New $10 million Edmonton investment fund aims to create work in the city

The Edmonton Filmed Entertainment Fund, a partnership between the city and L.A.-based Kilburn Media, will invest in qualifying pre-sold projects that will shoot in and around Edmonton.

A new $10 million Edmonton investment fund is looking to finance local and foreign filmmakers with pre-sold projects that shoot in the Alberta capital.

The Edmonton Filmed Entertainment Fund, a partnership between the city of Edmonton via the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and L.A.-based Kilburn Media, is structured as an equity investment fund for pre-sold film projects.

“Pre-sold is perhaps the most important criteria,” Edmonton film commissioner Brad Stromberg tells Playback Daily.

“It’s not looking to be a development fund where we’ll give somebody a grant and hope their project goes well,” he explains.

Stromberg adds that Edmonton is looking to make a profit on its investment by targeting projects that already have a deal in place.

While the initial fund is $10 million – $5 million apiece from Edmonton and Kilburn Media – Stromberg says Kilburn may match funds attracted from other investors, with a a yet-to-be-determined cap.

Applications for the fund will be made to Kilburn, which will recommend projects to the city of Edmonton, which has veto on which receive recoupable loans.

Stromberg adds that the new fund will take a project-by-project approach to determine how the investment will be recouped, based on a project’s potential to make money.

Edmonton will funnel its share of profits back into the fund to sustain its future.

“The goal is to stimulate the industry in Edmonton,” says Stromberg. “To be able to create year-round work, to be able to have a scenario where there are ongoing projects, or one project after the other,” he says.

The number of projects that look to tap the new city fund, and the availability of local crews, will also impact on the decision-making process.

“We’re not concerned about content, we’re not concerned about genre, we’re not concerned about where the project originates – the key is it has to be shot in and around Edmonton,” he explains.

Kilburn will screen all submissions with a financial analysis, done by a four-person financial panel.

“The intention is not to take talented crews away from [current] indigenous projects, so that’s part of the reason we have a veto,” explains Stromberg. “We might like all the numbers, however, our crews [might be] fully occupied by local projects and it’s just not a good fit.”

Full details about the new fund’s criteria will be revealed in the coming weeks when Kilburn’s Mark Manuel visits Edmonton to explain the application process.

Edmonton City Council first voted on establishing the fund in August, and legal agreements were completed two weeks ago.

Stromberg adds that establishing the fund aims in part at getting Edmonton crews and other creative talent to return home.

The city also aims to create opportunities for emerging talent training in post-secondary institutions, and who may want to find work in Edmonton.

“[A long-term goal] is to spread the reputation of the city as a location for doing projects among decision-makers that may be in studios [worldwide],” Stromberg adds.

Photo: Edmonton / Brian (Hobolens) / flickr Creative Commons