×

Despite the collapse of its joint venture with Completion Bond Co., British merchant bank Guinness Mahon has finalized the funding of three pictures and said it’s committed to film financing.

The bank’s long-planned linkup with CBC to provide one-stop finance, insurance and completion bond service — monikered Partners in Film — foundered when parent Transamerica effectively closed subsid CBC.

Wasted efforts

“It’s altogether unfortunate. We had put a lot of time and effort into the joint venture,” said Premila Hoon, Guinness Mahon’s entertainment division director.

“There were rumors about CBC, but we got firm assurances (about its future) from Transamerica. Then the management changed completely and they decided to close the (completion bonding) business. Unfortunately we have no relationship with the new management.”

But as evidence of Guinness Mahon’s undiminished enthusiasm for the film business, Hoon cited three films the bank has financed.

A pair from Zenith

Two are being produced by Britain’s Zenith Prods., which is stepping up production just as owners Carlton Communications and Paramount are in the final stages of selling it to Dutch producer JE Entertainment. “Deadly Advice,” a black comedy toplining Jane Horrocks and Imelda Staunton, directed by Mandie Fletcher, is shooting in London. Hal Hartley’s mystery thriller “Amateur,” starring Isabelle Huppert and Martin Donovan, is slated to roll in N.Y. next month.

“Deadly Advice,” budgeted at T2 million ($ 3 million) is being principally financed by Britain’s Mayfair Entertainment Intl., which also is handling worldwide sales.

“Amateur,” ticketed at $ 3.5 million, is being distributed globally by France’s UGC Image. U.S. TV rights have been presold to American Playhouse.

American ‘Gunman’

The third film involved is the American production “The Grey Gunman,” recently delivered to Miramax in the U.S. and Columbia TriStar overseas. The bank has arranged a tax deal with Japanese investors, one of its specialty services for newly completed films.

Hoon, trying to close financing for another picture and facing a two-week deadline, is worried about securing a completion bond and re-insurance following the demise of CBC.

“This is a real crisis — the biggest threat we have faced in many years,” Hoon said, referring to the scarcity of insurance avenues.