Teutonic test time

Film funds launch in wake of revised regs

BERLIN — Despite new laws that will make their operation more difficult, two German film funds backing Hollywood TV and film productions, including NBC’s “Law & Order” skeins, will be hitting the market.

Investors are now expected to form advisory committees to review managerial decisions, but only after a fund has raised half its target. The measures will raise overhead, increase red tape and severely limit the ability of companies to jump onboard film projects on short notice.

While the new regs have shuttered some funds, others are adapting.

LHI Leasing restructured its media funds to conform to the legal requirements and has just launched E50 million ($58 million) Kaledo Prods., a TV production fund to finance future episodes of “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Law & Order: SVU” for Universal Studios Intl.

TV productions are a new enterprise for LHI, which has backed films from Universal and New Line Cinema, including high-profile titles “Blade 2” and “About Schmidt.”

Small-screen appeal

According to LHI top fund manager Gerhard Krall, the new regulations have shortened the time between raising targeted capital and greenlighting projects, which makes it easier and more attractive to invest in TV series as opposed to more time-consuming feature films.

Local investors can invest a minimum of $17,400 in Kaledo before it closes Dec. 5. The investor advisory committee is set to meet Dec. 11 to approve the “Law & Order” deal. LHI is backed by HypoVereinsbank and Norddeutsche Landesbank.

Meanwhile, fellow Munich-based fund Alcas, which has backed projects from Hallmark Entertainment and Paramount, will launch its $87 million Film-Fonds 152 next week.

Company, which invests in international productions, script acquisitions and film marketing, is partnering with Viacom’s Columbus Circle Films and Par for a slate of films.

The fund will close Dec. 10, and Alcas’ investor advisory board will meet Dec. 15 to choose from a list of projects being developed by Columbus Circle and set to shoot next year.

Fund’s minimum investment is $29,000.

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