GC Corp. invests in Zip Films

NYC company takes stake in Barcelona firm

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain — New York-based venture capital fund GC Corp. has entered Europe’s film market, taking a 25% stake in Barcelona production house Zip Films.

GC paid E3.7 million ($5.2 million) for the shareholding after two months of due diligence.

Move forms part of GC’s ambitious film plans including gaining a larger presence in Europe via acquisitions, GC managing director Adi Cohen said at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival.

“We plan to turn Zip into a base for our entertainment operation in Europe,” he said.

GC will provide Zip with a revolving credit facility of $22.4 million earmarked for European and cross-Atlantic co-productions.

“Currently, it’s easier to raise film financing in Europe than in the U.S.,” Cohen said.

Cohen, an American-Israeli executive, partners at CG with Joseph Grinkorn, prexy of New York real estate and mortgage company Morris Group Funding.

GC is already linked to the film industry via its relationship with U.S. indie shingle Killer Films, which is producing with Zip the $20 million “Betsy and the Emperor,” starring Al Pacino. GC owns “Betsy” film and stage adaptation rights.

“The GC deal guarantees a bigger and better international distribution for our projects,” said Norbert Llaras, Zip chief financial officer.

“We’re evolving from making low-budget films to films costing $10 million to $20 million. It’s part of a five-year business plan,” Zip CEO Jordi Rediu added.

Launched in 1993, Zip has a strong lineup of pics by new talent, having produced critically acclaimed films such as Jo Sol’s San Sebastian hit “The Taxi Thief” in 2005, Ramon Termens and Carles Torras’ drama “Joves” and Wes Bentley’s thriller “The Ungodly.”

Zip has also taken a 20% stake in Henning Carlsen’s $7 million film adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book “Memories of My Melancholy Whores.”

“Our main interest is mostly content. In Zip, we’ve found an extraordinary reservoir of highly talented people,” said Cohen, who’s joined Zip’s board as prexy.

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