Bunhill: Reel uncertainty
Sunday 17 April 1994
The film company was founded five years ago as a BES scheme by a distinguished cast including Brian Wenham, the ex-BBC executive who introduced snooker to television, and Roger Wingate, the reclusive property tycoon who controls the Curzon Cinemas.
The scheme behind Renaissance, crafted by ex-stockbroker Stephen Evans, was to make three movies over a five-year period and then divide the spoils. The scheme received an enthusiastic response, from a number of foreign trusts as well as media groupies who knew a good thing when they saw one. Unusually, the three films were actually produced at a reasonable cost and, even more unusually, all of them, Henry V, Peter's Friends and Much Ado About Nothing, were critical and box-office successes. Unfortunately, the investors are discovering that the neat five-year framework of a BES scheme is rather unsuited to the film industry, in which producers only learn the financial position from the film's distributors a couple of years after the film is launched - and actually get the cash even later. The last accounts, for the year to September 30 1992, show accumulated losses of over pounds 1.5m. Hence a certain tension: the investors still don't know if they will end up with a profit.
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