Kutcher comedy 'Spread,' Norton's 'Grass' among projects

Newly launched film financing venture Oceana Media Finance and Barbarian Films have pacted to fully fund a slate of films with budgets of up to $30 million, beginning with Ashton Kutcher-Anne Heche romantic comedy “Spread” and Edward Norton comedic thriller “Leaves of Grass.”

Oceana, formed last year by film financier Myles Nestel, is backed by a $100 million investment from American Capital Strategies.

Barbarian and Oceana also are financing a remake of the 2005 French thriller “13 Tzameti,” which Gela Babluani is directing.

“Spread,” now in production, is a sex romp about a serial womanizer and the woman he jilted.

“Leaves,” directed by Tim Blake Nelson, will feature Norton starring in dual roles as an uptight Ivy League professor and as the professor’s twin brother, a stoner and career criminal. Norton is producing with Oceana and Barbarian.

Oceana will offer four types of film financing; pre-production bridge loans, mezzanine and gap financing, print and advertising financing and, to a lesser extent, equity financing.

Nestel has more than a decade of film financing experience.

Independent film financing venture Barbarian Films, also launched last year, was formed by Aaron Kaufman, Douglas Kuber and Ron Hartenbaum. It has formed several strategic partnerships with independent producers, including Benderspink. Barbarian and Benderspink’s first project is the upcoming horror thriller “Urge.”

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