Printer Friendly

Just PS3.6m recouped as PS12m of Welsh public funds go into films.

Byline: David Williamson Political editor

NEARLY PS12m of Welsh public funds have been put into film, television and video game projects that have recouped less than PS3.7m so far, it has been revealed.

The Welsh Government is facing criticism of its public investment into films that have struggled commercially.

One movie project, action film Take Down, received PS3.1m but went straight to DVD in the UK and has so far only recouped PS941,413 of the loan. Take Down, which was shot in the Pinewood studio in Cardiff, as well as on Anglesey and the Isle of Man, told the story of a group of out-of-control teenagers sent by their frustrated parents to a boot camp on a remote island.

Only one project, 2016 war comedy drama Their Finest, has paid back the original loan in full.

Of a total of PS11,970,463 invested, only PS3,659,889.65 has been recouped to date.

The Welsh Government said that the productions are "at various stages of development, from preproduction, production, and postproduction, through to international broadcast and cinematic release". It said that the figures were not "a true reflection of the performance of each individual production, as the majority of productions have not yet benefited from international cinematic release or TV broadcast".

It added: "Funds will continue to be recouped for at least another 10 years, through auxiliary sales such as DVD, Blu-ray, Netflix and Amazon."

The figures were obtained by the BBC through a Freedom of Information request. Welsh Conservative culture spokeswoman Suzy Davies told the broadcaster: "Even accepting that film production has a financial cycle which means that you don't see profit straightaway, these are not very cheering figures."

Referring to the investment in Take Down, she said taxpayers "would be right to question how much Welsh Government expected to get back from the investment of over PS3m".

The investments were made through a PS30m Media Investment Budget funded by the Welsh Government and managed by Pinewood, which established a studio in Wentloog, Cardiff.

However, Pinewood has now pulled out of the role in managing the budget.

Pinewood did not comment. A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "We are proud of our vibrant and successful creative industry, and our primary aim is to maximise its economic benefit for Wales.

"Latest figures show that over the last five years film and TV productions funded by Welsh Government have spent in excess of PS100m in Wales, created over 2,000 fulltime-equivalent job years, benefited local supply chains and supported hundreds of businesses here."

FILMS BACKED BY THE SCHEME...TAKE DOWN | Loan value: PS3,144,000 | Amount recouped: PS941,413.53 | Negative balance: PS2,202,586.47 Shot in Anglesey and on the Isle of Man, Pinewood described its production as "an action thriller about a group of over-privileged and rebellious rich kids.

DON'T KNOCK TWICE | Loan value: PS629,516 | Amount recouped: PS469,415.90 | Negative balance: PS160,100.10 Don't Knock Twice also received PS75,000 in grant funding under the Welsh Government's Business Finance scheme. The supernatural thriller was directed by Caradog W James, who won attention with his science fiction thriller The Machine. THEIR FINEST | Loan value: PS2m | Amount recouped: PS2,049,985 | Positive balance: PS49,985 This is a wartime comedy from BBC Films. Stars include Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy.

THE COLLECTION | Loan value: PS1,150,000 | Amount recouped: PS119,075.22 | Negative balance: PS1,030,924.78 The Collection also received grant funding of PS600,000 from the Media Investment Budget on a non-repayable basis. This BBC Worldwide/Amazon Prime drama is set behind the scenes in a Paris fashion house.

LIONEL THE FIRST (DEVELOPMENT) | Loan value: PS25,000 | Amount recouped: Zero | Negative balance: PS25,000.

A family film based on a story by Edith Nesbit.

JOURNEY'S END | Loan value: PS850,000 | Amount recouped: PS80,000 | Negative balance: PS770,000 This World War I drama is the story of an army captain who is horrified when he is joined on the front by the brother of the woman he loves.

MINOTAUR (DEVELOPMENT) | Loan value: PS25,500 | Amount recouped: Zero | Negative balance: PS25,500 This crime drama has been billed as "Wales'True Detective".

TINY REBEL | Loan value: PS317,500 | Amount recouped: Zero | Negative balance: PS317,500 This is reported to be a loan to Newport-based Tiny Rebel Games towards the production of Doctor Who Infinity, as part of a partnership with BBC Worldwide.

SHOW DOGS | Loan value: PS1,203,947 | Amount recouped: Zero | Negative balance: PS1,203,947 This is the story of how, according to Pinewood Pictures, an FBI agent is forced to work with a "rugged lone-wolf Rottweiler NYPD police dog" when "an underground network of illegal animal traders is uncovered at a prestigious dog show".

CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES | Loan value: PS2m | Amount recouped: Zero | Negative balance: PS2m Trampires also received PS673,784 in grant funding under the Welsh Government's Business Finance scheme. This animated comedy, shot at Bridgend's Animortal Studios, was described by local AM and First Minister Carwyn Jones as an "exciting project".

JACK STAFF (DEVELOPMENT) | Loan value: PS25,000 | Amount recouped: Zero | Negative balance: PS25,000 This is understood to be a television project.


<B TAKE DOWN, which was released last year but went straight to DVD in the UK, was handed PS3.1m of taxpayers' money by the Welsh Government
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 24, 2017
Previous Article:Man who murdered friend faces life in prison.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters