By Joshua L. Weinstein
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Bobby Paunescu, a filmmaker and financier, and Jared Underwood, a former senior VP at Comerica Entertainment, have launched Solar Pictures, the two said Wednesday.
While Paunescu and Underwood are the principle investors, Edward Lawson Johnston, founder of London's LJ Group, also is a key investor in the company.
Solar Pictures plans to finance and produce four or five movies each year, from small independent pictures to mid-size action films with budgets up to $30 million.
Paunescu and Underwood will be the company's general partners. Television producer Kearie Peak and business affairs and acquisitions executive Christopher Taylor will be co-CEOs.
Paunescu is the founder of the production company Mandragora International Group, which specializes in art house movies. In 2010, he opened studios in Romania, in cooperation with the Italian film company Fandango.
Paunescu has four features now in post production. He also owns one of the largest conglomerates in Central and Eastern Europe, with interests in wind energy parks, insurance, transportation, hotels, agriculture, mining, real estate development and media.
Underwood is former senior VP and group manager at Comerica Entertainment, where he worked for 18 years.
While at Comerica, the company led, structured, or otherwise participated in credit facilities for Summit, The Weinstein Company, DreamWorks, Lionsgate, Relativity Media, Participant Media, Endgame Entertainment, Nu Image, Reliance Big Pictures, Skydance Productions, Exclusive Media, IM Global, Inferno, FilmNation, QED and others.
"This is a great time for my partner Jared Underwood, our two incredibly talented executives Kearie Peak and Chris Taylor and myself to launch Solar Pictures," Paunescu said in a statement.
"I've been preparing for this day for many years by first learning the business and then the craft with the films I produced, wrote or directed. Now it's time for the next step -- making great independent films with strong appeal to the U.S. and international markets."
(Editing by Chris Michaud)