Completion funding for UK's first fully equity crowd-funded feature.
Important Information- A note from Seedrs
This further round of funding is being raised in order to ensure that there are enough funds to be able to distribute the film.
Ben Pickering who was the key commercial person behind the film was charged and sentenced last year as a result of his involvement in a mortgage scam. Seedrs undertook a thorough investigation at the time and found no evidence that there was any connection between Ben's criminal activities and this investment proposal. Seedrs went through all of the bank statements of the company and came to the conclusion that, in our opinion, there had been no misappropriation of funds raised pursuant to the two previous rounds of investment raised on Seedrs. We have been in contact with Ben throughout this process.
As a result Darren Ripley has been running the commercial side of the film since Ben's conviction.
A number of investors have expressed a desire to invest more into this film in order to get the project over the line. We at Seedrs are happy to accommodate this, provided that there has been full disclosure of the circumstances around Ben's conviction, as well as ensuring there are no other issues which could jeopardise the investor's investment.
One thing that has come to our attention is a County Court Judgment in the amount of £7382 outstanding against Curiosity Kills Limited. I have spoken to Darren about this and they have provided us with evidence that shows that this was in relation to a dispute over equipment hire, where Ben had offered a cheque for a sum of money in order to settle the dispute, on the condition that if cashed, would be deemed to be acceptance of this full and final settlement. The cheque was cashed.
Darren has informed us that he has applied for the County Court Judgment to be removed, and I have decided that we will proceed with this fundraising campaign, provided that it will be a condition to closing that this CCJ is actually removed from the register.
Please do not hesitate to let me or Darren know if you have any questions.
Chief Investment Officer
We are a SEIS-compliant Special Purpose Vehicle set up to produce the psychological thriller ‘Welcome to Curiosity’ (formerly called 'Curiosity Kills').
The feature stars Cristian Solimeno ('Rush'), Amrita Acharia ('Game of Thrones'), Richard Blackwood ('Anuvahood') Stephan Marcus (Lock stock) and Kacey Barnfield ('The InBetweeners') alongside an ensemble of emerging British acting talent.
In June 2014, we successfully raised over £50,000 through a Seedrs first round. These monies - combined with outside SEIS investment - funded 27 days of filming wrapping on 1st August, completing 65% of the film. A second round of funding enabled us to finish shooting the movie.
We are returning to Seedrs to seek a further £30,000 to fully finance the remaining post-production costs.
We are specialists in making very high quality, commercially viable films for less than our contemporaries.
With our last feature ‘Two Days in the Smoke’ (due for release in the UK in November 2014, starring 'EastEnders' Matt di'Angelo, 'Battlestar Galactica's Lili Bordan, 'Lock Stock's Stephen Marcus and 'Snatch's Alan Ford) we delivered a slick crime thriller, featuring a known cast, set across two countries with a soundtrack including Grammy-nominated artists.
We feel that it punches well above its weight in terms of its modest budget, and we have channelled that experience into making ‘Welcome to Curiosity’ even more ambitious.
With an ensemble cast of British and international actors that we feel are on a par or greater than ‘Two Days in the Smoke’, we are certain that we have a commercial winner in ‘Welcome to Curiosity’.
We have taken advantage of the UK Government’s Film Tax Credit - which rebates 20-25% of a film's production costs - using those funds to finance production costs to date, reducing our need for investment and avoiding the need to bring in expensive third party funding deals that are widely used in the film industry.
By using solely private investment, Curiosity Kills Limited will also retain the IP in the film, only licensing the rights to distributors and sharing in any profits made by them - increasing not only our control but also widening our opportunities for generating revenue compared with other films.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We have in place within our team a wealth of experience in development, production and sales, all key aspects to delivering a great, commercially viable film.
We also have Tom Kelly, former Sales and Marketing Director at 20th Century Fox UK, as a co-producer. Through this and other roles Tom has been involved in the selling and marketing of many, many features in his career and he is playing a pivotal role in maximising sales revenue.
First income would be anticipated within 12 months of close of offer with the remainder paid to the company over the following 3-4 years. We would look for initial sales via Tom and/or other UK and international sales agents. There would also be profit sharing with distributors thereafter.
Initial sales income is made up of "minimum guarantee" payments by distributors to secure rights for a set number of years (usually 15-20) for specific territories and media platforms including:
• Cinema: box office receipts
• DVD/Blu-ray: royalties from DVD/Blu-ray rentals/sales
• TV: revenue from license fees paid by terrestrial, satellite and cable broadcasters
• Video-on-Demand: royalties from viewings on Netflix/downloads on iTunes
• Airlines: license fees paid for in-flight presentations.
The “minimum guarantee” payment is effectively an advance against future sales income. Distributors would then pay all distribution costs, from producing prints of the film to marketing and advertising. These expenses are commonly referred to as “P&A”.
Distributors would incur similar costs for a DVD/Blu-ray release of the film (including manufacturing and shipping costs). These costs, along with P&A and a pre-agreed distributors’ share of sales revenue, would need to be recouped before any further profits are split between distributors and the production company.
To maximise sales income and minimise risk, we would seek to license distribution rights on a territory-by-territory basis rather than seeking a blanket worldwide distribution deal.
Use of proceeds
This £30,000 will be used to fully finance the remaining post-production costs.
Through its casting and popular genre, 'Welcome to Curiosity' is being produced for the widest potential cinema and DVD audience.
With an expected 15 film classification, we believe the primary audience will be 25-34 year-olds with a male skew (this demographic representing 19% of UK cinema-goers in 2012) but coupled with our casting and music link-ups, we believe the audience could be far wider with trickle-down into the 15-24 age bracket (25% of cinema-goers in 2012). At DVD/Blu-ray release we would expect to expand into the 35-44 age bracket also.
To get to that audience we will need suitable distribution partners. So they are our initial target market, identifying distribution partners for the UK and Republic of Ireland, Australia/New Zealand and also North America (USA and Canada). With the casting of Russia's Sofya Skya and other international artistes there could also be latitude in Eastern European and Asian territories.
There is often a balance to be struck between the size of any minimum guarantee payment and the investment by a distributor in the widest release of the film. Our focus would be on achieving the best long-term prospects for distribution income rather than on a one-off cash injection followed by minimal further sales income. By agreeing a smaller minimum guarantee in exchange for greater investment in marketing and P&A by distributors, we may increase impact potential and also be able to negotiate a greater share of the profits from distribution, improving income prospects in the long run.
Often on lower budget and independent films, filmmakers are wholly focused on the production side and selling the film is almost an afterthought.
For us it is integral to our business - filmmaking is after all a business and recouping investor monies is at the forefront of our minds at all times. This is one of the reasons we have attached a co-producer whose expertise is buying and selling early stage films.
Characteristics of target market
In 2012, UK cinema admissions exceeded 172.5 million, the third highest figure since 2001. Cinema-going proved its resilience with cinema overtaking DVD in its share of the UK's filmed entertainment market for the first time, with box office receipts nudging a record £1.1 billion in 2012.
According to the BFI, the UK is the third largest film market in the world, generating revenues in excess of £4 billion in 2012 alone.
Internationally the filmed entertainment industry was worth a staggering $88.6 billion in 2012.
While DVD/Blu-ray sales have naturally declined as saturation is reached on older films, the newly-revitalised HMV chain in the UK plays a crucial role in acting as an outlet for lower-budget fare. Also the genuine rise in Video-on-Demand services such as Sky Box Office and more impressively Netflix will act to diversify income streams for films such as ‘Welcome to Curiosity’ as well as reduce the attraction of pirated copies of films.
We are planning a targeted, intelligently-budgeted marketing and PR campaign aimed to demonstrate an audience for the film to distributors through Facebook and Twitter presences as well as Behind the Scenes footage, Director's Diaries and potentially "virals" on YouTube.
In anticipation of marketing for any release of the film, we have also specifically included minimum marketing duties within the contracts of our cast, with a view to placing higher profile cast members on television and radio programmes as well as in magazines.
On 'Two Days in the Smoke' we have been able to exploit the profile of several of our more active cast members, including EastEnders' Matt di'Angelo, Hollyoaks' Anna Passey and Irish girlband B*Witched's Lindsay Armaou. Lindsay played a supporting character in the film but went on to feature on ITV's 'Big Reunion' series (which ran clips of her scenes in the film) along with chat show appearances and press articles where she promoted the film, increasing its social media profile significantly. We would expect to emulate and improve upon this with 'Welcome to Curiosity'.
We don't believe that we have competitors as such, in that every film has its own market and every filmmaker cultivates their own following. We have contemporaries each trying to carve out their own niche.
However we do believe that our offering is almost unique in that we aim to deliver high quality entertainment that looks and feels like it cost a lot more to make than it did. Too often some filmmakers can appear to be knocking out second-best films destined to go straight-to-video. We strongly feel that this is filmmaking for the sake of it, lacking in ambition and creativity and that there is a market niche for innovative, commercial filmmakers like ourselves with truly entertaining stories to tell and the ability to deliver those stories.