Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekend Trim Bin

Notice... Due to technical issues with Blogger this new post is not appearing on the opening page, although it is here... somewhere...


A number of questions linger in the wake of the corporate demise of the Light House cinema in the High Court yesterday:
1. What becomes of the State's €1.95m investment?
2. What happens IFCO's viewing facilities?
3. What of the developer/landlord's 'cultural use' planning obligation?
4. Who are the two competing cinema operators interested in the site?
5. Can any programming restrictions be placed on a new leaseholder of the cinema?
6. Can any small cinema pay €200,000 rent each year and be commercially viable?
7. Are circumstances so changed for 'art house' exhibition and distribution that the numbers no longer add up, especially in leased premises?
8 Does it make sense to divide the audience for 'niche' films between four or five different cinemas in Dublin City Centre?
9. Is the Smithfield location currently too forbidding for a predominantly night-time activity?

An anonymous commenter on my last post has contributed the following (lightly edited with my own comments [interposed]):
The "rent increase" line being spun on this now appears to have been a complete red herring, put out to cover up for the unviability of the undertaking from the outset. What is not being reported is that the Balance Sheet for the Light House Cinema at the end of June 2009 showed an accumulated deficit of €241,189, or almost a quarter of a million euro.
[Presumably a good portion of this relates to start-up costs in the first year of operation - IFP]
This loss was made on a *discounted* rent level for 2009 of €100,000 as part of the lease agreement, which it now appears was signed on a discounted rent basis (Zero rent payable in 2008, € 100,000 in 2009; € 200,000 in 2010; € 400,000 in 2011; € 500,000 in 2012 - information from So it appears the landlord was actually subsidising the rent.
[If this is true I have to say it does not seem commercially realistic at all - IFP]
The income from IFCO has been quoted at €120,000 per annum (same source). But even coupled with increased box office receipts, this would not appear to offset either the agreed rent increases or the accumulated deficit to a sufficient degree.
It has also been mentioned that there was no mention of the trading performance of the wider Smithfield Market area in the lease agreement - is this yet another red herring? (Source:

[This might just be hearsay - IFP]
The mystery remains as to why ongoing revenue support from the state - clearly essential from the outset in order to ensure viability - was not part of the deal.
There is now a pressing need for a full and thorough investigation into the "Cultural Cinema Consortium" - who are people behind it, and how have they been able to mobilise millions of euro of taxpayers' money apparently without any accountability? And further questions need answering - why did Cork's Kino Cinema have to close apparently simply by applying for a grant from this body? What about the Galway project? Is this another folly, another Light House debacle in the making?

[As I understand it the closure of the Kino in Cork arose from a number of issues, including the substantial cost entailed in trying to redevelop a site which offered no economies of scale. The Solas cinema project in Galway is different to the extent that there are no landlord or tenancy costs - IFP]


From the beginning of May the O'Gorman family will be taking a back seat at the Ormonde Stillorgan, a cinema with which they have had an association going back more than fifty years. They will now be concentrating on the Movies@ sites they established with the Spurling family.

It is remarkable the extent to which the Irish cinema trade is still a collection of family-run businesses, aside from occasional interlopers from across the water! The brothers Colm and Ciaran Butler will be taking over the running of the Stillorgan cinema.

The Butlers made their money from Leisureplex (and from the Quasar craze with Ossie Kilkenny and Paul McGuinness) and bought out UCI for some €90m several years back. The Tallaght UCI site was sold for redevelopment and there was talk of their developing new cinema sites in Belgard and Finglas.

Planning for a new cinema complex in Dundrum on former Airfield Estate lands that the Butlers jointly own with Bernard McNamara was knocked on the head last September.


The latest twist in the Magma Saga, following the cancellation on Tuesday, is that the much delayed / protracted Creditors Meeting will now take place 'later this month'.

There are rumours that the ODCE is taking an interest, and some suggestions too that the Revenue might be about to act. One can only assume that any and all professional advisors connected to this affair are anxious that matters now proceed without delay and according to the rulebooks for such things.

It seems extraordinary that the Light House can have been put out of business so quickly and easily over outstanding rent of €157,000 while part of the Magma group of companies owes considerably more, for a longer period, and yet creditors are no wiser now, officially, than they were months ago.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Light House goes dark

Following a successful winding up petition sought by landlord/developer John Flynn in the High Court in Dublin this morning the Light House Cinema has ceased trading with immediate effect.

I wrote about the situation previously here and here.

Mr Flynn claimed he was owed €157,000 in unpaid rent and that his tenant was unable to pay it. Mediation between the parties had failed to resolve the dispute which seems to have been forced by the landlord's obligations to NAMA and by the cinema's difficult trading circumstances in the incomplete regeneration of the Smithfield area.

A sad day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CISAC Dublin 2011

Here follows a release just in concerning the CISAC international directors and writers 'Authors Conference' taking place yesterday and today in Dublin.


As the world of traditional writing and film making collides with the modern age of gadgets, delegates from the film world descend on Dublin for a major international conference

Dublin, 14 April 2011 The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI) welcomed a large number of directors and writers from across the globe at a high-profile international conference in the Morrison Hotel, Dublin today. The conference has a particular focus on the issue of authors’ rights as many directors and writers are struggling to have their voices heard amidst the technological clatter and noise.

Irish director and Chairman of SDGI, Ciarán Donnelly, left work on his $20 million TV series “Titanic”, currently filming in Dublin, to welcome these important filmmakers from around the globe who have made some of the most memorable films of the last decade. The conference demonstrated to the international film community that despite a difficult Irish economic climate, and the increasing influence of technology, the Irish film, documentary television and animation sector in Ireland is thriving, and generating significant employment and revenue.

“There is much to celebrate with the amazing success of Irish film and TV recently. Last year was a particularly strong year for Irish film. We punch above our weight time and time again so it comes as no surprise for Irish directors to play such a central role in this international conference. SDGI is a powerful voice for directors in Ireland and now, as the hosts of such a prestigious and influential conference, we can make our presence felt even more strongly internationally,” said Birch Hamilton, Executive Director of SDGI.

She continued, “In the age of gadgets and technological novelty devices the voice and rights of Irish writers and directors are being swept under the carpet. We are here to show that we are a collective voice to be recognised. Nothing evokes passion and emotion like the written word. No gimmick or gizmo can ever be better then the words written by a writer or film made by a director. Smart phones and e-books come and go but the true passion is in the story itself. If content is at the heart of digital culture then it is true that writers and directors are its lifeblood.”

Minister Deenihan said “This conference provides an important platform for writers and directors from across some 35 countries to discuss important global issues relating to the rights of creative authors. It will be an opportunity to share experience and explore issues such as supports to artists, payments for writers and directors, the use of new technologies through to creating a supportive policy environment for artistic endeavour. The economic impact of the creative sector is significant and the arts and innovation are key to rebuilding Ireland’s global reputation and driving recovery.”

This event, the Authors Council of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) took place at the Morrison Hotel in Dublin on the 13th and 14th of April 2011. It is the first time the annual event has been held in Ireland.

Minister of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan, TD, was the keynote speaker and was joined by leading Irish directors such as Darragh O’Connell from Oscar nominated Brownbag Films, Lenny Abrahamson, Oscar nominated filmmaker Juanita Wilson, Shimmy Marcus, award winning Spanish director Imanol Uribe, and Ian Power.

Speaking about the event coming to Dublin, Michael Stubbs Assistant City Manager of Dublin City Council said “We warmly welcome this group of international authors to Dublin. Artists are a critical part of the cultural capital and the economic success of Dublin. Dublin City Council is working very closely with the film industry to support writers and directors making films in Dublin, generating employment and raising the profile of the city internationally."

The event commenced with an evening reception hosted by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Edie Wynne, in the Mansion House on Wednesday April 13th. This gave Irish directors the unique opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the most influential European film directors and writers alive today.

This historic and prestigious event focused on important common concerns for directors and writers such as how we watch films today, how to remunerate directors and writers for their work and the impact this has on the creative process. In light of new technology developments such as Apple Films, Blu-ray and 3D which are significant for the filmmaking community in all its variety, and ultimately for the public, the conference certainly provoked fascinating questions from the diverse audience.


Cannes must be the place...

Robert Smith, eat your heart out!

Cheyenne is a former rock star. At 50 he still dresses "Goth" and lives in Dublin off his royalties. The death of his father, with whom he wasn't on speaking terms, brings him back to New York. He discovers his father had an obsession: to seek revenge for a humiliation he had suffered. Cheyenne decides to pick up where his father left off, and starts a journey, at his own pace, across America.

It was a foregone conclusion but confirmation comes this morning of a Cannes Premiere for Paolo Sorrentino's This Must Be the Place which had a three week shoot in Dublin last year.

According to France's CNC Ireland contributed 10% to the €20m co-production, meaning - €500,000 from the Film Board and the balance, presumably, from Section 481.

The full Cannes 'Official Selection' -

Opening Film
Woody ALLEN MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Out of Competition) 1h40

Joseph CEDAR HEARAT SHULAYIM (Footnote) 1h45
Nuri Bilge CEYLAN BIR ZAMANLAR ANADOLU'DA (Once upon a time in Anatolia) 2h30
Jean-Pierre et Luc DARDENNE LE GAMIN AU VÉLO 1h27
Julia LEIGH SLEEPING BEAUTY - 1st film - 1h44
Takashi MIIKE ICHIMEI (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samuraï) 2h06
Markus SCHLEINZER MICHAEL - 1st film - 1h34

Un Certain Regard
Gus VAN SANT RESTLESS - Opening Film - 1h31
Cristián JIMÉNEZ BONSÁI (Bonsaï) 1h42
KIM Ki-duk ARIRANG 1h40
NA Hong-jin YELLOW SEA 2h20
Juliana ROJAS, Marco DUTRA TRABALHAR CANSA - 1st film - 1h40
Joachim TRIER OSLO, AUGUST 31ST 1h35

Out of Competition

Midnight Screenings
CHAN Peter Ho-Sun WU XIA 2h00
Everardo GOUT DIAS DE GRACIA - 1st film - 2h13

Special Screnings
Frederikke ASPÖCK LABRADOR - 1st film - 1h30

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Funding decisions - April 13

Irish Film Board loan decisions released today - some interesting and familiar titles and names in the list, including Neil Jordan (twice) and John Boorman.

Project Director Writer Production Company Funding Award Development
First Draft Loans
Commonwealth Tom Hall Christian O'Reilly & Tom Hall €16,000
A Crack In Everything Mary Kate O'Flanagan €12,000
Miles To Go Patrick Kenny €12,000

Fiction Development Loans
The Grass Arena Brock Norman Brock Screenworks Limited €12,500
The Last Snows Of Spring David Gleeson Jenny Roche Wide Eye Films €5,500
Shrooms 3D Jure Matjazic Brian O'Neill & Paul Bushe Treasure Entertainment €20,000
Life's A Breeze Lance Daly Lance Daly Fastnet Films €15,000
Dead As Doornails Lance Daly Lance Daly Fastnet Films €20,000
Easy Does It Marian Quinn Marian Quinn Janey Pictures €10,000
Secret Scripture Dearbhla Walsh Johnny Ferguson Ferndale Films €15,000
Love Eternal Brendan Muldowney Brendan Muldowney Fastnet Films €15,000
Skippy Dies Neil Jordan Neil Jordan Octagon Films €50,000
The End Of Sleep John Crowley Mark O'Rowe Parallel Film Productions €30,000
Break Point Nick Kelly Nick Kelly Zanita Productions €16,000

Fiction Feature Films
Bailout Roy Knyrim Denis Bartok & Tom Abrams Fantastic Films Provisional Offer Of Commitment
Sanctuary Norah McGettigan Norah McGettigan & Gabriel Vargas Vasquez Venom Limited €600,000
Broken Dream John Boorman John Boorman & Neil Jordan Merlin Films Provisional Offer Of Commitment
The Shadows Colin Downey Colin Downey EMU Productions €100,000
Grooskill Mark O'Connor Mark O'Connor Vico Films Provisional Offer Of Commitment

Fiction Creative Co-production
Call Girl Mikael Marcimain M. Von Hausswolff Von Baumgarten Newgrange Pictures €25,000
Sean Juliette Sales & Fabien Suarez Juliette Sales & Fabien Suarez Blinder Films Provisional Offer Of Commitment
Flowers Of Desire Simon Staho Peter Biro & Simon Staho Subotica Limited €360,000
The Moth Diaries Mary Harron Mary Harron Samson Films €25,000

The Wordles Owen Stickler Andrew Kavanagh Kavaleer Productions €150,000

A Stranger In A Strange Land Pamela Drynan Subotica Limited €100,000
Nightdancers Emille Dineen Still Films €85,000
The Cause Of Progress Chris Kelly Zanzibar Films Provisional Offer Of Commitment
Get The Picture Cathy Pearson Ferndale Films €15,000
The Last Hijack Femke Wolting & Tommy Pallota Femke Wolting & Tommy Pallota Still Films €280,000

Completion Fund
Hammer To Bell Christina Grangos Three Legged Dog Films €10,000

Print Provision
Snap Carmel Winters Carmel Winters Samson Films €6,450
Crossing Salween Brian O'Malley Brian O'Malley Rad Rage Films €3,942
Noreen Domhnall Gleeson Domhnall Gleeson El Zorrero Films €465
Pentecost Peter McDonald Peter McDonald EMU Productions €400
Switch Thomas Heffron Thomas Heffron Warrior Films €465
The Crush Michael Creagh Michael Creagh Purdy Pictures €665.50
Shoe Nick Kelly Nick Kelly Zanita Productions €735

Marketing Support
Snap Carmel Winters Carmel Winters Eclipse Distribution €9,780
The Runway Ian Power Ian Power Element Distribution €75,000

Direct Distribution
One Hundred Mornings Conor Horgan Conor Horgan Blinder Films €15,000

Closing the Shop?

On March 9 I emailed SIPTU's communications section as follows (italics below). I have not received a reply. I may be wrong but I'm getting the impression that there are some efforts being made to enforce the new technician's union and producers' agreement by, in effect, creating a new 'closed shop' in the industry and that there is a degree of collusion in this on the part of producers, SIPTU and the Irish Film Board.

I hope I'm wrong because I do believe in fair conditions for workers and in their right to collective bargaining but I do not believe that union membership should be compulsory.

Email to SIPTU, March 9 -
I'm looking into the current extent of union organisation among freelance technicians working in film and television production in Ireland.

I have heard anecdotally that some 70% of people now working on a freelance basis in the sector are not union members and that this has become a hindrance to the working of the new, recent agreement between SIPTU and the producers' representative organisation Screen Producers Ireland. I have also heard that producers are having to urge non-union member technicians to obtain status with SIPTU, in the absence of worker organisation, when the producers are hiring them.

I note that the SIPTU website (Film & Entertainment Branch) contains no information on the new agreement or on the terms and working conditions that now obtain in the industry. Nor does it make any reference to agreements on 'Special Projects' (those productions with particular budgetary constraints), to Irish language production, or to the extent to which the new agreement applies - is it a national agreement or is it only regionally appropriate (to Dublin).

I have also heard, again anecdotally, that disputes are still arising on productions and, it has been said, that SIPTU representatives have been somewhat heavy-handed in their approach to dispute resolution.

I would appreciate any comment on the above together with a breakdown of paid-up (in benefit) Freelance Technician member numbers for the last five years.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Magma Saga - ep #5...

Previously on The Magma Saga...

ep #1
ep #2
ep #3
ep #4

And Now... ep#5
Meeting? What Meeting?

I am reliably informed that the Magma European Scripting House Creditors' meeting scheduled for tomorrow, April 12, will not be taking place. It was to have dealt with matters which were not addressed at a two-minute meeting cancelled or adjourned - depending which part of the room you sat in - on March 18.

Local press in Galway has since reported that the County Sheriff has sent bailiffs on a number of occasions to Magma's premises in order to sieze goods to the value of €14,000, an amount owed to Peninsula Business Services.

It's hard to see how the bailiffs would know which goods they could justifiably seize since there are several Magma companies at the Merchant's Road address and it is, reportedly, only Magma European Scripting House that is in financial difficulties.

The report also states that Magma owes €60,000 in unpaid rates to Galway City Council and that trade creditors are owed €700,000.

If any of these trade creditors are owed money for work on specific Magma film or TV projects they will be wondering why they were not paid in the first instance from project budgets.

Ballyhenry's Seven Year Itch

Almost seven years ago - July 2004 - Joe O'Connell of Universal Innovations received planning permission for a new film studio complex at Ballyhenry outside Ashford in Co. Wicklow. It was during a period of hotly contested and heavily politicised planning matters debated by Wicklow County Council.

It was said that Ardmore Studios had given its blessing to the new development and would move to the new site but this was later disputed. There were vocal concerns expressed about Ardmore's loss to the local economy in Bray and in October 2004 the permission for the new studio complex was rescinded by the county council.

In November 2009 World 2000 Entertainment was granted permission for change of use of warehousing on the same (now smaller) site just off the M11 and some 35km south of Dublin. These were commercial buildings that were built under the terms of the original July 2004 permission, perhaps with a view to later conversion under change of use, if it were (as it subsequently was) granted.

The November 2009 permission also allows for additional modular buildings for ancilliary studio services to be located on an adjoining site owned by Wicklow County Council: Change of use of approved warehouse building (Reg Refs 04/474 and 09/629) from warehouse use to use as a film making facility, together with use of adjoining Wicklow County Council lands for purposes ancillary to film making to include single storey modular buildings to accommodate set construction - paint shop, plaster shop, metal shop, timber shop, electrical, special effects, chemical store, set assembly, staff canteen and toilets, totalling approx 2536 sqm with associated car parking (approx 40 car spaces) and truck delivery / set down area. Inchanappa South, Ballyhenry, Ashford, Co. Wicklow.

The permission allows for a more realistic 120 car spaces and it came with a particular condition with respect to the ancilliary buildings: The permission for the proposed 3 No. workshops and associated canteen and toilets and holding tanks shall be for a period of 5 (five) years from the date of this order. The workshops and canteen and toilets and holding tanks shall be removed at the end of this period unless, prior to the end of this period, planning permission has been granted for retention for a further period.

The new sound stages will considerably improve on what Ardmore has to offer and if they are up and running in time for, say, a second Camelot series later this year, one would have to wonder if there is enough incoming production spend to support two full-time studio operations?

Would the Irish Film Board be likely to financially support Ardmore again if it were to find itself in difficulty, or perhaps Ballyhenry is Ardmore MKII and the historical Ardmore/National Film Studios of Ireland facility is finally succumbing to obsolescence?

Ballyhenry Film Studios

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Irish releases

A short update on Irish films and co-productions in distribution, many of them feature film director débuts.

At the moment Rewind, Killing Bono, Essential Killing and Wake Wood are doing the rounds. They will be joined by Snap (8th April), Your Highness (15th April), One Hundred Mornings (6th May), The Runway (10th June), and The Guard (8th July).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lockout - S481 Offer

Below (in italics) is the text of Dolmen Securities - Wealth Management Section 481 Offer last year in respect of Lock-Out (aka Section 8), James Mather and Stephen St. Leger's film in the works for Luc Besson's EuropaCorp.

The 'Offer' is interesting for the insight it gives into the workings of the tax break in the current taxation climate.


Reducing Your Tax Bill
Did you know that you can get up to €4,000 back in tax relief using the S481 film investment scheme? This tax break provides funding to the Irish film industry. From an investor point of view, it gives valuable tax relief that can be availed of every year under current tax legislation. Last year legislation was enhanced so that an investment of up to €50,000 will receive 100% tax relief in a qualifying S481 film scheme. If you have a single income of €90,000 or a joint income of €105,000 you can qualify for maximum relief.

The process is as follows:
1. You sign all relevant documentation and include a €200 administration fee cheque/bank draft payable to Dolmen Securities Limited.
2. You receive a Film 3 Form confirming the investment in the scheme.
3. You claim back the tax refund direct from Revenue.
4. The result is net tax relief of up to €4,000 (based on 100% relief).

Investors can claim their tax refund as follows:
• PAYE Worker - The Film 3 Form can be forwarded to the relevant tax district and the film relief can be included in the 2010 tax credit certificate. The tax relief will therefore be delivered monthly via payroll in the period up to December 2010.
• Self employed - The film relief can be taken into account when paying your preliminary tax in October 2010.

Borrowing Alternatives
Rather than investing all the capital from your own cash reserves you can borrow:
A. 67% of the total amount i.e. invest €16,500 and borrow €33,500. The €33,500 borrowing is full recourse to the investor but it is insured by funds placed in a defeasance deposit account to cover the capital and interest due on the investor borrowing. These funds are released once Revenue are satisfied the scheme has been conducted in accordance with the regulations for Section 481 (See Risk factors overleaf).
B. 100% of the amount. This has to be structured as two separate loans due in part to the insurance structure of the defeasance account, with a higher interest rate on the smaller €16,500 loan. Repayment of the Capital & Interest on this smaller loan is entirely the responsibility of the individual investor. Most investors use the tax relief to repay this loan and simply retain the excess relief once the loan has
been repaid.
Under options A and B (which are used by almost all investors), Dolmen will arrange the borrowings for you through Bank of Ireland this is subject to the normal credit approval process.

Single Income €90,000 Joint Income €105,000
Investment €50,000 €50,000
Tax Relief €20,500 €20,500

Section 481 operates to provide a return of €4,000 for an investor with €50,000 of income taxable at the top income tax rate (or €2,000 for someone with €25,000 at the top rate). We set out below details of our latest project.

Name ‘Lock- Out’
Type of Production - Full length theatrical Feature Film
Synopsis - "Lock-Out” takes place in a prison orbiting 50 miles above the Earth, which houses 500 of the world's most dangerous criminals. Not only are these wrongdoers kept in orbit, they're also kept asleep by sophisticated technology - until they suddenly all wake up."

The total budget is €20,000,000

Section 481 Funding
€ 5,800,000 (approximately 116 investors at €50,000 each)

Financed by Europacorp – International French Studio and Distribution company, listed on Euronext Paris, Europacorp specialises in the production of English Language films for worldwide distribution. Founded by its President Luc Besson, Europacorp is one of France’s largest producers releasing between 10 and 15 major feature films every year. Lockout will be fully funded by Europacorp and Section 481 investors.

Stephen St Leger and James Mather
Stephen Saint Leger and James Mather have been working together as writers, directors and cinematographers for twenty years. Stephen has been directing commercials since 1994. In the past ten years he has notched up a couple of hundred commercials both in Ireland and abroad. His directing has brought him to many locations including Russia, Australia, East Africa, The Middle East, All over Europe and to the USA, Including major campaigns for Amstel, Vodafone and Permanent TSB.
James Mather was also the Director of photography on numerous features and TV dramas including, the award winning Adam and Paul, Cold Feet and Prosperity. In 2005 James and Stephen wrote, shot and directed the award winning short “Prey Alone” With the success of the short film, Stephen and James were hired to write the screenplay for Universal studios “Lost Squad” based on the highly successful comic book series. In 2009 Stephen and James were hired to co-write, shoot and direct the sci-fi “Lock-Out” with the highly successful Luc Besson and his film studio EuropaCorp.

Luc Besson The Producer of Lockout is France’s most successful international Producer/Director with Directing credits that include
The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis and Joan of Arc. Recent Producing credits include Taken starring Liam Neeson and
the international blockbuster movies Transporter, Transporter 2, and Transporter 3 starring Jason Statham.
Marc Libert Line Producer – Marc has been with Europacorp for the last 9 years, initially as personal assistant to Luc Besson and
more recently as a Producer in his own right on Europacorp funded projects.
James Morris Irish Co-Producer – James Morris is the chairman of Windmill Lane Pictures and founder of the original Windmill Lane Recording Studios. He was the lead Promoter in setting up TV3 in Ireland and its first Chairman until the sale of the network in 2006. He is currently Chair of the Irish Film Board

Considerations when choosing a specific section 481 scheme:
A. Track Record
Dolmen is using leading advisors Mazar Tierney and Matheson Ormsby Prentice, both of whom have a proven track record on structuring successful projects such as this.
B. Risk Factors
The only risk factors are non-delivery by the Production Company or non-acceptance by the Broadcaster. We mitigate this risk as much as possible by partnering with Producers who have a strong track record with S481 schemes. This is generally regarded as a medium risk tax based investment. In recent years all Revenue approved standard S481 film schemes have been completed successfully.

Illustration of cash flow under borrowing Option A:
** Assumes investor has at least €50,000 of income taxable at 41%
Any person acting on the information contained in this document does so at their own risk. This investment may not be suitable for all investors. Individual circumstances should be considered before a decision to invest is taken. The information contained in this document should not be taken as an offer or solicitation of investment advice. Approval of loan facility dependent on credit rating.

Amount Invested €50,000 (Maximum annual investment permitted)
Financing Loan €33,500 This is arranged with Bank of Ireland by Dolmen Securities Limited. Own Funds €16,500 Under Option B this too is borrowed.
Total €50,000
Gain on Investment (after receipt of tax credit)
Own Funds (€16,500) This portion is never returned to the investor
instead the tax relief (below) covers this.
Tax Relief €20,500 100% of amount invested qualifies for tax relief
Total Gain from 100% relief ** €4,000

Dolmen Securities Limited is a Member Firm of The London Stock Exchange. Dolmen Securities Limited is regulated by the Financial Regulator. Dolmen Stockbrokers is a Member Firm of The Irish Stock Exchange and The London Stock Exchange. Dolmen Stockbrokers is regulated by the Financial Regulator.
Dolmen Securities Limited, 75 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. Telephone: 01 633 3800 Fax: 01 633 3618
Warning: Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance. The value of investments may go down as well as up. This investment is not readily realisable. Forward looking statements and forecasts may not be realised.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A trip down Merlin lane...

In the context of the currently unfolding Magma story I found myself giving out about corporatised film-making in Ireland the other day. It comes in the wake of Merlin, Little Bird and the various other corporate messes since 1993. Very few people, myself included, have the time, energy or motivation to follow the vast sums of money - public money - that have vanished over the years.

Vanished insofar as there is hardly any self-sustaining enterprise resulting from all the expenditure. It remains, basically, a glorified 'hiring fair' that is hugely subsidised by public money, makes a small number of contractors quite wealthy and gives a tax break to the comfortably well-off.

So, Merlin Film Group, the Concorde Anois studio, the tax relief that had to be clawed back... you can read all about it here. It doesn't get half enough attention and Boorman's involvement in the company was not mentioned at all in the extensive press release announcing his lifetime IFTA gong last year. Funny that, just one year after the judgement.

The Revenue claimed at the start of a long, tortuous legal process that a total of about €23 million in tax relief had gone awol in a number of Section 35/481 funds. This 2009 judgement, Fortune v Revenue Commissioners, followed an earlier case, Bartondale v Revenue Commissioners, in which Merlin failed to convince the court that the Revenue were wrong to withdraw its tax relief. The Revenue won both cases.

The link above is to a specimen case taken by an individual who had his tax relief clawed back because the Revenue claimed the money could not be shown to have been spent in the jurisdiction. They said money was inexplicably transferred to a Phillipines company. The film Angela Mooney Dies Again gets a mention, a film that hasn't been seen much since it was made and ironically, if memory seves me correctly, began life as a project backed by the Arts Council.

There was a great story doing the rounds at the time that Tommy Tiernan wore an un-cleared (un-licensed) Superman t-shirt in the film that later had to be air-brushed out in post production. If it's true it's a text book example of trade-mark and brand clearance issues in film.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Window on Wake Wood

In the distribution game it is, generally, all about the 'window' - the amount of time a film is available to be exploited on each platform.

In recent times 'windows' have been severely contracting, especially at the niche end of the market. Smaller release titles are increasingly using the marketing push of a theatrical cinema release with reviews and editorial coverage to piggy-back a simultaneous release on other platforms.

In the recent instance of Ken Loach's Route Irish, the film was in cinemas, on Sky Box Office and on two VoD platforms as of March 18.

Here we have the Irish/UK title Wake Wood, from Fantastic Films and Hammer. It was launched in two Irish cinemas on March 25 by small UK distribution outfit Vertigo Films and took €909.00 at the box office on its opening weekend.

Lo and behold the week was hardly out and the Momentum DVD release was available to buy in Tesco for €10.95. It'd be interesting to know how many 'units' they shifted.