Blue Rider bridges gap
Indie financing firm Blue Rider Pictures and William Morris Independent have teamed up to provide gap and bridge financing for a slate of indie films.Blue Rider is initially putting as much as $100 million toward the partnership. Under terms of the deal, WMI will bring partially financed indie projects to Blue Rider, which will in turn provide gap financing for productions that need to cover the difference between a film’s production business and the amount actually committed in cash infusions. Led by agents Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson, WMI packages talent and financing for some 25 indie titles each year, in addition to striking distribution deals. WMI has been involved with 100 films since launching in 1998, including the recent “Thank You for Smoking,” as well as “The Good Girl,” “Monster’s Ball” and “The Apostle.” Upcoming releases include “Bobby,” to be distribbed by the Weinstein Co. Blue Rider principals Walter Josten and Jeff Geoffray said the firm’s capital flexibility will help bring more independent pics to the screen. “We are excited about the deal flow and the product that WMI brings,” Josten said. Blue Rider said financing won’t be limited to projects put together by WMI. Deal comes less than two months after Merrill Lynch’s Global Asset Based Finance Group and Rizvi Traverse Management formed indie gap financing fund NewBridge Film Capital, putting up an initial pot of $40 million. That fund was launched with the help of ICM chairman-CEO Jeff Berg. The Merrill Lynch group and Rizvi are the same investors who poured more than $100 million into the tenpercentery last year, but NewBridge is completely separate. Blue Rider, launched in 1991, has financed scores of films by providing loans between $250,000 and $8 million. Most recently, it provided bridge financing for John Boorman’s “A Tiger’s Tale”; British diamond heist thriller “Flawless,” starring Michael Caine and Demi Moore; and Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn.” Other titles include “O Jerusalem,” “Thief Lord,” “The Shooting Gallery,” “Eloise at the Plaza” and “The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie.” Blue Rider also has produced a number of movies and TV projects. In addition to supplying gap and bridge financing, Blue Rider said it can provide mezzanine financing, acquisition funds and collateral shortfall loans, among other financing structures.