VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 29, 2012) - Setting a new course with a focus on growing its television operations, Thunderbird Films, which owns a 50 percent stake in the Blade Runner film franchise, announced today Canadian businessman Frank Giustra has made a significant investment in the company to become one of its major shareholders. In the coming months, Thunderbird will unveil a new name that will better reflect its various operations as the company moves to diversify and expand its television business activities.
The announcement was confirmed today by Thunderbird co-founders Tim Gamble and Michael Shepard.
While Thunderbird will be an active partner in the new Blade Runner feature film, the company will utilize the additional funds to primarily focus on building its television operations. The expansion includes an accelerated plan to produce entertainment projects with multinational co-production partners, the management and exploitation of intellectual property rights as in the case of Blade Runner, and overseeing third party distribution activities.
Giustra has had a long and distinguished career with numerous business success stories in the mining and entertainment industries. In the 1990s, Giustra was President and later Chairman and CEO of Yorkton Securities, where he created a leading investment banking boutique focused on the international resource and information technology sectors. In 1997, he founded Lionsgate, a leading diversified global entertainment company, and served as its Chairman from 1997-2003. He returned to Lionsgate's Board of Directors in 2010. Today, Giustra is President and CEO of Fiore Financial Corporation, an exclusive advisor to Endeavour Mining Corporation. Giustra also serves as Chairman and President of Fiore Capital Corporation, a private financial advisory firm managing a broad portfolio of private equity investments across North America.
"As we look to expand our business and step up production, Frank's support ensures that we can maintain our independence and parlay incredible opportunities," said Gamble.
"Thunderbird is delivering quality television entertainment, on multiple platforms, that is on par with U.S. studios," added Shepard. "We pride ourselves on being a creative driven organization. Supporting our writers, actors, directors and all our creative talent is our number one priority."
In addition to increasing its television production opportunities, Thunderbird will also look to provide distribution advances in its non-traditional approach to rights management.
"By providing producers with advances, we're able to guide them into finance and production opportunities and continue to be flexible with distribution agreements, all of which opens the door to greater possibilities," said Shepard.
"I am pleased to make this investment in Thunderbird and admire the success Tim, Michael and their team have achieved with the company during the past eight years," said Giustra. "Thunderbird will now have access to sufficient capital to focus on becoming a prominent entity in the production and distribution of television programming with a special emphasis on rights management. I look forward to moving the company to its next level of success, leveraging its independence to capitalize on global opportunities."
Vancouver, BC based Thunderbird collaborates with talented producers, maximizing the financial and creative benefits of Canadian co-production to assist in the financing, production and distribution of all genres of programming for the world market. The company is committed to delivering premium finished product that has broad appeal for broadcasters and their audiences worldwide. The company also exploits its own and others intellectual property rights and oversees third-party distribution of its own and others content. Today, Thunderbird has a catalog comprised of over 400 hours of Canadian and US television content and its programming airs on major broadcast, cable, online and wireless networks around the globe.