Asia fund raising US$300 mil. for TV and film

Access Asia is raising US$300 million for, TV series, films and computer games with an Asian flavour.

The fund will use the money to produce and release TV series, films and computer games partly aimed at the burgeoning Asian marketplace.

World Group, the producer, financier and sales agent, is the senior partner in Access Asia. Since its start in 1956, World has arranged US$3-4 billion in structured financing for Hollywood, co-financing such movies as Marathon Man and Saturday Night Fever. Its New York-based international sales arm was one of the pioneers of selling rights to films territory-by-territory, while its London-based World Productions is one of the UK’s leading indie television producers, whose credits include This Life and Ballykissangel.

Salon Films, one of the longest-established names in the Hong Kong film industry, is another partner. The third partner is Christopher Brough, chairman of Dotcom Productions, whose credits include Asian-made television cartoons Transformers and Barbie. Dotcom will supervise animation and computer games.

Finally, Nick Clements has put together a consortium of Swiss, Hong Kong and Singapore-based banks to help the venture. Projects will be vetted by an eight-strong green-lighting committee, three-quarters of whom must agree before putting any project into production.

Committee members include John Heyman, chairman of the World Group of Companies, regarded as the doyen of international film finance. He says: "The combination of American and European creative supervision and management with the talented and cost-effective execution in china, Japan, Korea and Singapore make for a timely and frankly irresistible opportunity."

Once it has raised the money, Access Asia will grant one-off licences to either its production arms. These in turn will create special purpose vehicles to produce each TV series, movie or game.

One of the first projects that Access Asia is raising money for is Giants, a 3D children’s adventure about a family shipwrecked on an uncharted island inhabited by the last remaining fabled giants, who mistake the nerdy teenage son for the mythical "Jack the Giant Killer."