Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday May 26, 2019 


In its first year of operation FLIC - the new investment scheme for film and tv production - has raised $22 million through the two companies licenced to manage tax deductible cash from the private sector for production: Content Capital ($6.14 m) and Macquarie Film Corporation ($16.25 m). Both companies are "pleased" with the result, but the producers association says it's disappointingly short of the $40 million target. But, as Andrew L. Urban reports, it's a new ball game.

The Screen Producers Association is saying 'we told you so'- claiming the shortfall was largely due to the Government not heeding the Gonski report's recommendation for a tax write off at 120% instead of the 100% allowed. Executive Director Nick Herd praises both the companies for their "solid creative and business executives … developing a range of exciting Australian projects."

But as Content Capital Director David Court points out, CC will support a slate of between $20 and $30 million worth of production, investing only about $3 million itself. "A lot of people see [the funds we've raised] as one or two movies, but this is not a fund. We're different to Macquarie; we're an investment bank looking to earn fees and deploy as little capital as possible to do that. We deploy our balance sheet to close the transaction. Typically, it's closing the small final gap…"

Court says CC is also looking for finance for non concessional projects. "We already have about $1 million and we'd like another two." CC is doing things in a new way for Australian film & tv production, he says. "The industry has to gain access to capital - and that's our job."

Bryan Lowe, Chief Executive of Macquarie Filmed Investments says of the raisings, "This is a real triumph for [us] and we are all extremely delighted. It endorses the Macquarie Film Corporation business plan, which was put together by a management team led by some of Australia’s most successful film and television industry professionals. The team includes our directors: Greg Coote, formerly Joint Managing Director of Village Roadshow, Andrew Mason who has produced the Hollywood blockbuster The Matrix and Dark City, and Glen Kinging, who has over 40 years programming experience with the Seven Network. Our team offers unrivalled access to Australia’s talent and we have a very strong line up of projects under review. MFC investors can feel confident that we will be cherry picking the best on offer and we are already actively considering a number of interesting projects."

Says Lowe : "We are also pleased to report that a recent policy decision by the Australian Film Finance Corporation means that we will be able to co-invest with them. We are also working closely with the Australian Film Commission and State funding agencies in a collaborative way - all to the benefit of Macquarie Film Corporation investors. We aim to ensure that investors have a broad portfolio spread across an expected 10 to 15 production projects and will look to share risk with co-investors where appropriate."

Content Capital Chairman, Peter Burrows, says the company is "very pleased with the result especially in the context of a difficult market for any form of capital raising. Content Capital earns revenue from structuring finance for content projects and from direct investment primarily in the distribution of content assets.

"As a result, Content Capital’s business model is much less capital intensive than others which seek to fund and invest in production. The over $6 million raised gives us a strong platform from which to grow the business as a provider of financial services to the traditional filmed content and emerging digital content sectors."

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