GSFM has partnered with Australian Entertainment Partners (AEP) to launch its new Australian film and television fund, the AEP Screen Fund, which will provide access to alternative asset class while supporting the Australian film and television industry.
The firm said the fund has been structured in such a way that it will invest in Australia-made film and television projects however it will have no material exposure to box office or “other audience related factors”.
At the same time, producers, studios and streamers will be supported through the financing of these productions and having access to industry insider oversight.
GSFM chief executive, Damien McIntyre, said the move was a part of GSFM’s goal to offer differentiated, quality investment capabilities and innovative investment strategies for Australian investors.
GSFM Screen Investments Pty Ltd will be the fund’s trustee and GSFM will also be responsible for the distribution and back office administration of the fund.
The fund will provide long term financing for the Australian screen industry on a low-risk, financing basis for investors in the Fund, as the production cost of the vast majority of projects would be covered by contracts and government rebates and incentives concurrent with the commencement of production.
The AEP Screen Fund, which will be a seven-year fund (five years with a two-year wind down) capped at producing 40 original productions and increasing to 55 total projects including sequels and continuing series, will raise up to A$100 million of equity to be coupled with a bank facility of up to A$500 million arranged and led by the leading financial institutions in the global screen industry.
Also, over the five years of the Fund’s investment term, the fund is forecast to produce film and television content in excess of A$1.7 billion, the vast majority which will be spent in Australia.
AEP co-founder, managing director and executive producer, Greg Basser, said he was impressed with GSFM’s reach in the Australian market, and by its distribution capabilities.
“With the support of GSFM we are able to offer a screen financing fund unlike any other in the market,” he stressed.
“Finally, Australian government rebates and production incentives lead the world. This was reinforced by the Federal Government’s increase of the Location Offset from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent announced in last week’s budget,” Basser added.
AEP, which is based in Melbourne and has a representative office in Los Angeles, was established in 2022 and comprises a management team with over 100 years of production, management and finance experience in the global screen industry.
Basser said the timing was right to launch the fund in Australia as streaming services content spend has grown to over US$220 billion per annum to support subscriber growth and demand for new content and content produced in Australia almost doubled from A$1.04 billion in 2019/20 to A$2.29 billion in 2021/22.
Also, Australia was perceived as being a “safe” place for film and TV production, combined with the pandemic and instability in Eastern Europe – a traditional destination for production – it is seen as a desirable location and lower risk political environment.