TORONTO – Friday 7 September 2012. Cascade Pictures, a new film and television finance company based out of the UK is making its first formal move into the industry this week with plans to launch new development and production funds, two first-look deals and a presence at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Mark Fisher, former Chief Financial Officer of the Icon UK Group, set up the Cascade group of companies earlier this year, with Cora Palfrey, formerly the European Chief Financial Officer of the Exclusive Media Group, coming on board as Chief Operating Officer, and Daniel Campos Pavoncelli, from Fandango Portobello joining as Acquisitions and Development Executive.

Cascade’s first first-look deals are with producers Jessica Parker and Jessica Malik of Pari Passu Films and Tom Butterfield and Emily Man of Culmination Productions.

Cascade CEO Mark Fisher says, “Our collective experience demonstrates that there is great talent out there with exciting projects that have international potential, looking for the kind of financial and production expertise and support that Cascade can offer at every stage, from film and DVD distribution through to international sales, production and financing. We are at the early stages in sourcing projects and cementing relationships with independent producers but are ready to start financing projects as we are now in the final stages of preparing to open our film production and development funds.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Pari Passu Films and Culmination Productions. Both are young companies with exciting plans and projects, and crucially, the expertise and knowledge to make these a reality.”

The focus of Cascade’s business will be to financially package films. It will be raising gap and debt finance and supporting independent producers in securing soft money, using international tax credits, post-production deals and working closely with sales agents on bankable and discounted pre-sales. Cascade has its eye on supporting lower to mid-higher budget productions in its year one and from that point will also move into higher-end budgets.

However, a central strand of the Cascade vision and business plan is to source new and emerging talent, supporting them in bringing their ideas to the screen and finding new projects which the company will be able to fund. Cascade Media Development which will option, develop and package film and television projects is also opening a development fund in the form of a Seed EIS fund.

Cascade COO Cora Palfrey says, “Being able to provide crucial development funding to support emerging talent with their projects has been central to Cascade’s vision from the outset so we are delighted that we have secured government approval for our Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme to partner with emerging talent whose creativity, passion and ambition matches our own. “

Cascade’s Daniel Campos Pavoncelli adds, “Pari Passu’s unique partnership that encompasses Jessica Parker’s experience in development, production and finance coupled with Jessica Malik’s experience in international sales, marketing and distribution means they understand the global value of a film, and the budget required to deliver. They are developing and partnering on projects that appeal to the international market and that buyers are looking for, with clear marketing strategies and sensible production budgets, which is crucial and extremely attractive to us as investors.

“Culmination’s Tom Butterfield and Emily Man are developing a really diverse and commercially exciting range of projects which will also find traction in the international marketplace. In addition, they have created an enterprising company model with their experienced executive producers that uses their collective experience across production, distribution and servicing, generating the viability to build their business and develop their own projects.”

Collectively, the Cascade team offers extensive experience across UK and US film production and distribution with more than 25 years of experience across the team. During their respective tenures at Icon and Exclusive, Fisher and Palfrey were involved in closing the finance on numerous major films with budgets ranging from $5m to $40m.

Mark Fisher started his film industry career as financial controller for UK distributor, The Feature Film Company which released titles such as The Blackout, Dazed and Confused, Withnail and I, Quadrophenia and It’s a Wonderful Life. He later joined Icon Film Distribution taking responsibility for the financial aspects of releasing films including What Women Want, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto, Transporter 3, 30 Days of Night and Precious and also set up Icon’s DVD distribution arm, Icon Home Entertainment. Later, as Group Finance Controller, Fisher took on responsibility all the UK Icon businesses, encompassing the distribution, international sales, production and servicing companies, working with finance institutions and equity investors in the productions which the companies were involved in. Fisher left Icon after the finalisation of the sale of the Icon companies.

Cascade Chief Operating Officer Cora Palfrey is responsible for the day to day management of Cascade and works alongside Mark Fisher on the company’s financial matters as well as developing business relationships. Palfrey’s career also started in the independent sector as Financial Controller for the UK distributor, First Independent Films working on notable releases such as Dirty Dancing, Dumb & Dumber, Misery, City Slickers, GI Jane and The Lawnmower Man. In working for Hammer Films, she managed the due diligence process of the Hammer Film sale to Exclusive Media. With Exclusive she was involved in closing the finance of a number of UK and US productions including the UK’s biggest ever home-produced horror film The Woman in Black, The Ides of March, The Way Back and Let Me In.

Cascade’s Acquisitions and Development Executive Daniel Campos Pavoncelli, will be assessing projects brought to the company and their commercial prospects in the international marketplace. Having started his career at the Rome International Film Festival, Campos Pavoncelli moved to Exclusive Media working predominately with the sales and marketing team on films such as Let Me In, The Woman in Black and The Ides of March. Prior to joining Cascade he worked at Fandango Portobello, the sales arm of Domenico Procacci’s successful production company Fandango, in Rome, where he was involved in Nanni Moretti’s Habemus Papam and Matteo Garrone’s Reality.

Culmination Productions is a production and production services company based in London and Los Angeles which draws upon decades of production experience. Tom Butterfield moved from the American Pie franchise to the former UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund where he was involved as a production executive on independent hits including London to Brighton, Man on Wire, Red Road and The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Emily Man has been making films for 16 years; starting out on David Cronenberg’s Spider, she recently completed Jump, a romantic drama which won five awards at the British Independent Film Festival, including Best Film. Bringing additional expertise and experience to Culmination as advisors are Gavin James, previously Managing Director of Intermedia Film Equities and now also managing director of Film & TV House, and Clare Wise, formerly European Vice President International Production for Universal Pictures International and also running the film company North by NW6.

Culmination Productions is working with Cascade on a number of projects including Festival Calling, a romantic comedy; Vanishing Act, a teen thriller; Hustle, an action film with American Pie producer Craig Perry; and The Arbitrator, an action/thriller. Tom Butterfield of Culmination Productions says, “We are thrilled to have committed to a long-term relationship with Cascade Pictures. We feel that our current slate fits perfectly into their finance ethos and we hope to make a number of internationally appreciated films together.”

Pari Passu Films set up by producer Jessica Parker and former sales executive Jessica Malik has partnered with Steven Schneider’s Room 101 (Paranormal Activity franchise) and Face Films to executive produce the low budget genre film January which is currently in post-production. They also have a number of projects in development including FEST by Screen Star of Tomorrow Corin Hardy, currently being co-written with Skin’s scribes Geoff Bussetil and Daniel Lovett. Jessica Malik is an executive producer of Eran Riklis’ Zaytoun on behalf of Bedlam Productions which is premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentation). Jessica Parker has previously been involved as an associate producer or production executive on a number of successful independent British films including Stormbreaker, TT3D: Closer to the Edge, Oscar®-nominated Chico and Rita, Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles and J Blakeson’s The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Cascade Pictures will be at the Toronto International Film Festival from 6 to 13 September.