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Farm seeding Japanese pic fund

$30 mil investment to co-finance 7, 8 movies a year

In a significant departure for Japan’s movie biz, Japanese producer Taka Ichise (“Ringu”) is creating a financing and production company, Entertainment Farm, to make Japanese- and English-lingo movies for the international market.

Entertainment Farm is creating a $30 million revolving investment fund to co-finance seven or eight movies a year, not all horror fare.

Three companies have already signed up for the fund: toy giant Takara Toys, mobile content provider Index Corp. and commercials production company Dentsu Tec.

Former investment banker Yasushi Kotani will serve as company president.

Announcing Entertainment Corp. Thursday at Cannes, Ichise said he also was in talks with companies in the U.S., France, Spain, Hong Kong and South Korea to invest on a project-by-project basis in films that Entertainment Farm co-finances, produces or co-produces.

Individual pic budgets will run up to $12 million.

Production has begun on Entertainment Farm’s first project: “J Horror Theater,” a six-pic anthology attempting to create “sheer terror,” and to be directed by Japanese scare-fare masters.

First pic in the series, the cursed-hospital chiller “Infection,” directed by Masayuki Ochiai (“Parasite Eye”), went into production April 24. The second, the Norio Tsuruta-helmed “Premonition,” rolls in July. Toho and Tokyo Broadcasting System co-finance “J Horror.”

In launching Entertainment Farm, Ichise, who made the originals of “Ring,” “Dark Water” and “The Grudge,” is playing off a recent relaxation in regs related to the establishment of film funds, plus his own clout in Japan, to establish an effective studio independent of Japan’s established giant congloms.

Unlike Japanese productions that often involve a jigsaw of multiple partners and split-rights deals, Entertainment would channel a bevy of investors into its financing fund, easing long-term slate production.

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