Sales company secures credit facility

QED Intl., Bill Block’s year-old financing and international sales company, has secured a $50 million credit facility from Comerica Bank and British hedge fund Aramid Entertainment.

Block told Daily Variety that the coin will speed up and simplify the greenlight process at QED, which has been aiming to finance two to three pics annually in the $10 million-$35 million range, movies more prominent than most indie fare.

“This facility allows us to say yes to production companies and writers/directors that we believe will be viable in today’s global marketplace,” Block said.

The first film to be financed with the new funds is “The Return,” starring Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Pena and directed by Neil Burger (“The Illusionist”). Lensing began earlier this month on the drama, focused on the return of a trio of Iraq War vets and produced by Burger, Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Rick Schwartz; Block, Paul Hanson and Elliot Ferwerda of QED exec produce with Adam Merims.

Lionsgate’s handling domestic distribution for “The Return,” and QED has begun selling international rights.

QED’s other recent projects include “The Hunting Party,” written and directed by Richard Shepard and starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard; “Smart People,” starring Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker; “The Girl in the Park,” penned and directed by David Auburn and starring Sigourney Weaver, Kate Bosworth, Alessandro Nivola and Keri Russell; and the upcoming “Powder Blue,” starring Forest Whitaker and Jessica Biel.

Miramax is distributing “Smart People” and the Weinstein Co. will handle “The Hunting Party.”

Before launching QED with Ferwerda, Hanson and Kimberly Fox, Block partnered with Ken Kamins to open management/production company Key Creatives in 2004. Before launching Key Creatives, Block was prexy of Artisan Entertainment, overseeing new productions and acquisitions.

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