Isle of Man film industry yet to profit
- 16 November 2012
- From the section Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin
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.
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."
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.
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.