Taking natural history filmmaking to the next level


Three years after DEEP BLUE kicked off a global boom for nature movies, Argo Venture ́s capital markets subsidiary Argo Capital Solutions together with BBC Worldwide in 2005 structured and raised an equity debt financing with a total volume of € 50 m to create the most successful natural history documentary to date: Earth.

Since both sides were equally driven by their vision to bring documentaries to the big screen, BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media set up a 50/50-partnership in 2002. Earth was the second production of the agreed upon five-picture deal and was based on BBC’s natural history TV series Planet Earth.

With the TV series’ budget coming in at $ 32 m, Greenlight raised another $ 15 m for the feature documentary. A lot of superlatives can be attached to the project: with its unparalleled $ 47 m budget, the film was the most expensive production in the history of documentary filmmaking at the time. It also brought in more than $ 133 m at the box office, making ‘Earth’ the second-highest grossing nature documentary of all time.

Some 60 % of the footage for the extraordinary feature film were shot while making the BBC series, with the rest being original footage compiled over the course of five years spent surveying the whole planet.

Argo Capital’s key figures Stefan Beiten and Nikolaus Weil are also at the helm of Greenlight, which was responsible for the exclusive international distribution of Earth, in addition to the joint development, financing and production. Their operative outfit specializes on high-quality theatrical and television films and series and handles production and licensing. Argo Capital provides financial advisory and structured finance services across a broad range of industries with a special focus on the international film production sector.

Beiten and Weil’s seasoned team excels at raising, structuring and implementing bespoke fund vehicles for entrepreneurs worldwide.