Veteran Financiers to Build a New Hollywood Studio

Neil Grossman and Howard Silverman have formed a holding company that already controls an animation studio and a multi-faceted film company

Wall Street veterans Neil Grossman and Howard Silverman have formed a holding company, Toast & Jam Holdings, that aims to build a full-service film studio through a range of subsidiaries.

The two financiers have made a significant investment — at least seven figures, but no further detail was given — and Toast & Jam now controls animation company Cosmic Toast Studios, film finance, acquisition, production and distribution company Cinipix and rental production company Cinirents. Toast & Jam is also in talks to acquire a digital distribution company and a creative marketing company.

“The idea is for us to create a full-service animation and film studio,” Grossman (left), whose wife, Mindy, runs the Home Shopping Network, told TheWrap. “We have 3½ pieces already and each individual component is focused on an appropriate skill set; animation is that, distribution is that, and we have the ability to provide equipment other people can use. You don’t usually come across an institution that had these components readymade and in place.”

Industry veterans Todd Slater and Deb Pierson are co-CEOs, as Slater will run Cinipix and Pierson Cosmic Toast. Cinipix already has several films in the works, and its first film, “Raze,” starring Zoe Bell and Rachel Nichols, comes out this year and has been submitted to film festivals. The goal is for Cinipix to both develop projects in house and acquire films for distribution. In some cases, it will turn to major studios for distribution.

“This is for any production company looking to change the thought pattern behind how Hollywood studios have been producing and distributing product,” Slater (right) told TheWrap. “We are overwhelmed to have Neil, Howard and Mitchell [Silverman] get involved with us. It gives us an opportunity to reach into other companies and build this vertically integrated company to change the space.”

Slater, who used to run distribution and marketing for Philip Anschutz’s Anschutz Film Group, co-founded Slater Brothers Entertainment, an entertainment-financing and consulting company. He first learned of Cinipix and Cosmic Toast through Pierson, who was the vice president of sales and marketing for the digital kids’ entertainment network Kabillion.

Cosmic Toast’s work for Cartoon Network and Disney had impressed Pierson, and she introduced its principals to Slater because the company wanted to break into feature films. Cosmic Toast then partnered with Cinipix, which at the time was more focused on making commercials for large national companies and post-production work.

Along came Grossman and Silverman (left), whose investment enables Cosmic Toast to expand. It will make animated videos, films and TV series, such as its award-winning show "Hey Wordy!" It also has a multi-channel deal with Maker Studios whereby its videos appear on a series of Maker’s YouTube channels. They are talking about a deal that would result in Cosmic Toast having its own YouTube channel that Maker will distribute and sell ads against.

 “This is a small, nascent business with enormous possibilities,” Grossman said. “It’s high-risk high-return. We’ve given them capital, which we think is sufficient to keep them going and get a lot of business in the pipeline. As we grow, the desire and expectation is we can do an awful lot.”