Magazine article Variety

Post House Pays Indies More Than Lip Service

Magazine article Variety

Post House Pays Indies More Than Lip Service

Article excerpt

London-based post-production house LipSync - which for the past four years has been boarding independent films as an equity producer - is ramping up its efforts to become one of the major players on the |>ost scene.

Since 2006. LipSync^sub 1^ headed by Peter Hampden and Noniiim Merry, has invested S9.2 million ($14.3 million) in 42 films, in which the company joins the production as an equity producer and, in exchange, gets work funneled through its post-production business.

It has two services - IjpSync Creative, which invests in films, and LipSync Post.

Recent pics boarded at the equity stage include Stephen Frears' "Lay the Favorite," Simon Curtis' "My Week With Marilyn." Lynne Ramsay's "We Need to Tidk About Kevin," Steve McQueen's "Shame," Terence Davies' "The Deep Blue Sea" and an upcoming adaptation of "Great Exudations," helmed by Mike Newell.

It's latest investment is Neil Jordan's vampire thriller "Byzantium" - LipSync will also complete the post work for the pic, which is a co-production between Stephen Woolley's Number 9 Films iuid Panillel Films.

"We put cold, hard cash into films at the ñnancial closing stage." says financial director Merry. "Other people may have different structures, but we physically put money in on day one, and then we get treated as a jiost house when production Ls shot and editing is done, and they come and buy services from ils. We don't inflate or aitøilst prices. Whatever we agree (to) in a post-production deal here Ls totally separate from what we agree (to) as a cash investment from financial closing."

For a company that started some 25 years ago making trailers and TV commercials (a part of the biz it is still involved in), its business certainly has come a long way.

Within a market where prices are falling and volume Ls increasing. the company Iuls seen its revenues by one third in the past 18 months, bringing in approximately $15.6 million over the |iast year.

"It takes a while to lose the moniker of lieing the new kid on the block." says Hampden. "I think we've certainly lost it now."

He says that the decision to invest in films came not just from a desire to generate business for their own company.

"We saw a gap in the market," Hampden adds. "And we wanted to help producers. Getting the money for any film deal can be difficult, esjiecially getting that last bit of money; that can be the trickiest part."

Merry and HaniiKlen own the biLsiness and, as a result, can react quickly to a producer in need of iui equity injection. …

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