Television

UTV plans to launch US $25 million film fund in 2003

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MUMBAI: With Indian filmdom, gradually getting a modicum of corporatisation, the coming year is going to see a gaggle of film funds to take it further up the professional path and bring clean money into it. 

Multimedia firm UTV is aiming to be the front runner in film funds. It is planning the launch of a film fund in early 2003. The fund is in its final planning stages.

UTV Group CEO and Ronnie Screwvala claimed that the fund will have a targeted corpus of US$ 25 million. Initially, US$ 5 Million will be raised by the first quarter of 2003.

UTV officials claim that the fund is directed at those individuals and entities, who are looking at investing in the motion picture space in India. These prospective investors include high net worth individuals, in India and globally; VCC and private equity funds; overseas filmfunds and banking institutions and corporates making forays into the industry.

The fund will allow prospective investors, who are looking for transparency and a relatively de-risked model plus, to hedge their interests amongst multiple projects. The existing funds invite people to invest in a specific movie, rather than on a 'project to project' basis.

UTV officials also claim the fund will be the first fund of its kind because of its carefully designed structure; not as a private company attracting equity investment. It will also be registered with the relevant security and exchange bodies.

UTV, which began as a TV commercial and corporate film producer, has been building its core competencies in motion picture production over the past three to four years.

It has distributed close to 14 movies, and co-produced one movie in the past two and a half years. 11 of the 14 have been hits. These include titles like Lagaan, Sarfarosh, Mission Kashmir, Hera Pheri and many others.

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