Euro troika pact in pic powerhouse

BBC Films, Kinowelt, Lolafilms commit to $4 mil fund

LONDON — BBC Films has joined forces with Germany’s Kinowelt and Spain’s Lolafilms in an alliance to develop and produce English-language movies.

The partners have committed a $4 million fund to develop around 30 projects over three years. Aim is to co-produce at least six in that period.

Typically budgeted in the $10 million-$12 million range, the films will be “European,” rather than American, although they may draw on transatlantic talent.

The BBC will take U.K. rights, with Kinowelt and Lolafilms handling their respective territories. Each partner will have the option to bid for international sales rights.

Kinowelt and Lolafilms have an existing relationship that includes cross-shareholdings, co-productions and an agreement to distribute each other’s films. Both have a production presence in London, and Kinowelt is a partner in U.K. distrib Momentum Pictures.

But by bringing the BBC into the nonexclusive alliance, the two European companies seem to have recognized the need to put down deeper roots in the U.K. talent community.

‘Ground-breaking development’

The three partners say the deal is a “ground-breaking development for the European film industry,” creating a “powerhouse” that will “provide talent with a compelling alternative to Hollywood.”

It remains to be seen whether the partners will be able to avoid the conflicts of interest — cultural, creative and commercial — that have undermined previous attempts to build such European production alliances.

“This will be the first time three major European partners have collaborated not just on the production but on the development of projects as well,” said Lolafilms chief exec Andres Vicente Gomez.

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