Finance II: Strategies for Today’s VOD Dominated World
Production finance experts provide an international perspective on financing films in today’s climate. How is a film’s budget and value determined, what makes a film investment worthy for the big or small screen?
Maxime Cottray, EVP, Production & Finance, XYZ Films
Steven Farneth, Head of Finance, Senior Executive, Cinetic Media
Peter Graham, Principal, 120 dB Films
Deirdre Owens, VP, Production Incentive Financing, Cast & Crew
Jeremy Kay, Americas Editor, Screen International
Jeremy KayAmericas Editor, Screendaily
Jeremy Kay is Americas editor of the international trade publication Screendaily. From his Los Angeles hub he regularly travels to the major markets and festivals on the calendar to report on market news and interview talent and executives.
Besides focusing on the independent business, festivals and markets, Kay reports on production and financing, streamer and studio activity, the Canadian and Latin American film industries, and awards season.
He has moderated panels at TIFF, Cannes, AFM, Ventana Sur and other top tier events on the circuit.
As a freelancer Kay has written on film for The Guardian and The Telegraph, and has written more broadly on news and sport for Time Out, The Independent On Sunday, The Express, and The Sunday Irish Tribune.
Maxime CottrayEVP, Production & Finance, XYZ Films
Maxime oversees the production and financing activities at the Los Angeles-based independent film production and distribution company XYZ Films, where he produces and executive produces many of the company’s titles, including most recently Stowaway starring Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette and Dual starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul. Furthermore, Maxime spearheads the execution of all financing arrangements for both the company and individual films produced and distributed by the company, most recently raising a $100M production financing fund for XYZ in collaboration Finnish venture capital company IPR.VC. Before joining XYZ in 2017, Maxime spent many years at the film financing group Ingenious Media in London where he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating and negotiating investments in the media industry. A French and German national by way of the UK, Maxime resides in Los Angeles.
Furthermore, Maxime spearheads the execution of all financing arrangements for both the company and individual films produced and distributed by the company, most recently raising a $100M production financing fund for XYZ in collaboration with the Finnish venture capital fund IPR.VC.
Before joining XYZ in 2017, Maxime spent many years at the film financing group Ingenious Media in London where he was responsible for and involved in sourcing, evaluating and negotiating investments in studio and independent film projects, ranging from studio blockbusters including Life of Pi and The Rise of the Planet of the Apes to award-winning independent films including Selma, Carol and Brooklyn.
A French and German national by way of the UK, Maxime resides in Los Angeles.
Deirdre OwensVice President of Production Incentive Financing, Cast & Crew
Deirdre Owens joined Cast & Crew in 2013 to launch, Cast & Crew Financial Services, where she serves as Vice President of Production Incentive Financing. Cast & Crew Financial Services provides production financing for projects across the spectrum, from movies-of-the-week to large budget features. This financing is most commonly in the form of tax incentive loans, but also includes receivables lending and other short-term financing. The company also provides tax credit administration services for producers earning incentives across the US, and through its Cast & Crew Capital subsidiary, assists US and Canadian producers with the legal and accounting services required to earn Canadian tax credits.
Prior to joining Cast & Crew, Ms. Owens held the post of Senior Vice President of Finance at Grosvenor Park Media where she specialized in structuring and negotiating film and television investments including single and multi-project debt and debt/equity facilities. Previously, Ms. Owens worked with Jonathan Dolgen, the former Chairman of Paramount Pictures, at his private equity firm, Wood River Ventures. Ms. Owens holds an M.B.A from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and an AB degree from Harvard University.
Peter GrahamPrincipal, 120dB Films
Peter Graham has been actively involved in financing entertainment companies and film production for over thirty years. Since 2005 he has partnered with Stephen Hays on 120dB Films. Before 120dB, Mr. Graham was a Managing Director of the Lewis Horwitz Organization (LHO), one of the premier companies specializing in financing independent film and television production. Prior to LHO (1997-2005), he was a Vice President with Union Bank of California’s Entertainment Department (1992-1997) lending to independent film productions. Mr. Graham began his entertainment financing skills with First Interstate Bank from (1990-1992). He is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy with a dual major and has an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
Mr. Graham has expertise in complex international film financing and distribution. He has also provided consulting services for debt restructuring. His specialty is developing creative deal structures encompassing both debt and equity. He has been involved in financing over 400 independent movies and television programs including Jeepers Creepers, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Virgin Suicides, The English Patient, Queen of the Desert and the television series “Leverage”.
Mr. Graham previously served on the I.F.T.A Board of Directors and has served on the Advisory Board of Directors for the American Film Institute Festival. He is a frequent speaker on industry panels and a lecturer for university courses.
Steven FarnethHead of Finance, Senior Executive, Cinetic Media
Steven Farneth is a Senior Executive at Cinetic Media, where he supervises the company’s Los Angeles office and serves as Head of Finance and as a literary and talent manager, reflecting the company’s multi-disciplinary approach to representation and finance.
Farneth oversees all aspects of developing, raising and structuring project finance for Cinetic clients, while also focusing on domestic and international sales and overall analysis and corporate strategy work for film funds, producers, and financiers.
He has been instrumental to the finance and distribution of projects including 100 Foot Wave; The Babadook; Cartel Land; Everybody Wants Some; A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night; Maggie’s Plan; Super Troopers 2; The Kids Are All Right, and forthcoming projects by Todd Haynes, Matthew Heineman, Lyric Cabral, Bradford Young and Jonathan Hock, among others.
Farneth Executive Produced the Academy Award winning Best Picture Green Book, as well as Land, directed by and starring Robin Wright, MLK/FBI directed by Sam Pollard, A Mouthful of Air, directed by Amy Koppelman and starring Amanda Seyfried, and a forthcoming feature written and directed by Bill Burr.
He was profiled in Variety’s 2013 “Global Finance Impact Report”. Prior to joining Cinetic in 2006, Farneth was at ThinkFilm. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Swarthmore College and a M.A. in Cinema Studies from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.