CANNES — Renaissance Films founder Stephen Evans is leaving the U.K. production and sales company, with co-managing director Angus Finney taking sole charge.
Finney will take the company out of the production business and will instead focus on financing, sales, marketing and development.
Evans is setting up his own production shingle, as yet unnamed. He is taking three Renaissance staffers with him, including head of production Caroline Wood. He plans to raise his own development fund.
He is also taking four projects, with Renaissance retaining the option to finance them. These include Hettie Macdonald’s “Bad Blood,” with John Hurt attached to star; and an adaptation of Arabella Weir’s comic novel “Stupid Cupid.”
This restructuring follows a difficult three years since Evans and Finney raised $36 million in equity from investment fund Hermes.
“Our intention is to continue to work together, but obviously the whole market has changed radically since we drew up our business plan,” Evans said.
“This is a realistic and amicable restructuring to ensure a sensible future both for Renaissance and for Stephen’s new company going forward,” Finney added.
Renaissance has set aside a “significant sum” for a rolling development fund to attract outside producers.
It will unveil a new sales slate at the Cannes Film Festival. This is expected to include Roger Michell’s “The Mother,” a $2.5 million movie which was developed by Renaissance and will be fully financed by BBC Films.
Evans, a stockbroker by background, founded Renaissance with Kenneth Branagh in the late 1980s, to produce “Henry V.” Although Branagh subsequently departed, the company went on to produce critical and commmercial hits including “The Madness of King George” and “The Wings of a Dove.”
But Evans always harbored grander ambitions to raise significant capital to expand into financing and sales. He hooked up with Finney, a former journalist, and they lined up backing from Hermes.
Since then, the company has bankrolled “The Luzhin Defence,” “Disco Pigs,” “The Reckoning” and “The Safety of Objects.” It was particularly hard hit by budget overruns on “The Reckoning.”
The sales team of Bill Stephens and Charlie Bloye left the company early in 2001, after Renaissance failed to complete the financing of “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” in time to shoot the pic before SAG’s strike deadline.