Funder FAQ: NewMarket Capital

What is NewMarket Capital?
We are an independent film financing company.

When and why did NewMarket come into being?
The company was started several years ago by partners William Tyrer and Chris Ball. While the company started off cash-flowing pre-sales and working in more of a straight financing capacity, we’ve since evolved into actual film production and distribution.

The driving philosophy behind NewMarket capital is…?
Make strong films with break-out potential. Don’t pick projects for glamour or market reasons: pick them because they are the best projects possible.

Who are the (film development/production) staff of NewMarket?
Myself [Aaron Ryder], Linda Hawkins, and John Crye.

How many projects do you fund on average each year?
It changes from year to year—somewhere between six and 10 projects per year.

What is the estimated dollar amount per project?
We fully finance films as small as $2-$3 million or as large as $20 million, depending on the elements involved.

How many project submissions do you receive annually? What is the ratio of submitted to funded?
We normally receive up to 25-30 projects a week and, as I mentioned, we only make 6-10 per year. I’m not sure what that ratio is. (I went to film school—math’s not my strong subject.)

What types of projects do you seek?
We try to keep a diverse slate, so we don’t necessarily look at one specific genre or type of film. I would say, however, that all of our projects need to have a commercial sensibility.

What types of projects would NewMarket definitely not fund?
It’s difficult for us to fund smaller art films with limited commercial appeal unless the director is someone we feel will deliver an exceptional film, or if the project has higher-named cast attached.

What is your funding cycle? Are there hard deadlines or can producers approach you year round?
The door is open all year round.

How does a producer submit a project to you (i.e., cover letter and synopsis, etc.)?
If it’s from a producer that we’re unfamiliar with, then we like to see a synopsis of what the material is about.

Tell us a little about the review process.
When a script comes in, it’s often read first by our story editor, John Crye. If it’s something he responds to, everyone at NewMarket will then read it. If it’s something we all feel we should pursue, we then meet with those involved.

What are the financing decisions based upon? Who makes these decisions?
Not unlike any other business, we too make our decisions based on whether or not any given project is a sound investment. Ultimately, the decision to move forward and green-light a film is made by William Tyrer and Chris Ball.

Do you look at all projects firstly as possible investments and then offer loan financing to those which appeal to you but which you decide not to invest in?
While we used to be more involved with loan financing, it’s now rare for us to get involved at that level.

What are the distinguishing factors of projects you will invest in versus those you will finance?
Each project is different. A lot of it depends on who’s involved, how much the budget is, how strong the material is and the elements attached.

are the basic terms and conditions of financed projects?
This is a complicated question and not that interesting.

Are there time frame restrictions within which the funds must be used?
Yes, but it varies from project to project.

Do you offer your loan-funded filmmakers any additional support on their projects either in the production or distribution phases?
No, not really.

Do you fund projects only in development, or can producers approach you for finishing funds?
As I mentioned before, we are a very diverse company. We tend to like to see things in an earlier stage. However, we would consider finishing funds if we felt strongly about the project.

If they are rejected in the development phase, can they re-submit the same project in a later phase?
Of course. However, before simply re-submitting, I like to have a conversation about the changes made or the addition of cast.

How many projects have you funded since your inception? What has been the (distribution/exhibition) path of some of those projects?
I don’t know the specific number. But to give you a few examples: we fully financed Cruel Intentions, then it was picked up by Sony; The Skulls, which was then picked up by Universal; Dead Man, which was picked up by Miramax; and more recently, Memento, which we fully financed and will be the first film released from our new domestic distribution company.

What distinguishes NewMarket Capital from other financing companies or funders?
With us it’s a one-stop shop. We can make offers to talent, we can finance the film—and all without pre-sales or distribution in place.

What are two points of advice you have for producers on how best to approach financiers?
First, financiers want to invest in films; they often need to invest in films. But most will not take stupid risks. It’s the producer’s job to not only present the material but to work with the investors as a partner in making a logical investment which will not only result in a good film but will make them some money as well. Second, make sure the material is in the best possible shape it can be in.

More specifically, what advice do you have for producers in putting forth a strong application or proposal?
I have no idea. We don’t really look at applications or proposals. For us it’s more about the script.

What is the most common mistake producers make when they apply to you?
They forget to ask themselves, “Who’s going to want to see this film?”

What would people most be surprised to learn about NewMarket and/or its founders?
We have no idea what we’re doing . . . I’m joking of course. We have a vague idea . . . .

Other financing companies or grantmaking organizations you admire and why.
I’m not familiar enough with others to make that kind of assessment.

Famous last words:
There’s an old quote—I apologize, I’ve forgotten who said it—that goes: “This country has plenty of good five cent cigars; the problem is they all cost a quarter. What we need is a good five cent nickel.” We feel similarly about film: there are plenty of good independent films, but too often the budgets are too high for the risk.

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