Iconoclastic auteur Peter Greenaway’s first film since 2015 is scheduled to be unveiled later this year, and when it hits screens, the opening credits will feature a company that may not yet be familiar to festival-goers. But if all goes according to their plan, it will be very soon.
APX Capital Group’s film fund was launched in October of 2021, with headquarters in New York. Though the company was minted less than a year ago, APX has already been plenty busy setting up deals and partnerships, with the release of Greenaway’s “Walking to Paris” set to be the first of many. Earlier this year, they notched a deal with Mathew Knowles (father of Beyonce) and his Music World Entertainment Group to invest $275 million toward Italian film and TV co-productions. And just last month, the company announced a pact with Paula Linhares’ Cenya Productions to develop films for Latin America; centered in Brazil, APX’s Latin American division will invest $20 million a year for the next five years in co-productions from Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
APX is hardly the only big-pocketed new film financing player looking to make a splash in multiple territories, but as Noam Baram, APX’s co-CEO and head of North American operations, notes: “We have something very unique to offer.”
“On the one hand,” he explains, “we have our fund, in partnership with [Gruppo] Generali, which is the largest insurance company in Italy and probably in Europe. Of course, a lot of people have [a fund]. But we also have production facilities in Italy, and our facilities in Italy include the second-largest studio in Italy, with 12 stages, and also a post-production facility. Except for animation, we can film everything over there. So we are the investor on one hand, and the producer with all the facilities on the other. That combination is extremely strong.”
Indeed, those facilities represent a key element of APX’s business strategy: with Italian tax rebates offering up to 35% of production spend for shoots inside the country, APX can derive multiple benefits from setting up Italian co-productions at its own studio space.
Before APX, Baram spent most of his career in real estate development, with film production as his “hobby” – his first production, “I Am Woody,” won best short at the New York Independent Film and Video Festival. He handles North and South America for APX, while co-CEO Yona Wiesenthal (a veteran producer with credits including “Shtisel” and “The Gordin Cell”) focuses on Europe and Israel.
In addition to Greenaway’s “Walking to Paris,” APX has also set up a deal to produce Roland Joffe’s “L’Inverno,” a war epic with Klaus Maria Brandauer and Olivier Martinez tapped to star. Baram says the company is also in development on two comedy-dramas as well as a film about Federico Fellini. In addition, Baram says the company plans to soon announce a major project that he will only describe as “a remake of one of the top five Westerns of all time.”
Later this year, Baram says APX also plans to soft-launch a new film festival in October. Developed in partnership with Cathleen Trigg-Jones, founder of iWoman TV, the iWoman Film Festival will take place in New York, and exclusively program films which can boast a female director and a female producer. Baram says the top prize-winner will receive a million-dollar credit at APX’s Italian facilities to spend “as they see fit.”
“Even today, there aren’t enough women directors, and sometimes you have to be on the right side of history,” Baram explains. The plan is to start small this year, with 20 films from international female filmmakers, and “if that festival is a success, then what I want to do is launch again next year on a much bigger scale.”
Speaking of festivals, Baram says he had hoped to have Greenaway’s “Walking to Paris” ready to show off at Cannes, but the film – begun all the way back in 2014, then finished with APX’s participation – is on track to wrap up post-production right around the time the festival will be ongoing. Fortunately, there’s another option.
“This year, there’s a whole sculpture festival that will be happening in Venice around the film festival,” he says. “Which is perfect, because ‘Walking to Paris’ is about Constantin Brâncuși, who was a Romanian sculptor. So we’re planning to show it there out-of-competition.