Young-gun venture capitalists Patrick Rizzotti and Brett Forbes have launched Fortress Entertainment, an early-development film financing company that will co-produce independent films using the leverage of development-stage financing as its buy-in.
Rizzotti and Forbes’ first onscreen credits will come on the Tobey Maguire film “Electroboy.”
The shingle is partnering with David Permut for its second project. Fortress is funding Permut’s purchase and development of Elizabeth Swados’ novel “Dreamtective.” Book tells the story of Cobra Kyte, a girl who discovers she can visit people’s dreams and learn their innermost thoughts.
Ken Walz is co-producing “Dreamtective” along with Permut Presentations VP Steve Longi, who will be overseeing development. Deal was packaged by Acme Talent and Literary.
Bankrolling the early optioning and development of the two projects were funds raised from a variety of private investors as well as from Rizzotti and Forbes’ venture capital firms, American Film Capital, formed in 2002, and American Film Capital II.
Rizzotti said Fortress will not draw on money from revenue received until investors first receive their ante.
“Electroboy” has become the model for Fortress projects. In that deal Rizzotti and Forbes funded Raw Entertainment and Endgame Entertainment’s acquisition of Andy Behrman’s autobiographical book as a film project and raised funds for its development.
The companies succeeded in drawing Maguire Entertainment aboard as a vehicle for Maguire.
Through Fortress and American Film Capital, Rizzotti and Forbes are actively developing more than 30 projects, largely through their association with Raw Entertainment.
“Some of the most successful films in movie history have taken years of pitches just to scrape up enough money to hire a writer,” Rizzotti said. “A producer coming to us first can retain a higher backend profit participation because the production financier can visualize the film as a whole.”