Reed Smith has been a market leader in film and television work for more than 25 years. Our global film and television team comprises more than 50 media and entertainment lawyers worldwide, including in Los Angeles, London, New York, Munich, Shanghai, Hong Kong and the UAE. The team advises clients on all aspects of project and asset financing, and production and distribution of films and television programs. We act for financiers, motion picture and television studios, production companies, distributors, sales agencies, broadcasters, television networks, cable networks, over-the-top platforms, talent and other content creators, owners and exploiters.
Reed Smith represents financiers and borrowers in financing transactions, ranging from independent micro-budget films to film and long-form television productions costing more than $100 million to produce.
We act for all kinds of financiers, and regularly advise a number of the most active banks, capital groups and public funding bodies in the film and television production finance arena. These include CIT Group, City National Bank, One West Bank, East West Bank, EP Financial Solutions, Bank of Ireland, Royal Bank of Scotland, Comerica Bank, HSBC, Barclays Bank, Natixis Coficiné, Grosvenor Park, Endgame Entertainment, Footprint Films, CinemaNX, Future Film, Prescience Film Finance, the Abu Dhabi Film Commission and the UK Film Council.
Although we act on all types of financing transactions, we are particularly well known for our work advising senior lenders on complex ‘gap’ finance facilities, lending against UK and United States tax credits for film and television production, and our ability to navigate the most complex international production and distribution financing structures (including those for single picture, slate and library financings).
Recent films and television series on which we have advised the financiers include “Snowden,” “John Wick,” “That Awkward Moment,” “Last Days on Mars,” the Netflix original series “Marco Polo,” “A Most Wanted Man”, “How I Live Now”, “Belle”, “Diana”, “The Numbers Station”, “Byzantium”, “Grand Piano”, “Odd Thomas”, “Dom Hemingway,” “Trespass Against Us,” "Blitz," "It's a Wonderful Afterlife," "Dolan's Cadillac," "An Education," "Conviction," "Glorious 39," "Cheri," "Ultramarines (Warhammer 40,000)," “Dead Man Down” and "Dead Man Running."
We have handled a huge volume of tax-based financings for many players in the industry, including lenders, arrangers, producers, broadcasters, guarantors and distributors of films.
Production and Distribution
Reed Smith’s clients include multiple Academy Award® winning filmmakers and the creators of some of the most successful and longest-running television series ever produced. Our film and television production and distribution team advises on all aspects of production and distribution work, from preparing and negotiating development, rights, talent, crew, and location agreements, to advising on the structuring of production/acquisition finance (including advice on tax-based incentives), and negotiating completion guarantees, inter-party agreements, sales agency agreements and distribution and licensing agreements across all platforms.
The team has worked with a number of leading film producers and production companies, including Mike Leigh at Thin Man Films ("Happy Go Lucky"); Gail Egan at Potboiler Productions ("The Constant Gardener," and "Effie"); Michael Kuhn ("The Duchess"); Kintop/Reliance (“Paranoia”); Sunrise Pictures (“The Trials of Kate McCall” and “There’ll Always Be Woodstock”); and Ecosse Films ("Becoming Jane" and "Brideshead Revisited").
We regularly work with film and television studios such as Lionsgate Entertainment, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp., Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures on projects including "Robin Hood," "Your Highness," "Get Him to the Greek," "Mamma Mia" and "The Bourne Ultimatum," and we represent film distributors such as Momentum Pictures, Celluloid Dreams Sales and Pathé.
Our television production and distribution clients include the BBC, Sony Television, Endemol, FremantleMedia, MTV, Nickelodeon, Gerry Anderson ("Thunderbirds") and the UK’s Channel 4.
Our distribution experience extends beyond theatrical exhibition and broadcasting into new media platforms, including the roll-out of digital cinema systems in multiple jurisdictions. The exploitation of format, merchandising and publishing rights is also familiar territory for us, and we are particularly experienced in dealing with music and other copyright collection societies.
Film and TV Disputes
We have extensive experience representing motion picture studios, production companies, distributors, broadcasters, television networks, cable networks and other content owners in accounting and profit participation claims; copyright infringement and idea submission actions; financing, production and distribution disputes; right of publicity and privacy violations; regulatory investigations; and other industry-related matters.
First and foremost, we serve as counsellors and advisors because we understand that our motion picture and television clients would prefer to avoid the uncertainty and expense of litigation if possible. When disputes cannot be avoided, we focus on providing efficient representation and strive to find ways to resolve rather than expand the conflict. When matters do go to trial or arbitration, our entertainment and media litigators are among the most skilled and experienced in the industry.