CANNES: Thai’s Benetone Films, U.S.’s Hillin Entertainment Create Benetone Hillin (EXCLUSIVE)

Cannes Film Festival

Thai production services company Benetone Films has teamed with U.S. producer Hillin Entertainment on a new production shingle, Benetone Hillin Entertainment.

BHE is assembling a slate of low-budget movies that take advantage of Thailand’s unparalleled production-friendly combination of low cost, high skills and diverse locations.

“We have great synergy between Thailand’s production resources and our 12 years of experience here, and with Daemon’s skill at packaging and relationships with agents in the U.S. market,” said Benetone executive director Kulthep Narula.

First production was “A Stranger in Paradise,” a 2012 action-adventure thriller directed by Corrado Jay Boccia and starring Stuart Townsend and Catalina Sandino-Morena. That was followed by “Pernicious,” an English-language horror thriller about three young women who accidentally unleash an evil Thai spirit.

The company is now in the process of packaging “Oliver Storm and the Curse of Sinbad’s Treasure,” which Hillin pitches as a cross between “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones” and it intends to up the rate of production to two to three movies per year. “There’s a strong and stable market for this kind of material if it is made at the right price,” he said. “Oliver Storm” is currently budgeted at $1.5 million below the line, before director and cast attachments.

“Thanks to our production services business we have the financial resources to fully fund development, packaging and production if necessary,” said Rachvin Narula, who added that the company has serviced over 100 incoming foreign productions. “And given the volume of business we have in Thailand we can be sure of getting the best possible prices for services and equipment.”

The company said it is evaluating sales and distribution options as it ramps up its output. Edward Noeltner’s CMG handled “Stranger,” while new shingle VMI repped “Pernicious.”

“Even without an incentive or rebate scheme in place Thailand is in such a good position. We are getting a lot of studios coming here. We have so many Bollywood pictures coming to shoot here and now, increasingly, we have Chinese sales and production companies wanting to do things here,” said Narula. “With BHE we have gone from being a Thai services company to being a global one. Now we are on our way to being a gateway for China.”

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