Maya money goes global

Cardinale coin used for co-prods

Moctesuma Esparza’s Latino market specialists Maya Entertainment has created an international co-production division, backed by $100 million in loan financing from Cardinal Pointe Film Finance, Maya announced Friday.

The division will be headed by Jason Gurvitz.

Owned by New York’s the Economic Growth Group, a pension fund, credit-card machine, real estate and healthcare company, CPFF is “committed to finance motion pictures and television programming for up to $100 million for the year 2007,” said CPFF partner CPFF Bill Novador.

Cardinal Pointe’s credit facility for Maya will be its first investment in the film sector, though Maya is unlikely to draw down $100 million in one or even a couple of years, given the low-budget focus of its new international operation.

Cardinal Pointe’s coin for Maya’s international division is “designed to assist debt financing of a wide range of films emphasising those under $10 million,” said prexy Moctesuma Esparza.

The overseas op will have “a very heavy focus on Spain and Latin America,” Gurvitz said, though Maya will also explore co-productions worldwide.

“Ideally, we’re looking for projects with A-list stars and directors already attached, but we’re open to earlier stage projects on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

On some projects, Maya will seek first right of refusal on domestic distribution; others will be put through other distribution companies.

Cardinal Pointe will lend on a film-by-film basis, supplying “gap or super-gap” finance, said Maya Releasing chief operating officer Michael Harpster.

It will look to secure investment through the collateral producers bring to a budget such as equity, subsidy and tax coin and pre-sales, he added.

International co-production continues Maya’s rapid multi-level expansion under Esparza.

Maya Cinemas, its cinema loop, plans to open more than 30 hardtops in Latino-centric communities over the next five years. Distrib Maya Releasing’s first bow, “Screamers,” an Armenian genocide docu featuring metal band System of a Down, screens at Cannes.

Esparza’s production credits include “Gettysburg,” “Selena” and “The Milagro Beanfield War.”

Maya’s international production brief will expand to include not only socially conscious films but comedies and American-style genre films set outside the U.S. and with international casts, Gurvitz said.

The move abroad aims to roll off new international coin, twinning Maya financing with “soft money” — state subsidies or tax coin — triggered by international co-productions.

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