‘Ash’ fires up limited partnership

Cunningham's latest pic gets funding

This article was updated on Jan. 2, 2006.

TOKYO — Tokyo Broadcasting System, a major Japanese TV network active in film production, has revealed plans to invest, with Asmik Ace Entertainment and Cinema Investment Corp., in “Trapped Ashes,” a new anthology film by helmers Sean Cunningham, Monte Hellman, Ken Russell, Joe Dante and John Gaeta, through a limited liability partnership.

TBS and its partners are the first local film producers to take advantage of a new law permitting the formation of LLPs that went into effect in August.

Compared with other types of incorporation in Japan, LLPs offers not only limited liability, but certain tax advantages and greater flexibility in decision-making and asset management.

TBS is coming off a good year, with “Nana,” a female buddy movie based on a hit comicbook, grossing north of $30 million. The net also was responsible for “Be With You,” a weepy drama that grossed $41 million in 2004.

Asmik Ace Entertainment is a major indie distributor of both Japanese and foreign films. Among its releases this year are “Madagascar” (gross: $19.2 million), “Shark Tale” ($16 million), “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” ($7.6 million), “Danny the Dog” ($3 million) and “Ring 2” ($2.6 million).

Tokyo-based Cinema Investment Corp. offers content marketing, financing and management services, specializing in films. Among its recent initiatives is the Independent Film Fund, a Y2 billion ($17 million) fund to support indie filmmakers launched in April with money from the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises & Regional Innovation and the Kadokawa Trust of Fund for Publishing & Film Business Promotion.

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