film/TV projects within the next year. The first project will be an adaptation of the Mark Vonnegut book The Eden Express: A Memoir Of Insanity. The author, son of Kurt Vonnegut, chronicled his experience in the 1970s building a commune in search of paradise, only to be undermined by his battles with bipolar disorder. Helped by his father and friends, Vonnegut received treatment and subsequently built a successful pediatric practice in Boston.
This partnership between Scythia and Stellar was fostered by New York-born producer Ethan Lazar, matching Scythia’s track record with filmmakers and Stellar’s financing and development acumen. Lazar joined Stellar in 2014, launched its financing arm and has been producing with Scythia Films’ Dan Bekerman. Stellar Citizens is a Toronto-based production company and film financier founded in 2013 by Christopher Yurkovich and Alex Ordanis. Its strategic lending business includes bridge, gap and tax credit financing. Recent credits include Opening Night starring Topher Grace and to be released this summer by Netflix.
“With Scythia we’ve found an exciting partner,” said the principals at Stellar. “Not only do our goals, sensibilities, and overall ethos align but their track record really speaks for itself and we cannot wait for all of the compelling stories this partnership will allow us to tell.”
Toronto-based Scythia Films has produced more than 18 indie films over the past four years and has been a service producer for K5, Sierra Affinity, Endgame Entertainment, Voltage Pictures and Netflix. Projects have included the critically acclaimed The Witch, the Sundance pic Rememory with Peter Dinklage and Anton Yelchin, and Backstabbing For Beginners with Theo James and Ben Kingsley. Latter was acquired by A24 and DirecTV. Recent service productions include Anon, directed by Andrew Niccol starring Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried with K5, and State Like Sleep, directed by Meredith Danluck and starring Katherine Waterson, Michael Shannon and Luke Evans with Sight Unseen Pictures.
Said Scythia founder Daniel Bekerman: “By focusing on the genesis of each story, and combining the fund with our strategic ability to work in the U.S., Canada and Europe, we have a unique opportunity to lead. As the world of content financing and distribution evolves at hyper speed, the one constant is the value of good ideas, well nurtured.”