A new fund headed up by several entertainment and finance veterans will back film and television productions in Australia, taking advantage of “huge changes” in the industry that have made streaming content king.

“One of the things that concerned me as a member of the screen industry in Australia was how we were going to hang on to this great growth we saw during Covid, where we got increased production and much greater awareness,” says Greg Basser, the former CEO of Village Roadshow and one of the founders of Australian Entertainment Partners (AEP). “We always wanted to make things in Australia, because we’re proud of it and wanted to give back to an industry that had given a lot to us. But it always came down to the dollars.”

At Village Roadshow Basser produced projects including JokerMad Max: Fury RoadGran Torino, and Where The Wild Things Are (which didn’t make a lot of money, Basser admits, but was made in Melbourne, and so benefited the local economy). Later, Basser founded AEP alongside Bob Osher and David Burdge; its new Screen Fund, distributed by Damien McIntyre’s GSFM, is intended to act as a funding source for local productions as well as international productions filmed in Australia.

It’s aimed at family offices, high net worth individuals and the odd institution; Basser and Co. want to raise $100 million in equity to pair with a $500 million debt facility from the “lead banks” of the film industry. It will be a seven-year fund (five years with a two-year wind down) with a cap of 40 original productions, increasing to 55 total projects with sequels and continuing series included, and Basser estimates that it will produce $1.7 billion of content – the “vast majority” of which will be spent in Australia. It’s targeting a 15-20 per cent return, and a boost to the local film industry.

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