Isle of Man film industry yet to profit

Chico and Rita Chico and Rita, released in 2010, is an animated film made partly in the Isle of Man. During its making 10 Manx animators were employed for over 18 months
Chico and Rita So far the production, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2012, has brought in almost £0.5m to the Isle of Man, although the initial investment was about £3.5m
Guy Martin on Bike A documentary about the Isle of Man TT races, 3D TT Closer to the Edge, has so far made more than £1m for the island against an investment of almost £3m
Guy Martin in TT 3D Closer to the Edge It is thought, however, that the release of the film - starring Guy Martin - in 2011 was responsible for a significant boost in visitor numbers for the 2012 motor racing festival
Me and Orson Welles Period drama Me and Orson Welles was filmed at various island locations, including the Gaiety Theatre on Douglas Promenade when hundreds of extras sat in the audience for the crowd scenes
 Zac Efron and Claire Danes Made in 2008 and starring Zac Efron and Claire Danes, it has so far brought more than £2m into the Isle of Man against an investment of more than £9m

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The Isle of Man's film industry is yet to make a profit despite a multi-million pound government investment, according to the latest official Treasury figures.

The statistics given to the House of Keys on Tuesday showed that as of 30 September, a return of about £7.5m was showing for an investment of about £40m.

The figures are taken from the time when Manx production company CinemaNX took over the island's media management fund in 2007. Previous film industry accounts from before this date were not provided.

Treasury Minister Eddie Teare said it was not possible to state in the short term whether a film has made a profit or loss.

Royalty payments

He said: "Once a film has been produced, income is derived through sales, royalty payments and other media-related products over an extended period of time and due to this it is not possible to state categorically in the short term whether a film has made a profit of a loss."

Start Quote

There are huge losses here and obviously we need to be placing the funds in the best way possible”

End Quote Kate Beecroft MHK

The heaviest investment, while management has been under CinemaNX, was in 2008 for Me and Orson Welles which starred Zac Efron and Claire Danes.

The amount invested in the film was almost £10m while the more recent production of Belle (2012) received about £3.5m.

Smaller scale productions, like The Cottage (2008) and The Knot (2012), received about £3,000 and £300,000 respectively.

The period drama Belle began production in the Isle of Man on 24 September and was the island's first collaboration with Pinewood Shepperton studios.

In June, the Manx Parliament approved proposals for a multi-million pound deal as a two-part investment, which involves the island buying up to 20% of shares in Pinewood, at a cost of £24m.

The second part of the deal involves handing over management of an additional £25m to the company, the amount formerly given to local production company CinemaNX.

Minister sacked

Kate Beecroft, Member of the House of Keys (MHK), was against the move and was behind the request for the film accounts to be presented on Tuesday.

The former accountant said: "These media development funds are now being passed on to Pinewood on the basis that this is a good investment for the Isle of Man. I don't think it is.

"I have always questioned the validity of this, not investment in the film industry per se, but in the way the money is being invested.

"There are huge losses here and obviously we need to be placing the funds in the best way possible, so far we haven't seen any profit and I am not confident the island will ever see any benefit."

However, Mr Teare said the move was all about planting seeds and waiting for the harvest.

"The time has now come to move on and give this investment time to mature and prove itself- after you have invested in a film it can take as long as 18 months before revenue starts emerging," he explained.

"It's easy to criticise at the beginning of projects like this and I can remember that there was considerable controversy about a decade ago when we moved into the e-gaming industry- that sector now makes up about 9% of the Manx economy."

In June, the Isle of Man's former education minister, Peter Karran, was sacked after opposing proposals for the link-up with Pinewood Studios.

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