“Mr. Id” producer Rutman launches “principal protected fund” to finance four to six picture slate

Yuri Rutman, producer of 2001’s “Mr. Id,” is back with a slate of four to six features in a $10 million offering that he says is guaranteed to at least break even.

Rutman modeled his “principal protected fund” after European and Asian hedge funds: the risk inherent in any film investment is offset by putting a portion of the fund in “self liquidating government securities, which pay out their entire investment after a certain time period,” he said.

He declined to publicly state details of the offering, insisting it’s a “proprietary formula” that he’ll privately share with qualified investors capable of meeting the minimum investment of $500,000 to $1 million.

“The key is to identify and partner up with one of these guys who are selling their companies for hundreds of millions of dollars and getting into the film business,” he said. “Guys like Fred Smith of FedEx and Norman Waitt of Gateway Computers, who financed ?My Big Fat Greek Wedding.'”

Rutman has just launched the offering, and plans to finance each production through his Noci Pictures, Inc. on budgets of $500,000 to $2 million from “a combination of private equity, bank debt, and foreign presales.”

First up is his own script, “Kiev Nites,” for a planned October or November shoot. “A Russian-themed ?Goodfellas,'” “Kiev Nites” is about a Ukrainian immigrant who, like Rutman, was a child violin prodigy, but unlike Rutman, fell in with the Russian mafia and became a hitman, and is now looking for a way out.

“I’m negotiating with one of the bigger talent agencies on the West Coast to package [the cast], and I’m in negotiations with a pretty big indie director” contingent on financing, Rutman said.

To follow “Kiev Nites,” Rutman is in the process of acquiring several horror scripts, including ones adapted from Japanese manga.

“I’d hope to pump everything out within a year and a half,” he said. “On some projects I’d be a hands-on producer, on others I’d hire other producers.”

A real estate broker, Rutman put himself on the film industry map when he raised the under-$1 million budget for “Mr. Id” through an online ad from a single main investor, a San Francisco venture capitalist whom he’d never met.

John Stecenko directed “Mr. Id” from Alexander Cicak’s script about a failed writer who moonlights as a hitman. Steve Parlavecchio and Ami Dolenz starred. Rutman was a co-star.

“Mr. Id” is out on DVD in 15 countries and Noci will self-release the DVD in the U.S. later this year.

Reach Rutman at filmhedge@aol.com.