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GSFM, AEP launch new Australian film and television fund

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By Jessica Penny
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3 minute read

The firm has partnered with Australian Entertainment Partners to launch the AEP Screen Fund.

GSFM has announced a strategic partnership with Australian Entertainment Partners (AEP) to introduce the AEP Screen Fund, an investment vehicle dedicated to supporting Australian film and television endeavours.

In a statement on Monday, GSFM revealed that the fund will be structured in a way that minimises material exposure to box office or other audience-related factors.

GSFM’s chief executive officer, Damien McIntyre, said the AEP Screen Fund provides access to an attractive, alternative asset class.

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“The fund will provide long-term financing for the Australian screen industry on a low-risk basis for investors in the fund. This is because the investment criteria for the fund to finance a project requires the costs of the vast majority of projects to be fully covered by studio or streamer contracts and government incentives prior to the commencement of production,” said Mr McIntyre.

The fund aims to raise up to AU$100 million of equity to be coupled with a bank facility of up to AU$500 million arranged and led by the leading financial institutions in the global screen industry.

Moreover, the AEP Screen fund is planned to be a seven-year fund (five years with a two-year wind down) capped at producing 40 original productions and increasing to 55 total projects including sequels and continuing series.

Over the five years of the fund’s investment term, the fund expects to produce film and television content in excess of $1.7 billion, the majority of which will be spent in Australia.

GSFM Screen Investments will be the fund’s trustee and GSFM will also be responsible for the distribution and back office administration of the fund.

AEP, established last year, is based in Melbourne but has a representative office in Los Angeles, California.

According to co-founder Greg Basser, the current timing couldn’t be more opportune for the launch of the fund in Australia.

“With the support of GSFM, we are able to offer a screen financing fund unlike any other in the market,” said Mr Basser.

“Australian cast, crew, and creative talent are highly regarded by the global film and TV community and continue to be in high demand. As well, Australian facilities, locations, and post-production/SFX are world-class and actively engaged by producers from all over the world.”

He noted that Australia is perceived as being a “safe” place for film and TV production, especially since the pandemic and instability in eastern Europe.

“Australian government rebates and production incentives lead the world. This was reinforced by the federal government’s increase of the location offset from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent announced in last week’s budget.”

Mr Basser added that the fund will not only be a solid funding source for Australian projects, but will also attract international production to Australia, thereby creating long-term jobs, providing significant sustainable economic activity and contributing to GDP.

“The production cost of the vast majority of projects will be covered by contracts and government rebates and incentives concurrent with the commencement of production,” he said.

“The fund will offer significant value to producers, studios, and streamers — maximising Australian rebates and incentives, fully financing the cost of production and bringing oversight to the productions from experienced and respected industry insiders.”

GSFM, AEP launch new Australian film and television fund

The firm has partnered with Australian Entertainment Partners to launch the AEP Screen Fund.

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