By Andreas Wiseman
EXCLUSIVE: Singapore-based Indian financier Vistas Media Capital has launched a North American division to be run by film industry vet Ben Waisbren.
The division will look to originate and underwrite investments in entertainment and IP under the stewardship of North America President Waisbren who has been an executive producer on dozens of studio movies including Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Emoji Movie, 300, The Equalizer, and 22 Jump Street.
Waisbren’s expertise is in managing and structuring investments in studio co-financing partnerships, indie production and distribution deals and media private equity. He was a long-time member of the board of directors at Wild Bunch.
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The former Winston & Strawn lawyer was previously on the board of Vistas Media Acquisition Company, which is a Nasdaq-listed SPAC that recently reverse merged (de-SPAC) with the leading music streaming platform in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, Anghami, resulting in the first Arab tech company to be listed on Nasdaq.
Vistas will be on the lookout for foreign-language IP that can be turned into English language content and vice versa.
Vistas Media Capital, run by Indian exec Abhayanand Singh, has previously provided risk capital for content development and production in the U.S. Vistas’ feature film division, Golden Ratio Films, recently partnered with Appian Way (The Revenant) to co-finance and co-produce Pep, a feature biopic about legendary boxer Willie Pep. The entity earlier invested in the road horror film Son starring Andi Matichak and Emile Hirsch.
The company has largely worked in production, distribution, and film finance in India where the company’s Golden Ratio Films has produced and released a dozen Indian films across formats and languages over the last four years. Multiple releases are planned for 2022.
In Singapore, Vistas produces and hosts an annual nine-day film festival that showcases films from South Asia (Singapore South Asian International Film Festival), along with a film market (South Asian Film Market). Vistas Media has plans to launch the first edition of Media and Technology Convergence Festival in UAE in November 2022.
CEO Singh, whose background is in banking and finance, said today: “We are delighted to launch our North America expansion initiative with Ben, an industry veteran and pioneer in specialty finance for screened entertainment production and distribution. With our growing presence in India and now in Abu Dhabi, we want to leverage the North America presence to build a seamless content development, investment, and production corridor amongst these locations to create world class content for global audiences.”
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Added Waisbren: “Having developed a close working relationship with the Vistas Media team over the past two years, I am thrilled to be honored with the responsibility to lead Vistas Media’s expansion in North America, in addition to our work together in international markets to offer producers production financing solutions that are currently not available in significant territories like India and the MENA region. The dramatic changes in how screened entertainment is now distributed and consumed throughout the world creates opportunities for investments in content development and production that simply did not exist until recently.”
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