Japanese film first to use completion bond

Gary Oldman is in negotiations to join the cast of “Rain Fall,” a Japan-set thriller that employs sophisticated western finance techniques.

Adapted from a novel by best- selling American author Barry Eisler, pic is story of a hit man who is forced to protect the daughter of one of his victims against assassination by the CIA. Shiina Kippei (“Shinobi”) and Akiho Hasegawa star.

Japanese Satoru Iseki (“The Emperor and the Assassin,” “A Battle of Wits”) produces through his Tara Contents shingle and a special purpose vehicle with backing from Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and other equity investors.

“Rain Fall” will be the second directorial outing for scripter-helmer Max Mannix (“Dance of the Dragon”). Pic, to be lensed beginning next month, will be shot predominantly in Japanese, with 15% English dialogue.

Iseki said the film will have the distinction of being the first Japanese movie to use a completion bond. Budgeted at over $7 million, bond supplied by Film Finances, will allow producers to discount a video contract and bring forward coin for the production stage.

“Normally Japanese investors don’t use bonds as they create film investment consortia and share the risk among themselves, but I think a bond helps the producer and opens up other kinds of finance such as gap or debt,” Iseki said. “One reason I don’t like the consortium system is that it is difficult to see who has the final decision — and decision-making at their monthly meetings can be slow.”

Iseki, who is in Hong Kong with two projects at the HAF, expects to appoint a world sales agent in the next weeks.

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