Thursday, July 1, 2010

Three Muleteers

Variety's John Hopewell has a very interesting story detailing the current state of affairs with the Spain/UK/Ireland co-production La Mula, a project I have mentioned in previous posts here and elsewhere.

Hopewell's article is headed - Three of Europe's highest-ranking film executives -- U.K.'s John Woodward, Spain's Ignasi Guardans and Ireland's Simon Perry -- are battling to save "La Mula" (The Mule), co-written and helmed by Oscar-nommed director Michael Radford.

He has lots of interesting background on the production and the various parties' stance on the dispute. It cites the IFB's funding commitment to the project but does not say what the Section 481 tax contribution is going to be, nor does it mention the sizeable Eurimages contribution to the project.

The heads of the public film agencies in Ireland, Britain and Spain are all anxious that the issue be sorted out but Spanish producer Gheko Films is said to be moving ahead with the project despite the other co-producers' unwillingness to do so, and despite the IFB and the UKFC's refusal to release their promised funding to the production.

Because of this some UK and Irish costs incurred to date have not been paid and the negative is being held at a lab in London. According to the Variety article, Subotica has been granted $614,500 [€500,000] for post production from the Irish Film Board, which is also making $61,450 [€50,000] available for Radford to complete "Mule's" shoot.

The article also states, Dublin post-production facility Windmill Lane has been paid "some but not all" it's owed for f/x work, according to Subotica principal and IFB member, Tristan Orpen Lynch.

The article does not say if the project was put together under the European co-production convention but, whether it was or was not, the situation is likely to cast a long shadow over any potential co-productions with Spain.

No doubt this is a very regrettable situation, but even if there had been no difficulties between the co-producers one would be left with a question: why has substantial Irish public funding been committed to this project?

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