I have this theory that film financing follows real estate: as goes real estate, so goes film. This is nothing I can quantify with statistics; it's a gut feeling, solidified over time, observational, not empirical. And, hear me out, what's got me thinking we may be seeing more film investing is an increase in the sale of U.S. Treasury bonds.
The new tax bill that President Obama recently signed into law will extend the Section 181 film tax credit to the end of 2011. In addition, it can be applied retroactively to all qualifying films produced in 2011 AND 2010!
Recently, I was interviewed by Kingsley Marshall, contributor to Big Screen, Film International, Little White Lies, and Shook, for a story on film finance.Do you find this Q&A interesting? What additional information would you like to know about?Here is the Q&A from this article not yet out:Kingsley Marshall: How hard is it to find movie financing in 2010?JEFF STEELE: It's very, very tough out there for single-picture, indie films. There are about six entertainment banks left that are actively lending, down from 12 in 2008, and only a handful of gap funds, down from a zillion in 2008. Wall Street equity, like hedge funds, has pretty much abandoned the single-picture finance business as well, but is still present in slate financing structures. And yet, films are still getting made.Kingsley Marshall: How much is the credit crunch to blame?JEFF STEELE: The credit crunch definitely played a key part in the production freeze in 2009, where the streets of Cannes and Toronto were paved with dead deals. 2010's glut has to do more with (1) the plethora of bad film deals that were made during the go-go years of 2005-2008 that have barely recouped this budgets, (2) high net worth individuals not having the disposable income they once had (or thought they had), and (3) the lack of U.S. distributors (and P&A) available to the indie market. The credit crunch is definitely having a direct impact on the ability of foreign buyers and distributors to finance pre-sales and pre-sales deposits, which are critical elements in indie film financing.
A finance plan is the best indicator of a producer’s financial I.Q. -- it helps you see the forest through the trees. If you're financing your project with something other than friends' and family's money, or for less than a million bucks, then you can probably go without one. For anything beyond that, you're going to need one, and if it doesn't look like this......then you don't have a finance plan.
You've all heard of the indiscretion that cost Nicholas Chartier of "The Hurt Locker" his Oscar tickets. This first hand account takes an inside financing look at Nic, "The Hurt Locker", and the risky business of indie film finance.
A week dollar is great for US producers looking to secure foreign pre-sale contracts, but it can also work against US producers looking to shoot abroad.