Monday, September 12, 2011

Ralph replies...

I had an email from Ralph Christians in response to my last post. I replied to him as follows -
Where a funding agency has officially noted 'Magma Films', or 'Magma European Scripting House', or 'Magma Productions' as the beneficiary of a decision then that is what I have written. This accounts for the information I have given for the BAI decision and MEDIA decisions in favour of the 'Jack Taylor' project(s).
I will add your statement that these were never MESH projects. If there is anything I have written that is inaccurate or requires a rebuttal from you then please advise me.
I think confusion has arisen because the name 'Magma Films' was the name in general usage for all your undertakings in Galway athough it may not have been the production vehicle for all of your output and, in any case, it is a business name rather than a limited company.
I appreciate what you are saying in respect of production and foreign investment over the years and, to be fair, a lot of that is from public sources of funding, including MEDIA, Film Institutes, Eurimages and public broadcasters. I also appreciate that you have been candid over the years about the viability of the production sector in Ireland.
I have written previously - without any reference to Magma - about what I believe is a fundamentally flawed business model in the industry (and not just in Ireland), in particular about how there is hardly any self-sustaining business after 18 years' State support.
I have looked into what value remains in the winding up of other companies in the business, companies with what might be termed 'back catalogues'. What I have learned is that it's one thing to have 'back catalogue' assets which are valued on the books for accounting purposes and it is quite another to find out, independently, what the rights might actually realise in the market. Almost inevitably the market price is a fraction of the accounting valuation.
Then there is the matter of charges, mortgages and debentures of one kind or another held by lending agencies, financiers and insitutions all of which have to be discharged either from earnings or by further borrowing. And any revenue that flows from rights is almost inevitably shared to greater or lesser extent with co-producers and/or co-financiers.
I would be happy to publish any response from you to these general issues, together with any clarification of the position with regard to MESH/Magma Films, its co-production partners and financiers, and the assets at the company's disposal.

To which Ralph has replied -
The situation is not so complicated.

Magma European Scripting House (MESH), with the CRO-registered trading name "Magma Films", had gathered rights (mostly on international animation series) and live action co-productions like "Foreign Exchange" for many years. All coproducers were from USA, the Nordic Countries, Benelux, France, UK and Germany and not corporately linked to MESH. Especially in animation the back catalogue and the spin-off and remake rights have a long shelf life.

Then we decided to make MESH the rights holding company and founded Magma Productions Ltd.

One of the resons was, that the MESH assets were valued by our auditors at 5 Million Euro, which gave a very high value to the company. But I wanted to introduce a social system where the key people in the company would own shares as well. This was only possible through a new company, otherwise they would have had to pay hard cash for paper value.

From then on all productions were developed and produced by Magma Productions.

Ulysses Northern Ireland is a Magma Productions subsidiary for producing in NI.

Ulysses Music Publishing Ltd is a subsidiary of MESH, because it had gathered music rights.

Ulysses Films Germany was founded by MESH eight years ago and sold to the key people in 2008.

Molten Rock Media GmbH in Germany was founded 3 years ago and is not linked to MESH or MP, I am part time employed there because of my experience in international coproductions. And every production Molten Rock has done so far brought benefit to Irish projects and employed Irish people even in Germany.

For every Section 481 operation in the last 16 years we had to found a Special Purpose Vehicle (according to Irish Revenue regulations) and we never ever had any difficulties with compliances.

Magma has contributed over 80 Million Euro to the economy in the West of Ireland, most of it market money from broadcasters and distributors, most of it foreign investment.

I wish that more companies would be so creative, pro-active and professional to get more projects done in the West on an international level with global exploitation potential. And put Ireland on the map.

Best regards


Anonymous said...

Who is the founder of Molten Rock Media GmbH in Germany? Who is the managing director/CEO or what have you? I suspect Ralph Christians is a little more than a part-time employee over there.

irish film portal said...

I'm coming to that... for the moment, from the Molten Rock website:
Molten Rock Media GmbH
Feldstraße 58
28203 Bremen
T +49 421 69 62 55 20
F +49 421 69 62 55 29
HRB 25760 Bremen
USt-IdNr. DE 815104900
CEO Ralph Christians
All rights reserved
© 2011

Anonymous said...

How can Mr Christians say that "Molten Rock is not linked to MESh or MP". The 2 companies are jointly registered at Mipcom for next week and co produce Jack Taylor series together. How can he say there is no connection?