Essential Entertainment’s President of Worldwide Distribution, John Fremes, announced a multi-picture agreement today at AFM with Gigapix Studios (“Gigapix”) for five “G” and “PG” rated live action kids films through its subsidiary Recess Films. The five live action films and one CG animated film will be produced by Gigapix Studios over the next three years. Anchor Bay Entertainment will have rights for first look in the U.S. with Essential Entertainment handling all International rights. “This is an exciting slate of films that are in the framework of classic kids action comedy films like Home Alone and Goonies. These are films that have strong international appeal, universal themes, and broad comedic elements that we believe will work across all international platforms,” says Fremes.
Anchor Bay Entertainment and Gigapix have entered into a multi-year first look arrangement on the Recess Film slate where Anchor Bay will be releasing the films in theatrical, home entertainment and television with a commitment from Gigapix to fund a minimum P&A outlay of $6mm and 600 screens per film depending on how well each of the films tests in advance screenings. Each film release may go up to $20mm and 2,000 screens.
Kevin Kasha, Senior Vice President of Anchor Bay Entertainment added, “We are excited to be in business with the production team assembled at Gigapix and to have a worldwide distribution partner in Essential Entertainment. Quality kids’ films are going to continue to be a staple of family entertainment spending as they always have been.”
The first film, The Return of Captain Kidd, written by Jymn Magon (DuckTales, A Goofy Movie) and Kern Konwiser, two-time Emmy winning writer/director/producer (On Hallowed Ground and Miss Evers' Boys), is to be directed by Kern Konwiser.
According to Kip Konwiser, head of production at Gigapix, “All of the live action films will have production budgets of $8-10mm each and the CG animated film will be budgeted at $20mm.” This first film in the slate, The Return of Captain Kidd, was on the verge of production when it was caught in the temporary suspension of the Iowa State film tax credit program. Gigapix has been assured by the Iowa State representatives that their film has an agreement in place, consequently Gigapix has chosen to go forward on the production with an early 2010 start date. Currently, cast is being reassembled for a revised start date. We will be announcing the start of the next two live action films and production on our CG animated film within a few weeks.”
Gigapix (gigapixstudios.com) recently closed a P&A funding agreement with Main Stream Pictures (MSP) of Los Angeles and secured a lending facility with Capitoline Global Finance (CGF) of Newport Beach, California. MSP is a new funding/ advisory and production company with principals Geno Taylor, David Williams and Tony Chopelas and will be a presenting producer on the films. Geno Taylor of MSP said, “I am pleased that we are in business on these films, and the quality of distribution partners that Gigapix has put together is ideally suited to maximize the market opportunity in the one stable part of the theatrical film business, which is G and PG rated films.” The three partners in MSP will also be Executive Producers.
Capitoline, a private fund manager and investment bank is headed by President, Brian Gilmore, and is facilitated by an advisory group led by entertainment industry veteran, Patrick Murray. David Pritchard, President of Gigapix said, “Brian Gilmore, Pat Murray, and Financial Consultant, Dominic Ianno were all instrumental in developing the overall strategy and financing plan for Recess Films, and Dominic was critical in establishing the distribution relationships with Anchor Bay and Essential.” Ianno will serve as an Executive Producer on the films.
Essential Entertainment provides global sales, distribution and marketing for its sister company, Essential Pictures, as well as third-party productions. Founded by Jim Kohlberg in January 2007 and headed by John Fremes, President of Worldwide Distribution, the company has quickly grown to become one of the world’s premier global sales and distribution companies.
Anchor Bay Entertainment is the home entertainment division of Starz Media, LLC. It includes the Anchor Bay Films and Manga Entertainment brands. It distributes feature films, children’s entertainment, fitness, TV series, documentaries, anime and other filmed entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray formats. It is the exclusive home media distributor in the U.S. of the theatrical titles from Overture Films. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA, Anchor Bay Entertainment has offices in Troy, MI, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Starz Media is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation.
Gigapix Studios first film production, Captain Abu Raed won the 2008 Sundance Audience Award and is currently in worldwide release thru Fortissimo and NeoClassics in the US. Gigapix features an experienced management team with a history of success in Film, TV and digital media.
Capitoline Global Finance is a global investment bank that specializes in media finance and proprietary content acquisition. The Company specializes in transactions that are new and innovative in the capital markets, bringing a level of "financial translation" to the institutional market that is unique and compelling.
Patrick Murray is an independent consultant specializing in finance, operations, strategic planning and other advisory services for production companies, distributors and financiers. pmurray13[.]gmail.com.
Dominic Ianno is the CEO and founder of Indomitable Entertainment, a film financing, production and media strategy firm. The Company provides consulting services, strategic planning, financing advice and management to companies such as ScrollMotion (a leading smart phone application developer), where Ianno is a member of the Board of Directors. In addition, Dominic recently launched Greentrestle Bridge Fund with film finance attorney Michael Barnes to provide bridge financing.
Wendy Smith, Essential Entertainment
Sue Procko, Anchor Bay Entertainment
P: 323-653-5153 / E: sue[.]sueprockopr.com.
Dennis Dembia, Dominic Ianno