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Sun, 09 Aug 2020 03:40:30 -0500
2018-03-16 Print

Independent Films May Be Financed By Foreign Investors

The Foreign Investor film financing strategy applies to independent films with significantly lesser budgets than major Hollywood releases.


Independent Film Production has a little known source of financing available, foreign investors through US investor visas.

In his Forbes column, Andy Semotiuk, international expert on immigration law recently elaborated on this “cutting edge strategy” which may convert an IP asset (e.g. a script) into a business that qualifies the Investor for a US Visa (with similar benefits to a Green Card without the expensive tax ramifications).

Please see:
1. Film Makers Look To Foreign Investors To Fund Independent Film
2. How U.S. Film Makers Can Make More Movies and Earn Way More Money

An investment in a “Hollywood” script may qualify the Investor for one of two special visas, either an E-2 or L-1 visa (both of which offer the Investor a chance to live and work in America with their family, too).

The Foreign Investor film financing strategy applies to independent films with significantly lesser budgets than major Hollywood releases.

The Investor may negotiate for a percentage of film revenues, a Production Credit (e.g. Executive Producer) and a Foreign Sub-Distribution License to retain rights of film distribution in their country of origin (or choice) and/or other designated global territories.

Foreign Investors who seek US immigration may obtain a US Investor Visa (either an E-2 or L-1 visa from the USCIS) by investing in a US film production/distribution company.

Under the plan, the E-2/L-1 Visa may require less than 1/3 the cost of a popular US visa (i.e. the EB-5 visa).

The EB-5 visa capital required (with the 10 jobs requirement) may result in a total cost to the Investor in excess of $2m (for contribution, professional fees and annual overhead). The Investor commitment for an independent film production may be $750,000 (or less) as stated in the recent Forbes article.
The Investor must make the investment first and then apply for the US visa (which is required prior to the E-2 or L-1 Visa Application submission to the USCIS).

The recent (since 2014) demand for the EB-5 visas may be dwindling based on recent developments. Chinese Investors who make up the bulk of EB-5 visa applicants now face a 10-year processing time (since 2014 they have taken 85%+ of the 10,000 annual EB-5 visas).

The E-2 and L-1 US Investor visas may be significantly less expensive and issued in well under one year from date of Application Processing (both of which are key issues for Foreign Investors).

It is anticipated that a higher EB-5 investment may be required (up to $1.325m from current $1m) when the EB-5 visa program expires (currently as of 3/23/18).

The transformation of IP (Intellectual Property) as a viable investment to support a US Investor visa makes a film script or other IP a “Ticket to America”.

A script investment to support E-2 or L-1 US visas is a “new financing source for independent films”. Historically, the recommended investment has been in a Tangible Property/Brick and Mortar business not in IP (film script).

For those foreign investors who want to come to America and participate in the global film business an E-2/L-1 visa IP investment may be their least expensive, fastest track and their best choice.

Contact Info
The Wolfe Law Group
6303 Wilshire Blvd #201
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Phone: 323-782-9139