THINKFilm Secures Investment With Plans to Continue on a Larger Scale
by Brian Brooks
Toronto-based THINKFilm has secured a private placement of equity funds provided by two of Canada's leading investment firms, Covington Capital Corporation and Dynamic Venture Opportunities Fund, Jeff Sackman, president and CEO of THINKFilm announced yesterday. The deal was brokered by John Grant of Royal Bank of Canada capital markets and negotiated by Marc Hirshberg, CFO of THINKFilm, Scott Clark and Will Jin of Covington and Ray Benzinger for Dynamic.
Launched in 2001 at the Toronto International Film Festival, THINKFilm brought together numerous former executives from Lions Gate, including Mark Urman, who heads up U.S. operations in New York. In addition to its theatrical distribution division, the company also launched its own direct-to-video unit, Velocity Home Entertainment, in June 2002. That division releases twenty titles per year in the U.S., Sackman told indieWIRE yesterday. In explaining how THINKFilm has expanded its operations, he also cited the purchase of film libraries including Blackwatch Releasing, after the company began operations and "smaller ones since then."
"Our focus has always been on the bottom line, and we have succeeded in being a profitable company since our first year," commented Sackman in a statement. "With this equity infusion, we intend to move to the next level by expanding into new arenas and doing what we've always done on a larger scale." However, Sackman declined to give any specifics when asked how the company would take on bigger projects and what new arenas they were looking to explore.
THINKFilm released Stephen Fry's "Bright Young Things" over the weekend, earning more than $45,000 on three screens and earlier this summer it opened the rockumentary "Festival Express" -- that film has made more than a half-million in five weeks of release. The company release of "The Story of the Weeping Camel" has earned just under $1.5 million during its 12 weeks of release.
Docs figure prominently on the company's release slate for the rest of 2004. Next month, THINK will release "September Tapes," followed by the John Kerry doc "Going Upriver" by George Butler on October 1st, just in time for the election. Juliano Mer Khamis & Danniel Danniel's "Arna's Children" is set to debut on the same date, while the following week the company will unveil the Sundance 2004 narrative Grand Jury Prize winner "Primer" by Shane Carruth. "Overnight," Mark Brian Smith & Tony Montana's doc about the rise and fall of filmmaker Troy Duffy will be released in November. Two other 2004 titles have yet to be announced, according to a company executive.