Vistaar Religare Film Fund (VRFF) has made an investment in a Hollywood movie starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny titled ‘The Joneses’. The film premieres at Toronto International Film Festival 2009 (TIFF 2009), which is scheduled to be held on September 10-19, 2009. The Joneses is a comic drama, which is produced by Douglas Mankoff’s Echo Lake Productions that earlier funded Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’. The film is directed by Derrick Borte.
Sheetal Talwar, MD, VRFF stated that they are committed to funding good content and talent and will continue to fund Indian films, besides funding mainstream Hollywood projects. This is the first investment by a SEBI-registered fund in a Hollywood project. VRFF has earlier invested in a South African film called ‘Finding Lenny’.
This development comes after Anil Ambani led Reliance Big Entertainment recently signed a deal to produce movies with renowned Hollywood director Steven Spielberg’s DreamWork’s Studios.
VRFF currently has nine projects on floor in various stages of production including forthcoming releases like Bhavna Talwar’s ‘Happi’, Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Rann’ and Rajiv Mehra’s ‘Office-Office’.
VRFF is a SEBI approved film fund, which is a joint venture fund between Vistaar Entertainment Ventures Pvt Ltd and Religare Enterprises. It has a life of 5+2 years. The fund, which has a target corpus of Rs 200 crore, aims to offer its shareholders an internal rate of return (IRR) of 30%.
The fund had earlier invested in films like Stoneman Murders, Siddhartha – The Prisoner and Victory. It has invested around Rs 5 crore ($1 million) for a minority stake in the Victory.
Other film funds include Cinema Capital Venture Fund (CCVF), which was launched this year with a corpus of Rs 500 crore, besides Indian Film Company, which raised $110 million from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of London Stock Exchange.
While in December 2008, theatre chain company Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd (PSTL) announced its plan to launch a Rs 250 crore private equity fund to invest in films, in April this year director-producer Junaid Memon initiated similar attempt to launch a Rs 250 crore ($50 million) film fund called Nomad Film Fund. However, these funds are yet to see the light of the day.