Canadian Digital Partnership completes financing

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The Canadian Digital Cinema Partnership (CDCP), a joint venture between Cineplex Entertainment and Empire Theatres, announced that it has completed its financing transactions for the deployment of digital projection systems to approximately 1,600 of the partners’ movie theatres across Canada. The financial support will enable Canada’s two largest motion picture exhibitors to complete the rollout of digital projectors into their circuits over the next 18 months.

The two circuits appointed Blackstone Advisory partners LP as their financial and structuring advisor for CDCP. Blackstone assisted CDCP with the evaluation and development of their financing plan and the Bank of Nova Scotia acted as the lead arranger for financing.

Digital Cinema Implementation Partners will provide administrative services and system support to CDCP in connection with its digital deployment in Canada. The digital systems deployed by CDCP will comply with technical and security specifications developed by Digital Cinema Initiatives. CDCP has also executed long-term deployment agreements with Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada, Paramount Pictures and Entertainment One.

Cineplex Chooses Christie, Doremi
Cineplex Entertainment selected Christie Digital Systems as the exclusive digital projector provider and Doremi Cinema as the exclusive provider of DCI-compliant digital-cinema playback servers and integrated media blocks for Cineplex theatres across Canada. As Cineplex continues its conversion to digital cinema, it will install more than 900 projectors and servers over the next 18 months, in addition to those already installed.

Alliance Acquires Maple Pictures
Lionsgate Entertainment announced that it will sell off Maple Pictures to rival Canadian distribution company Alliance Films for CA$38.5 million. Victor Loewy’s Alliance will not only acquire Maple and its film library. but will also take over Maple’s exclusive five-year output deal with Lionsgate for the Canadian distribution rights of the indie studio’s movie and TV product and the exploitation of Lionsgate’s filmed entertainment library in Canada.

Alliance has weathered many a storm in the last few years but has emerged as a bigger and more diversified industry player. It can now add Lionsgate to existing supply deals with Relativity Media, Focus Features, The Weinstein Company, CBS Films, Film Nation Entertainment, IM Global, Mandate, Wild Bunch and other distributors.

Maple’s founders and co-presidents, Brad Pelman and Laurie May, will be moving over to Alliance.

Manitoba Announces New Funding
The Manitoba Government is launching a new CA$30 million commercialization fund. While the program is not meant solely for entertainment-related companies, film, TV and new media can have access to the fund, which will aid commercialization of all new-media projects including product design, product engineering, rudimentary prototype development and early stage testing.

The money and program structure has been designed to help small businesses attend trade events as well as develop export-related marketing materials which will help market Canadian product abroad and cover legal fees associated with securing IP rights, etc.

The program was announced by Premier Greg Selinger with the goal of promoting entrepreneurism and commercialization opportunities in the province, as well as fostering innovation and attracting new foreign investment.

Alberta Boosts Local Production

Alberta unveiled another CA$2.8 million for its multimedia development fund to bankroll local production and keep pace with film tax credits and other financial incentives on offer to indie producers in rival Canadian provinces.

The province has reduced the production funds from three streams to two, with local producers getting up to 30% of all production expenses covered by one of the streams and co-producers from outside the province receiving 27% of the expenses rebated as part of the second co-production or service production fund.

The additional funding is coming at a time when production equipment suppliers were considering moves elsewhere due to lower levels of production and excess capacity in recent years.

E-mail Canadian news items to Adina Lebo at mptac.ca@ca.inter.net.