Apollo rockets to fund market

German investment group targets commercial projects

BERLIN — Four new German funds backing both local and U.S. product are hitting the market.

Munich-based investment group Chorus has released two funds for U.S. TV productions, including series and movies. ApolloScreen and ApolloProScreen each have a volume of 40 million euros ($46 million).

While Chorus has not named individual projects, its managing director Karsten Mieth said it will target productions of up to $6 million, and that potential partners include Fremantle, Alliance Atlantis and Citadel Entertainment.

Chorus has so far supported more than 40 mostly bigscreen projects with 11 film funds. Its annual investment volume is between $90 million and $100 million.

Mieth said the two new funds will focus on productions already licensed for North America, combined with backing by Germany’s HypoVereinsbank.

The concept has been adopted from the Screenvest fund established by Jan Koerbelin, a former programming director at commercial broadcaster ProSieben, and Sven Clement. Both will act as managers of Chorus’ two Apollo funds, which mature in 2010. Chorus will be relaunching Screenvest as the ScreenApollo fund next month after the original failed to take off. According to Mieth, Screenvest had lacked the support of a large distributor, like Chorus, with experience in marketing funds on the capital market.

Meanwhile, Eberhard Junkersdorf and Dietmar Guentsche, co-toppers of Munich’s Neue Bioskop-Film, and Hamburg-based Bankhaus Woelbern have launched a $24.4 million private film fund to finance at least four German or European feature films through 2004.

The five-year Neue Bioskop Germany fund, which is offered to private investors for a minimum $23,000 investment, will choose titles from a slate of projects currently in development at Neue Bioskop. The bank is forecasting a 14.5% after-tax profit for investors.

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