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Winchester seeks $

Plans to raise $14.9 mil from private investors

LONDON — Winchester Entertainment, the London-based sales company, has announced plans to raise £9 million ($14.9 million) from private investors to bankroll two movies &151; Dave Stewart’s “Honest” and Jevon O’Neill’s “Mr. Benn.”

Winchester has set up a special vehicle, dubbed UK Films Group, to produce the films under the U.K.’s Enterprise Investment Scheme, which offers various tax breaks.

“Honest” is written by Dick Clement and Ian LaFrenais (“Still Crazy”) and its producers include Hollywood exec Michael Peyser, Eileen Gregory and Keith Northrop.

Based on an idea by rock star and record producer Stewart, the love story is set in swinging London during the late ’60s and focuses on three streetwise sisters who carry out robberies disguised as men.

“Mr. Benn,” which will star John Hannah and Ben Kingsley, is a live-action pic based on the classic BBC kids cartoon of the same name. The eponymous hero is a conventional man who tries on exotic clothes and finds himself transported into whatever world the clothes come from.

Both films are scheduled to shoot in April, with the EIS fundraising due to close by the end of March. If Winchester fails to raise the amount through the EIS, it will make up the remainder through pre-sales and other financing sources.

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