Silver Reel, a Cayman Islands fund run out of Switzerland, is an emerging player in gap finance, filling the space vacated by the European banks who fled the business following the credit crunch.
Founded two years ago by former Bank of Ireland exec Ian Hutchinson and Zurich-based managing partner Claudia Blumhuber, the fund has lent $30 million to seven films to date. These are mostly U.K.-based productions such as “Hysteria,” “Killing Bono,” “The Great Ghost Rescue,” “Flutter,” “Ecstasy” and “Ironclad,” but also include Kiwi pic “Love Birds.”
Having established a track record with both investors and producers, Silver Reel is looking to grow its portfolio by raising more cash to expand into the U.S. It is targeting pics with budgets from $15 million-$40 million.
“There will be a slight change in emphasis now that we’ve launched ourselves, proved our credibility and shown that we can close deals,” Hutchinson says. “We’re going to move up the curve, we will become more U.S.-oriented in 2011 and we’ll be getting into bigger projects.
“The problem is not raising the funds, but finding the right projects.”
Silver Reel sources its coin from a handful of wealthy family offices based in Switzerland.
Hutchinson expects to invest $20 million more in two projects by Cannes, and to reach $100 million worth of production deals within 18 months. Deals combine loans against pre-sales and tax credits with gap finance against unsold territories, typically in the region of 20% of budgets. Former Pathe exec Emile Elmer acts as creative consultant.
Silver Reel is holding early talks with distribs in a couple of territories to launch a fund to partner with them on acquisitions and P&A.