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JDC launches movie fund

Cinema Trust seeks to raise up to $43 mil

TOKYO — Japan Digital Contents Trust, has announced the launch of Cinema Trust, a fund for the production of movies by five independent film companies.

Targeted primarily at individuals, the fund will raise from Y3 billion ($25.6 million) to Y5 billion ($42.7 million) over four years. By spreading the risk over the slates of several companies, JDC Trust intends to make the fund more attractive to traditionally cautious Japanese investors.

The companies involved in the fund scheme are Aoi Advertising Promotion, Wilco, Ogura Jimusho, Office Shirous and Sedic International. JDC Trust will collectively raise production funds for this consortium by selling fund shares. It will then divide income from theatrical release, DVD sales and other revenue streams with investors, depending on the proportion of the film’s budget accounted for by fund monies. When the fund expires, copyright will revert to the producers.

JDC Trust will start selling fund shares this June, with details, including share price, to be announced later. Dividends to be paid twice annually.

Although the five companies are not majors, they have produced their share of hits, including Sedic’s smash romantic drama “Nana” and Ogura’s female buddy comedy “Kamikaze Girls,” which has sold widely abroad. The five together produce from 10 to 15 films a year that will be financed by the fund.

Citing the growth of fund coin invested in film productions — 2% annually in Japan, 8% in Korea and Asia and 6% to 8% worldwide, JDC Trust prexy Hirofumi Doi said at a press conference Thursday that there is a need for more investment funds in Japan. The Japanese people, he said, want to see the industry make and deliver good quality films. “We have do something about the current situation, in which producers are struggling to raise funds” to make such films, he said.

Other Japanese film funds have targeted individual investors, but most, like Shochiku’s for the ninja actioner “Shinobi,” have been one-offs for single films. JDC Trust’s is the first to raise money for the slates of several companies.

Founded in 1998, JDC Trust develops and manages funds for digital content. It also provide various business support and copyright management services.

JDC Trust manages the Tokyo Multimedia Fund, which invests in various media content, including animation and films. There have been three funds since the first in 1998, with a total investment of Y2.5 billion ($21.4 million).

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