Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dear Ralph...

Thank you for your reply which I posted here yesterday. I was happy to post it but find that many questions remain unanswered.

Here's a page from Magma European Scripting House Ltd/Magma Films own publicity material which gives some idea of the corporate complexity which creditors are trying to understand. See all of the different companies! [click to enlarge]

You see, there is no mention of Magma European Scripting House Ltd at all. And one might therefore be forgiven for thinking that Magma Films was the company group name and that the other companies were subsidiaries.

But, as you say, Magma Films is not a limited company, it is a trading name. But is it a trading name solely of Magma European Scripting House Ltd?

Of course this information (still on the Magma website today) is probably somewhat dated now. It was accurate in early 2008, which is around the time that Niko - Way to the Stars aka The Flight Before Christmas was completed.

Although the project originated in Finland I believe Magma Films/MESH Ltd had a significant co-production role on both the English language and German versions.

Am I right in thinking that Eglinton Street Productions Ltd was the Special Purpose Vehicle company through which the film utilised our Section 481 tax break? Its accounts shed some light on Irish spend and fees. [click to enlarge]

With fees like these I wouldn't have thought that the key people in the company would have had any difficulty buying shares in any Magma business. In any case, what would the shares be worth now?

You say Magma European Scripting House Ltd sold Ulysses Filmproduktion GmbH, Germany, "to the key people in 2008."

You don't say what the consideration was but perhaps you can advise me if it was greater than €50,000 and if the price took account of the value of Niko rights and merchandising in Germany which I presume were held by Ulysses Filmproduktion as German producers of the film?

Nor do you intimate that Ulysses Filmproduktion GmbH's managing director, possibly one of the "key people" to whom the company was sold, is related to you.

Ulysses, presumably, would be one of the co-producing companies to whom MESH's rights would revert were it to be wound up?

And perhaps it's worth observing too that Ulysses has a subsidiary office in Bremen which shares an address with Molten Rock Media GmbH, co-producers of the 'Jack Taylor' series.

That's the company actually founded two years ago, in 2009 according to its website, where you say you are "part time employed" although the company's website today says you are the CEO: http://moltenrock.eu/Credits.html Molten Rock Media GmbH, Feldstraße 58, 28203 Bremen, Germany. T +49 421 69 62 55 20 F +49 421 69 62 55 29 info@moltenrock.eu www.moltenrock.eu HRB 25760 Bremen USt-IdNr. DE 815104900 CEO Ralph Christians

It's possible that it is a part time position although a number of pictures like this on the internet may suggest it is a little more hands-on. [click to enlarge]
[filmecho/filmwoche 04/02/2011]

You have said that rights to the 'Jack Taylor' productions and other projects "were never in Mesh", even if they have been characterised as such by funding agencies such as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland or MEDIA?

I don't think there's any doubt that back in 2006 the rights holder in Niko - The Way to the Stars was MESH Ltd? Certainly Eurimages credits it as follows: Way to the Stars (The) Original title : Tie Tähtiin Directed by Michael Hegner& Kari Juusonen (DK & FI) Feature Film for children Awarded: €600 000 Coproducers: ANIMAKER OY (FI) ULYSSES GMBH FILM- UNDFERNSEHPRODUKTION (DE) A FILM (DK) MAGMA EUROPEAN SCRIPTINGHOUSE (IE).

It would appear, therefore, that MESH then owned the production in two ways - firstly as Irish co-producer, and secondly through its ownership of the German co-production subsidiary.

So, how were rights in story, characters etc assigned to Magma Productions Ltd (renamed Tidal films Ltd in April of this year) so that it could apply for funding and raise Section 481 finance for Niko 2? Especially when, as you say, "in animation the back catalogue and the spin-off and remake rights have a long shelf life."

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