FilmEngine revs up

Inks Benderspink, Roulette pic pacts

FilmEngine, a film production and foreign sales company backed by funding from Florida entrepreneur Bill Shively, has signed joint ventures with management and production shingle Benderspink as well as Roulette Entertainment, a production company headed by thesps Josh Hartnett and Elden Henson.

FilmEngine and Benderspink are in pre-production on two features, psychological thriller “The Butterfly Effect,” starring Joshua Jackson, Ali Larter and Henson; and “One Night,” which will be helmed by Joel Gallen.

Each budgeted just south of $15 million, the films will be introduced at the Cannes Film Market.

FilmEngine is a partnership between former New Line Cinema exec A.J. Dix, “O” producer Anthony Rhulen and Shively. Dix will serve as president of production, while Rhulen will be FilmEngine’s CEO as well as a partner in Roulette, which aims to develop and produce two to three projects per year with FilmEngine.

FilmEngine will develop and fully finance all films through pre-sales and a discretionary fund arranged by Rhulen and Shively.

With a goal of developing, financing and producing at least two productions this year and at least three annually thereafter, FilmEngine also plans to launch television production and foreign sales divisions shortly.

Dix, J.C. Spink and Chris Bender first worked together as producers on New Line’s upcoming “Cheaters,” which stars Henson, while Rhulen, Hartnett and Henson met on “O.”

“We really worked well together on ‘Cheaters,’ and when you find that, you want to keep it,” Dix said.

“This joint venture with Film-Engine is a natural development for our company, allowing us to take advantage of the client material we believe in,” Bender said.

‘Butterfly’ takes wing

The first film expected to move into production will be “The Butterfly Effect.” It was written and will be directed by Eric Bress and Jon Gruber.

Mike Bender penned the comedy “One Night,” the story of five twentysomething friends who share an unforgettable evening in Gotham after a botched bachelor party. Benderspink, FilmEngine and Gallen’s company, Tenth Planet, will produce the film.

Other projects in development by FilmEngine are the drama “Star Crossed,” written by Paul Allen and to star Andrew Keegan and LeAnn Rimes; an untitled action-adventure script by Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring (“Diablo”); and the action thriller “Blind Horizon,” to be made with producer Newman-Tooley.

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