‘McQueen’ Financier Creativity Capital Talks Expansion

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Welcome to Deadline’s International Disruptors, a feature where we highlight leading executives and companies outside the U.S. that are shaking up the offshore marketplace. Today we’re talking to UK film veterans Richard Condal and Patrick Fisher, founders of post-production house Creativity Media and film finance company Creativity Capital. The pair, who sold Creativity Media to Fulwell 73 in 2019, talk to us about everything from post-production to financing, the launch of their new London-based co-production outfit Big Safari, international sales strand Architect and investment in VFX house Koala . FX.

Surviving the British independent film world is no easy feat these days, but Richard Condal and Patrick Fisher are two artists who have been quietly thriving in the field for many years. The two veterans, who founded post-production outfit Creativity Media in 2010 before selling it to UK production house Fulwell 73 in 2019, are co-founders of London-based financier Creativity Capital, which has invested in titles such as the BAFTA winner. under the shadealexander mcqueen documentary mcqueen and horror 47 meters down,

Additionally, he has entered the international sales arena with UK organization Architect, which he launched ahead of Berlin last year, and most recently, into the VFX arena after taking a minority investment in UK company Koala FX in 2023. They have recently announced their entry into the UK co-production space with the launch of their latest outfit Big Safari.

“We’re all about long-term relationships and trying to find the right scenario for each film that comes to us so that the film can be the best it can be,” says Condal. “We think what we’ve created now is an ecosystem that can provide the independent creator with a variety of solutions, which we’ve worked really carefully to build.”

first steps

Condal and Fischer first met in 2007 during the production of 3000 miles, which Fisher, fresh out of film school, was producing. Condal, who had worked in the music business before shifting to freelance sound editor and mixer, and Fisher were immediately impressed and, seeing a gap in the market, decided to set up their own post-production company. Condal had been freelancing for several years and observed how other post facilities in London worked at the time and realized that “it wasn’t the equipment that made great post-production, it’s the people.”

“We wanted to bring in and hire great people,” he says. “That was a big driving force for both of us. The machinery and technology that was available at that time was very much in the hands of people and although it wasn’t like it is now where you could do it in your bedroom, it was something that we could bring in some money and do a lot of things. Could. Cheaper than this new technology.”

“We recognized the market was changing and we could start a post company that had lower overhead,” says Fisher. Pointing to Molinaire and Technicolor, he said they had at the time “spent millions on these film scanners and lasers.”

And thus Creative Media was born in 2010. Working between the now-defunct London members club The Hospital Club (which had post-production facilities for musicals) and Twickenham Studios, the company built a solid reputation in the post-production business, where it flourished. From working on projects in the $2M-$4M range to the $4M-$30M range. The company set up camp in East London (just north of the River Thames), avoiding Soho’s exorbitant rental rates.

As the business grew, he began to explore post-equity deals, which at the time were offering few post-production facilities, but Condal realized that these deals were “in essence, the service you provide. They devalue because growers don’t know what they’re paying because they don’t know what they’re getting. So, Patrick and I came up with the idea of ​​lending real money to growers.”

In 2013, venture capital company Schneider Investment Associates purchased shares in Creativity Media, which they used to build the facility, and also became shareholders in Creativity Capital, a financing company they launched in 2014.

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XYZ Films

“We saw that people needed cash flow and productions needed money and we saw that this could be a business,” says Fisher. “So, we started lending money to some of our customers for pre-sales or to pay for tax credits and so we got into gap financing that way.”

The business continued to grow, and Creativity Capital began to expand its horizons beyond clients who just did post-production with them and went private to establish itself as a lender in TV, film, and computer games. Started raising money from investors. “We cash flow, we put in gap financing, and we can even fully finance and partially finance on occasion – it really depends on the setup,” says Fisher. Notes that the company can deploy up to $20M to a project and looks at investments on a project-by-project basis.

“It was interesting because we were really at the beginning of setting up this ecosystem where, especially in film, we had these companies that were connected to each other and if they needed it we’d be there for a project. “Could provide many services.”

“We found that most people were quite happy to use our post-production services if they were financing with us, because ultimately post-production is the final input,” says Condal. We found that being really transparent and upfront with our partners and growers ultimately exploded our business. That was a lesson we really took home: being a partner in everything you do and making sure you’re always doing what’s best for the project.

Fisher says the business plan is to become “long-term partners” with the right production companies and executive points of view. 47 meters down And Cockneys Vs. dead body Producer T Shop Productions is a perfect example of that kind of relationship. Creativity Media did post-production on Tea Shop co-founder James Harris’s 2011 title scrived And now fully financing the thriller the bayou Also selling it through architects and co-producing it through Big Safari.

“It’s quite simple for us because it’s all about meaningful business,” says Fisher. “It is not just a matter of transaction for us. Of course, the numbers should have meaning but we are making movies here and we want to tell stories with the right people.

Fisher & Condal prides itself on taking calculated risks for its investors. “We’ve made 34 investments and we’ve only lost money on one,” Fisher continued: “That doesn’t mean we haven’t had some issues that other financiers or other producers have seen in their investments – we’ve had them. Were able to deal with it in a more efficient manner.

Between them, Condal and Fisher have worked on over 100 films and say this has allowed them to “come up with interesting ways of restructuring the finances” as well as find “creative solutions” to problems.

to become limitless

Fulwell 73, which was founded in 2005 by Ben Winston, Leo Pearlman, Ben Turner and Gabe Turner before actor and presenter James Corden joined as a fifth partner in 2017, was one of Creativity Media’s largest clients . In 2019, Fulwell acquired Creative Media to expand its post operations (the company already had an in-house post facility that primarily worked on television).

Fisher and Condal stayed on for three years to oversee the transformation of the business. “We knew the team would be in really good hands,” says Condal. He said that living and working with Fulwell taught him “a lot about the factual and entertainment side of television.”

During this integration process, Condal and Fischer would discuss next steps and, although they did not want to establish a competing post-production house, they were interested in co-producing the game. Director Simon West approached producer Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga to finance a limited Spanish TV series through Creativity Capital. series, dubbed Asim, an epic adventure story of the first circumnavigation of the world 500 years ago. The duo co-created the project and structured it as a Spanish-UK co-production, which then became Amazon Prime’s biggest Spanish-language TV series when it premiered on the streamer in the US, UK, Spain and Latin America in 2021. Was displayed. America.

Condal and Fisher worked with London-based organization Koala FX on editing, post-production and VFX. “What they managed to achieve on that show was amazing,” says Condal of the VFX house. “They were guys who took VFX shots and transformed them in two weeks and working with them was a fantastic learning experience. Was.”

Asim The experience ultimately dictated what the next steps would be for the company: adding an international sales strand (Architect), a UK-based co-production organization (Big Safari) and investment in a VFX business (Koala FX).

Before the integration process at Creative Media ends in 2022 and the keys are handed over to a new managing director (and former trainee), former Embankment sales executives Callum Gray and Max Pirkis approached the duo to help set up a new UK sales organization . These four worked together in Oscar Winner Fatheroscar nominee Wifeof netflix purple Heart And mcqueen (the latter of which was entirely financed by Creativity Capital).

“We had a great experience with them when they made the sale mcqueen,” Fischer says. “So, when they came to us and wanted investment to set up their shop we looked at it in detail and it immediately became clear that this was something we wanted to do.”

Architect launched in Berlin last year with the goal of becoming a major player in the independent film sector and this year it’s heading to EFM with the Grace Van Dien survival thriller. swallowed updirector pet Sematary Pair Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmire.

Last year, Fischer and Condal became minority shareholders in Dasha Sherman and Menelaos Pampoukidis’s Koala FX. “They’re a great, young and growing special effects company that can compete at a really high level and add a great element to our ecosystem,” says Fisher.

More recently, the company launched its own co-production outfit Big Safari, which already has three projects in the works: the Nick Frost and Aisling Bee thriller swelta, Rosalind Halstead and Poppy Delevigne Psychic Thriller Astrologer, and survival thriller the bayou, Big Safari’s strategy is to set up co-productions that help close finance to international producers, whether through access to soft money as they did in European co-productions swelta Or pursue a cost-effective co-production like they did with the UK-Philippines co-production the bayou, It will also look at helping European films access UK talent and locations.

“It’s about the merits of each individual company,” says Condal. “Each company is an explorer in its own boat and we’re in the boat with each of them, trying to do the best possible but that boat is theirs. is close, and we truly want the best for every single person. But ultimately they will have to follow their own direction.

“They always get to see the benefit of all these other sister relationships, but it has to be fair, it has to work for everyone and for the producers and the companies and that’s why we find, ultimately, the balance works well.” Does. If you fundamentally prioritize what is best for the project, you are probably also prioritizing what works best for each structure.

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