Lambert Media, William D. Johnson team for pic loans

Lambert Media Group’s Michael Lambert and Sam Englebardt have partnered with investor William D. Johnson to form specialty film financing banner Demarest Films.

Johnson is the son of Franklin Templeton Investments founder Charles B. Johnson.

Demarest started film financing operations in November after making investments in an array of public and private media and technology films — including Cinedigm, Moviepass, Titan Gaming, xFire, Seismic Games and nTro — under its previous name, Activation Media Partners.

The company provides senior and gap loans and preferred equity to film and TV productions. It has completed investments in Neil Jordan’s “Byzantium,” currently in post-production and starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller and Sam Riley; David Rosenthal’s “A Single Shot,” currently filming and starring Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, and Jeffrey Wright; and “Penthouse North,” a psychological thriller directed by Joseph Ruben that stars Michelle Monaghan and Michael Keaton and will be released by the Weinstein Co.

“We intend for Demarest to be faster, more economical and less risk-averse than other specialty financiers, which often makes all the difference,” Englebardt said. “Producers need a partner who can stretch a bit further against the foreign sales estimates, close the financing faster and maybe put up a modest amount of equity to get the project into production.”

Lambert Media Group, founded in 1992, has investments in Rave Cinemas, Village Roadshow Pictures and Concord Music Group.

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