Despite its glamorous and historical tinged name, UFA, or Universal Filmmaker, is a very different outfit, directly plugged into Bertelsmann, a world’s largest film conglobes. For half a century, Bertelsmann has been synonymous with cinema, with its own titles such as Meet The Parents, Love Actually, and Schindler’s List. Now, at last, the company is releasing its first feature film, UFA: A Documentary. Here, Variety presents the official synopsis, along with the film’s limited release schedule…
The winner of over 50 international awards, UFA is directed by Thomas Berger (The Secret), starring Anne Hathaway, and featuring Gadgetsy / Ed Harris and reuniting cast members from Meet The Parents. Thomas Berger wrote and directed the film, which he produced alongside Megan Fox, Dan Aykroyd, and Jeff Daniels. Universal Pictures and Focus Features have acquired the rights to distribute in all markets worldwide, and UFA is co-owned by Comcast/ NBC Universal and Village Road Media. But what does it all mean? Well, the company plans to use its equity base to finance and produce movies that are geared towards children and families.
When UFA got started in 1985 by founders Bertha and Carl Strenger, it was an instant success with both producers and filmmakers. The Strengers envisioned a co-operative business model where film projects were financed by ticket revenues and through a membership fee from the studios. The idea was that investors would pool their money with the studio, and a proportion of that money (or their equity) would go into the production budget. Over the years, the studios only required half of the subscription fee, for the Strengers and the other investors.
Universal Pictures and the other studios didn’t initially require any kind of investment share equity. However, over time the studios’ revenue has declined, and they’ve had to increase the amount of equity they lend to UFA holders. This is because the membership fees have always been less than revenue.
Universal Pictures and the other studios need more revenue to make their films profitable. Therefore, UFA can be viewed as an equity stream; however not as an equity interest in a film. In order to receive the full distribution rights of UFA, the studios must sell at least fifty percent of their membership interest in UFA. As you can see, the distribution rights are secondary to the revenue share. As such, a studio cannot sell fifty percent of its membership interest in a film in order to receive distribution fees.
In addition, the distribution fees are typically much lower than the revenue share. Furthermore, a studio will only receive one-third of its usual share of the membership fee when making a film that is distributed by UFA under the terms of an agreement made with the UFA. When these and other factors are added together, it becomes clear that the concept of membership UFA and distribution fee UFA are not the same thing. Therefore, any reference to membership UFA or fee UFA in this article refers to an arrangement between the studio and the UFA, not between the studios and individual members.
Although there are numerous arguments over whether a company that is listed on the stock exchange or in the NYSE is actually conducting business in ufa, in most cases both are considered to be conducting business in ufa. Therefore, when using the terms interchangeably, it should be remembered that a ufa holding company is considered to be conducting business in both the ufa acronym countries when it is registered in each country. For example, although FDCPA only applies to Russia, most companies that are listed on the NYSE or the NASDAQ are also listed on the ufa stock exchanges. Therefore, the term “uta” refers to both a stock in Russia and a stock on the NYSE or NASDAQ.
The term patronage means that the ownership interest in a company is divided amongst the members of the company or a number of individuals. This ownership is based upon the performance of the company or the price per share or another form of dividend policy. The price per share or dividend policy may be stated publicly or otherwise provided at the terms and conditions of the arrangement of membership. Private Placements generally involve a low investment and a high commission for the syndicate members.