Since inception, Blue Rider and founder/producer Walter Josten, have assisted in financing over 140 films with production budgets totaling over $1 billion. With expertise that encompasses the full spectrum of film finance, Blue Rider today focuses on arranging bridge financing, mezzanine financing, and tax credit monetization. Blue Rider emerged as a respected industry leader in short-term interim finance, often helping facilitate the closing of financing so the production and/or sales team can focus on the many tasks associated with pre-production, principal photography, post-production and distribution. Blue Rider will help arrange to bring cash to a production but can also help producers and others navigate the very complex process of arranging and completing motion picture financing.
One of Blue Rider’s strengths is recognizing the unique and complex nature of each borrower’s financial needs and resources. Eschewing rigid guidelines or parameters, we strive to be flexible when determining the viability of a project. Blue Rider views each transaction individually and as carefully as possible, knowing that the elements that lead to success are hard to generalize.
Bridge Financing is a loan made to a production prior to its primary production facility closing with a bank or another lender. Without a bridge loan and without cash flow, many independent producers risk losing actors and other key elements while waiting for their main bank loan to close. Bridge loans can help keep productions from falling apart. Blue Rider has been assisting producers to secure bridge financing since the early 1990s, having helped rescue many projects from financial disaster. When a production's bank loan closes, the production repays the bridge loan in full including the associated fees and costs.
Tax Incentives and Monetization
Tax incentives are financial benefits offered on a country or state basis to encourage local film production. These programs blossom and change frequently as governments offer increasingly competitive programs to attraction productions away from other locations. The structure, type, and size of incentives varies from place to place, and may include transferable tax credits, tax credit rebates, exemptions, grants, fee-free locations and other perks. Productions must meet specific criteria to qualify, which typically include budget amount, minimum spend, local labor utilization, and percentage of a film shot in the location. Most locations that offer incentives have a film commission to support producers in the process. Many incentives are, in essence, a rebate or a discount for monies spent, and do not provide operating capital. Blue Rider has developed expertise in helping producers maximize the amount of incentives available in a given location, and then arranging advances to monetize a high percentage of those incentives to cash flow production.
In the late 1990s, Blue Rider was one of the first filmmakers to capitalize on newly launched movie production tax incentives in Canada and the Isle of Man. Since then, Blue Rider has helped to produce films in virtually every region of the world where similar tax incentives now exist, and has become a respected expert on the subject.
Banks may loan filmmakers a percentage of the presales of a film, but often not 100% of the loan-to-value of presales. Mezzanine financing allows a producer to borrow against the remaining portion of sales not lent against by the bank or senior lender. Mezzanine debt is typically subordinate to bank loans, and senior to equity financiers. Blue Rider can help to arrange a mezzanine lender if needed, and welcomes the opportunity to review your needs and circumstances.