Monday, April 2, 2012

Help needed...

Your assistance is requested with the following...

I have a copy of recently filed accounts for the Special Purpose Vehicle company Thorsday Films Ltd. It is the company mechanism for the co-production of Thor - The Edda Chronicles using Section 481 finance.

Thor is an animation co-production between Galway's Tidal Films Ltd (trading as Magma Productions), Caoz Studio Ltd (Iceland) and Ulysses GMBH Film – und Fernsehproduktion (Germany). Readers may recall from an earlier post that this German company was formerly a subsidiary of Magma European Scripting House Ltd trading as Magma Films.

Thor is co-directed by Gunnar Karlsson (Iceland) and Toby Genkel (Germany). It has been backed in 2009 by the Irish Film Board (€535,000), and Eurimages (€480,000) along with the Icelandic Film Centre, The Nordic Film & TV Fund, and the Filmfoderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, among others.

I believe the additional amount raised in Section 481 finance for the film, also in 2009, is €1,015,664. The film was released in Iceland, home of the lead producers, on October 14, 2011.

So, here are details from the accounts filed by Thorsday Films Ltd on March 23rd and covering the period from the company's inception (29 Sept. 2009) to 31 August 2011.

Where you come in is - have a look at the figures and let me know if anything strikes you. I won't publish your response if you'd rather I didn't.


Anonymous said...

Same accountancy firm and section 481 set up as Treasure Island which was done thru Benbow films Ltd a couple of years ago and has not been wound up yet either. Look into MNG Films....

irish film portal said...

I was aware of the S481 arrangements - as you say, same accountancy firm etc, although completely unrelated otherwise.

Treasure Island (which someone else mentioned to me recently) was a two-parter made for Sky in 2010. Benbow was the SPV company for MNG Films, same address as Parallel Films, which seems to have rather a lot of complicated filings and charges registered with the Companies Office but no accounts since it was incorporated in early 2010. I'll have a look as you suggest.

Anonymous said...

Interesting set of figures. One would hope that reading these accounts would shed light on how s481 funding breaks down among producer, investor and administrator.

I am not an accountant, but from the balance sheet it seems that in this case admin costs were about 5% (€49,264 in auditing and financing fees). Defeasance (funds retained for return to investors) seems to amount to about 71% (€720,555). This would leave a net benefit to the producer of about 24% (the 245,847 "net loss" to the SPV).

The P&L page (detailed cost of sales) sheds some very interesting light on what constitutes Irish spend on what one assumes is a typical S481-funded international co-production, and how that breaks down among various participants (producers, cast, crew, sound and picture post, etc). Very interesting to see these figures, which speak for themselves really.

irish film portal said...

I agree.

Bear in mind that this is an animation project where the Irish co-producer (who has links with the German co-producer) is a minority partner.

What is denominated as Irish spend is a moot point since any spend on (for instance) the employment of EU personnel qualifies as 'Irish' spend. One might ask if the 'Irish' exec producer, for instance, is an Irish resident and if that matters for the purpose of qualifying spend?

It is all relevant when it comes to where such beneficaries of Section 481 are resident for tax purposes since that will impact on the net cost to the Irish exchequer.

Then there is the issue of how much is paid for particular services - some spending seems out of kilter.