Profiles in Finance: Goldcrest
Goldcrest, the ’80s powerhouse behind “Chariots of Fire” and “Gandhi,” is back in the indie production financing game after years of confining itself to exploiting its library and running its post houses in London and New York.Goldcrest Finance, a joint venture with former Merrill Lynch banker Adam Kulick, started in 2006 backing Hollywood slates from the likes of Paramount, Summit and DreamWorks. But it has since switched its focus to investing equity into Brit indie pics including Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” and Margaret Thatcher biopic “The Iron Lady.” Goldcrest Films Intl., the company’s revitalized sales arm under Penny Wolf, is also injecting its own equity finance into projects, recently backing U.S. indies “Homework,” “Dark Horse” and “The Girl.” But the two arms of the company have yet to work together. Kulick and Wolf say they hope to do so in the future, in order to provide producers with a one-stop shop for financing, if only they can find projects to fit. Wolf says, “The aim is to have them coming in with us, or us with them, but we are looking at slightly lower-budget projects than they would consider, and they have to invest in U.K. qualifying films.” After its initial flirtation with Hollywood, when it backed 18 pics including “Twilight” and “Tropic Thunder,” Goldcrest Finance raised a $50 million fund to back British films under the U.K.’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax shelter, and has since tapped further EIS coin. “It’s about increasing our brand in the U.K. and getting closer to productions,” Kulick says. “You can add more value on smaller films.” It targets pics in the $3 million-$15 million range, and provides an equity investment worth up to 20% of budgets. Next, Kulick sees an opportunity in deficit financing TV programs.