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03/11/2010

Winchester Announces Hemisphere Media Venture

Winchester Capital Management founders, Jean-Luc De Fanti and Jeff Sagansky have announced a new venture, Hemisphere Media Capital.
It is a $250 million dollar fund backed by institutional investors and a group of new international strategic partners.
Hemisphere Media Capital's first investment will be in a new venture called Hemisphere Motion Picture Partners, which is aimed at co-financing studio pictures. Hemisphere Motion Picture Partners is a joint venture between Hemisphere Media Capital, Toho-Tawa Company, Kadokawa Pictures of Japan and RGM Media of Singapore.
Hemisphere Motion Picture Partners will co-finance major studio motion pictures with strong international appeal. The films will be distributed by the studio partners in all domestic and international territories, with the exception of Japan, where Hemisphere partners Toho-Tawa and Kadokawa will handle distribution. The fund anticipates deploying in excess of $400 million in eight to ten pictures over a four-year investment period.
Hemisphere's Jean-Luc De Fanti said: "The Hemisphere fund represents a new business approach in film financing. The traditional independent film finance model is under strain. However, global audiences and therefore distributors remain hungry for mainstream Hollywood fare.
"In a world of dwindling capital availability, Hemisphere represents the template for a new approach, where films with global appeal are financed with a partnership of major studios, key strategic distributors and financiers."
Yasushi Shiina, President of Kadokawa Pictures, said: "It is our great pleasure and privilege to participate in this venture with a wonderful team and reputable companies such as Hemisphere, Toho-Towa and RGM. This fund will play an important part in our international strategy in expanding our film business, and we trust we can draw on our experience with major studios to make this venture a successful one."
Hiro Matsuoka, President of Toho-Tawa Company, said: "We are genuinely thrilled to take a part in an extremely exciting new venture with Jean-Luc and his team at Hemisphere. As a strategic distributor in Japan, we will provide our utmost effort to contribute to the success of the films we will distribute, which will ultimately enhance our financial success as an investor."
Devesh Chetty, of RGM Media, said: "We see our strategic investment in Hemisphere, with participation in mainstream projects on proven global distribution platforms, as an extremely exciting opportunity.
"The collaboration will create great opportunities for Singapore and the Asian region to work on high quality production."
De Fanti will serve as Managing Partner of the funds and Mr Sagansky will serve as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Winchester Principal Eli Baker has been made a Partner in Hemisphere Media Capital. The new venture was structured and will be represented by Bryan Wolf of Ziffren, Brittenham.
Hemisphere Motion Picture Partners is in advanced discussions with a number of studios and the first pictures co-financed by the venture will be announced shortly.
Jean-Luc De Fanti and Jeff Sagansky founded Winchester Capital Management, a diversified entertainment financing venture in April 2007. Feature film investments include: The Men Who Stare At Goats, starring George Clooney and directed by Grant Helsov, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, directed by Rebecca Miller and starring Robin Wright Penn and Keanu Reeves, and a multi-picture financing deal with Luc Besson's Europa Corp.
In addition, the company financed the third season of the TNT drama Leverage produced by Electric Entertainment and provided a short term corporate facility to Senator Entertainment Gmbh, one of the premier theatrical distributions companies in Germany.
(KMcA)
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