Preisler and Ashley form Delfino Ent.

Pair plans family films

HOLLYWOOD — Industry vets Gary Preisler and Don Ashley have formed Delfino Entertainment, which will develop, produce and distribute comedy and family features and TV programming. A third partner, J.B. Moresco, will handle investor relations.

Operation will be based at the Lot in Hollywood and focus on projects with budgets of $2 million-$6 million. Preisler and Ashley said they would detail names of their financial backers within 30 days. Company has less than $10 million in initial equity investments from two groups of atypical Hollywood investors, such as vineyard owners and dot-com entrepreneurs. The investor groups are expected to provide up to $50 million more to finance productions.

Plan high-concept comedies

The pair said they will target low-cost, high-concept comedies and family-oriented fare because they can compete more easily with major studios in those areas. They also are purchasing a film trailer/poster company whose marketing input will be used to help pick and shape projects. Delfino would retain overseas distribution rights on its projects, but plans to shop domestic rights to other distributors.

“What will make or break us is whether we can make really good, commercial films that appeal to a wide audience,” Preisler said.

Film in pre-production

Delfino already has begun pre-production on “Ladykillers,” a comedy about two gold-digging twentysomethings who scheme to marry aging sisters in hopes of collecting their estates. Preisler wrote the script and will make his directorial debut.

Company plans to begin casting this summer, in anticipation of a fall shoot, for “18th Hole,” which the pair termed an “urban ‘Caddyshack.’ ” Ashley, who will direct, was previously a writer for NBC series “Men Behaving Badly” and produced and directed independent family feature “The Cactus Kid.”

Company also is seeking a director for “Simon Says,” a family comedy.

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