Investment fund hopes to boost W.Va.'s film business
Charleston, W.Va. -- Two West Virginia film veterans are launching the state's first film investment fund.
Local producer Jeff Tinnell and veteran actor David Selby are focused on growing West Virginia's film industry with their equity-based management investment fund, Dream Factory LLC.
"You don't have to be in Los Angeles anymore," Tinnell said. "You can be anywhere and work."
The company hopes to take advantage of growing market demand for content worldwide. Tinnell will serve as Dream Factory's CEO. He is a co-founder of The Allegheny Image Factory, which produced several film and television projects in the state over the past five years.
"It comes down to opportunity," Tinnell said, "and West Virginia has a lot to offer."
West Virginia legislators enacted the Film Industry Investment Act in 2008 to entice production companies to work here.
"West Virginia has one of the more attractive programs available in the U.S.," Selby said.
The act provides up to 31 percent in transferable tax credits for qualified in-state spending, such as crew wages, lodging, leasing of vehicles and other direct costs generally accepted as entertainment industry practices.
Pam Haynes, director of the West Virginia Film Office, said she's excited about the fund's launch.
"It provides the state an advantage to have another level of infrastructure to recruit business into the state," Haynes said. "Being the first one, and with the names attached to it, it will go far."
Production companies looking for a film location first look at things like infrastructure and equipment rental options, Haynes said. She said she hopes the fund will bring a steady stream of work to build up a local workforce for the industry.
"The more that they can hire local," Haynes said, "the less expensive it is to shoot on location."
Dream Factory will be headquartered in Selby's hometown, Morgantown, where Allegheny Image Factory is located.
Selby is best known for roles in television's "Dark Shadows" and "Falcon Crest." More recently, he has appeared on stage and in films such as "The Social Network."
Tinnell said the management team will travel around the state for showings of Allegheny's "1863" and speak with potential investors about the fund sometime after Thanksgiving. The film series debuted on West Virginia's 150th birthday.
"Off the bat, we're looking to bring films into the state," Tinnell said.
The fund will have high standards for investors and film projects, Tinnell said. A film's genre, rating, content and the company's business practices will be considered.
"There's more to it [than presenting a great screenplay]," Tinnell said. "There's a business model that has to go into it, as well, to make it a viable production."
Selby said securities in Dream Factory would be sold only to accredited investors, as defined by the Securities Exchange Commission.
Reach Caitlin Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5113.