After a long incubation, and despite the loss of its German partner, international distribution consortium Eurotrustees is poised to land its first acquisitions at the Cannes Film Festival.
The four core distrib-shareholders hope to line up a new German rep, replacing Herbert Kloiber of Telemunchen-Concorde, who recently opted out.
“We will start buying in Cannes,” vowed Nik Powell, co-chairman of British distrib-producer Palace Pictures, which is partnered in Eurotrustees with BAC of France, Iberoamericana of Spain, and Erre of Italy.
Powell said a number of German distribs “are keen to come in with us, and we have an in-principle agreement to have a German partner.” Kloiber had decided the collaborative venture “was not for him,” Powell added. Kloiber did not return VARIETY’S call.
The concept of a joint acquisition and distribution operation was first floated by the Eurotrustees members at last year’s Venice fest, and the aim was to start scouting for product at the Mifed market in Milan.
But that timetable was delayed while Dutch banker Alexander Gelderman of Pierson, Heldring & Pierson, who conceived the idea and assembled the consortium, tried to raise a big chunk of equity from other banks and institutional investors.
Given the adverse economic climate in the U.S., Britain and other parts of Europe, Gelderman has scaled down his initial capitalization target, but he says there is enough in the kitty to kickstart the company in Cannes.
He’s looking to create a syndication facility with two or more other banks, possibly Britain’s Guinness Mahon and France’s Banque Worms.
One of the consortium’s originally stated aims was to take full advantage of their production and distribution resources, and the available production subsidies and treaties, by co-producing a limited number of films. That intention now seems to have been downplayed, as Powell said: “Co-productions as such are not planned, but by acquiring films at script stage we will help films go into production.”
A big question remains: Can Eurotrustees as a multi-territory buyer bid successfully for films against the majors and other powerful indie distribs, particularly if it wants to share rights among its four markets?
“We will do the best deals we can,” responded Powell, adding that he and his partners aim to agree on a hit list of desirable titles on the first day of the Cannes fest.