Filmmaking is art but it’s also big business. The spectrum of genres and size is greater than ever seen before and this requires a variety of the most skilled and informed professionals to support it. Canada’s Greyelle Finance Company, LLC has emerged in the film industry as one such entity. Founded by Lila Janakievski in 2014 as a subsidiary of an alternative investment manager, Greyelle takes the strategies that have proven successful in areas like renewable energy and tech and applied their approach to the entertainment market with great success.
Janakievski created Greyelle to provide independent producers with custom production financing options for film, television, and other media properties as well as to provide corporate advisory services to producers and production companies. Operating as an interface between independent producers, creative teams, and financial partners in the entertainment industry has allowed a number of varied productions to benefit from Greyelle’s expertise.
Lila has extensive experience in investment management in hedge funds, private equity and public market funds. As an executive in international management and corporate development where she led teams evaluating and investing in international opportunities, Lila Janakievski helped lead several international multi-million dollar private placements. Her extensive experience in investment management of hedge funds, private equity, and public market funds spans a variety of industries including entertainment, consumer products and retail, natural resources and agriculture and power and electricity. Janakievski experience with non-entertainment based companies like Lawrence Asset Management (for which she was in charge of assets in excess of $750M), Bridge Renewable Energy Technologies (which she led to a quintupled valuation increase), and numerous others more than vetted her for the challenges of raising funds in the film industry.
Following her work on several smaller productions in Canada, Lila recognized the beneficial possibilities of applying her knowledge and talent to larger feature productions. When producers worked with husband/wife duo Lisa Addario & Joe Syracuse (the lauded team behind critically acclaimed film Amateur Night) on a new film Dear Dictator, they approached Greyelle to help them make it happen. When you aspire to obtain marquee names, having skilled investment consultants on your team is essential. Greyelle formulated a plan which resulted in raising the capital to secure Michael Caine for the title role. An icon in the film community (in addition to sixty-three nominations, Caine has multiple Oscar wins as well as SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and the London Critics Circle Film Award-Actor of the Year), the actor’s inclusion into the cast (which also included award-winning actresses Katie Holmes and Odeya Rush) created excitement that led to more investors.
While a notable cast is highly important to both the creative and financial aspirations of a production, the work is much more involved than simply obtaining them. The expenses of an award-winning cast are only part of the financial composition of a film. The costs of a filming location can vary widely. Greyelle helped the producers of the recently released Dear Dictator assess and implement a strategy that utilized not Hollywood or Canada but rather…the southern US; Savannah to be exact. The benefits were great as the territory boasts the lucrative GA tax incentive plus an additional regional funding fee and access to highly skilled local crews. Films including the Oscar-winner Selma, Hunger Games: Catching Fire (worldwide Gross of $865MM), AMC juggernaut The Walking Dead (with 67 wins and 190 nominations including Primetime Emmy Awards & SAG Awards) have all made great use of what Georgia’s production infrastructure offers. Choosing Savannah as a filming location was key to positive returns for investors while also operating at the highest level of film production.
All creative arts require some amount of capital investment strategy. In an ever increasing global film market, companies like Greyelle empower the talented artists who create the films we all love to evolve from idea into dazzling spectacle. When enjoying that next movie, this is worth remembering.