Ciby’s Palmer spliced into DNA partnership

LONDON — Lottery franchise winner DNA Films, has confirmed that Wendy Palmer, chief exec of Ciby Sales, will act as adviser on the financing and foreign sales of its movie projects.

DNA is a partnership between producers Duncan Kenworthy (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”) and Andrew Macdonald (“Trainspotting”). Palmer was named in their bid document as a “non-executive consultant,” a role independent from her responsibilities at Ciby.

Kenworthy told Daily Variety that Palmer would help DNA put together sales estimates for its pics.

DNA is the only one of the three lottery franchise winners that does not have an elaborate international distribution and financing structure already in place. It has a U.K. distribution deal via Polygram.

Amid the current uncertainty surrounding the future of Ciby 2000, it is widely expected that Palmer will set up her own venture after the French company is sold, at which point a closer relationship with DNA could emerge.

Kenworthy would not comment on this possibility, but said DNA will not be in a rush to make formal financing deals, even though it is now certain to be inundated with offers. The first priority is to gear up its development slate.

The lottery franchise will give DNA access to £29 million ($48 million) in production finance over the next six years. In the first year Kenworthy expects DNA to put just one pic into production, rising subsequently to three per year. The emphasis will be on low-budget British movies.

Under lottery rules, lottery cash can be used for up to 50% of the budget, up to a maximum of $3.3 million per pic. DNA plans to use that maximum in most cases.

“The plan is that each year Andrew or I will produce one of the three films, and we will jointly executive produce the other two,” Kenworthy said, indicating a clear open-door policy for other producers to get their projects financed through DNA.

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