Short-term financing at new shingle Greentrestle

TORONTO — Veteran entertainment attorney Michael Barnes and producer Dominic Ianno have established Greentrestle Film Bridge Fund, which will provide short-term film funding.

The fund is designed to furnish up to $750,000 in bridge financing for filmmakers looking to round out production budgets. Barnes, a transactional finance attorney who runs Barnes Law Firm and reps financiers and filmmakers in acquisition and pic production deals, said Greentrestle grew out of a crisis in which a client scrambled to replace funding that had fallen through. Barnes and Ianno were pressed to find the coin.

“This was right about the time the world markets melted a year ago, and it dawned on me that, rather than make calls in panic for a client, why not make some calls, raise the money and have it available when deals come up?” Barnes said.

Greentrestle is not part of the law firm, but the firm’s attorneys will work on many of the deals. Despite the volatility involved in indie film financing, the short-term funding venture carries manageable risk, Barnes said, emphasizing that the firm will work with “people we’ve done business with for a long time, which reduces that risk.”

The upside is fees that run 10% or more for the funds.

“Usually, the amount of money in these transactions is 1%-2% of the budget, so paying a premium for money that makes or breaks a movie and can be the difference between a greenlight or a film getting pushed is a drop in the bucket in the overall scheme,” Barnes said. “The key is being able to move that money quickly, and we can do that.”

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