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Nicola Horlick opens film financer

Derby Street will provide indie development coin

British investment manager Nicola Horlick has unveiled Derby Street Films, aimed at filling a void in indie financing by providing development funds for films.

Execs from the London-based banner, who are heading to Cannes next week, have already invested in “Queen of Diamonds,” a 1960s London gangster movie to be helmed by Catherine Hardwicke; black-list script “Blood Mountain”; Inferno’s and Chuck Russell’s “Arabian Nights”; and action pic “In the Blood.” “In the Blood” will shoot this fall in Puerto Rico and star “Haywire’s” Gina Carano.

Fund, which has raised $5 million, was launched in the wake of the indie film biz bouncing back with structured financing available to invest into film and international buyers actively acquiring films.

Company’s typical investments range from $50,000 to $250,000 for script development, casting, scheduling, location scouting and storyboards. Investment committee that evaluates projects consists of DSF’s Horlick and Rachel Durkin, James Gibb from Cutting Edge Group, Shaun Redick from Movie Package Co. and Maggie Monteith from Dignity Distribution.

“Development is seen as being high-risk, but risk can be mitigated by working with producers with a proven record of getting films made,” Horlick noted. “We’re not trying to be heroic. We’re focused on making money for our investors.”

Derby Street looks for projects with a clear strategy from development to production — ideally, slightly later-stage development projects with production potentially starting within 12-18 months and strong creative attachments.

“We like to see that a director or cast with good international value are attached before we commit,” said Durkin, the DSF development director.

Gibb, who also heads up Cutting Edge Music investment fund, asserted that it’s an excellent time to operate the fund. “There’s such a lack of development finance, we’ve been swamped with projects from some of Hollywood’s elite producers and directors.”

Gibb sources projects from his producer client base.

“We don’t want to be in business with producers who develop dozens of projects and only make one or two,” explained Gibb, who also heads up Cutting Edge Music investment fund. “Those days are over. “If you are going to spend six figures developing a film, you better make sure it stands a really good chance of actually getting made,” explained Cutting Edge’s Gibb, who also heads up Cutting Edge Music investment fund. “We like to work with the producers who are focused on a few projects and have the ability to get their films off the ground.”

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