Oct 23, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

Canadian filmmaker side-swiped by Iowa funding debacle

An award-winning Canadian filmmaker set to begin shooting a $20 million crime caper in the U.S. has landed at the centre of his own courtroom drama after Iowa’s governor shut down the state’s film-financing office, and a criminal investigation was launched into the agency’s management.

Saskatchewan-based producer Kevin Dewalt, whose recent projects include the 2008 Gemini-sweeping CBC miniseries The Englishman’s Boy, pleaded with a U.S. judge this week to order Iowa to honour its $6.5 million commitment to his mobster flick Clean Out or “my credibility as a producer is basically gone if this goes down.”

The movie, cast with high-profile stars Harvey Keitel, Elliott Gould and Timothy Dalton, was scheduled to be filmed in Iowa this fall before the spending scandal erupted in September.

It has also been reported that some of the movie – which features action set in New York, Cannes and Zurich – would be shot in Winnipeg.

The film – a four-nation co-production involving partners in Canada, the U.S., France and Switzerland – had been promised a $6.5 million tax-credit deal in August by Iowa’s economic development department.

But Gov. Chet Culver announced in September that questionable financial activities at the Iowa film office had forced him to freeze further transactions, scuttling scores of planned movie projects in the state.

Dewalt’s film, though, had already been given written guarantees that state funding was in place and considerable work on the project had been completed.

“I was shocked and dismayed when the governor of Iowa suspended the issuance of the tax credits on Sept. 18, as we were already well into pre-production,” Dewalt, CEO of Regina-based Minds Eye Entertainment, told Canwest News Service on Tuesday.

“The tax credit program was attractive and we were encouraged by the state to apply – which we did, and (we were) provided a contract.”

Dewalt’s Iowa Eye Entertainment and other film companies involved in Clean Out have sued Iowa’s film office in a bid to complete the project as planned. But state lawyers argued in court Monday that the agency’s managerial “meltdown” demanded swift action by Culver, the Des Moines Register reported this week.

Jim Sternberg, president of Toronto’s Film Finances Canada Ltd., was prepared to serve as the movie’s guarantor and said the Iowa debacle should serve as a caution for Canadian filmmakers trying to take advantage of fledgling tax-break regimes in some U.S. states.

“To have the rug pulled out as abruptly as it was on Kevin” was “obviously pretty devastating, no question,” he said.

Culver announced in September that he had accepted the resignation of Mike Tramontina, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, and was “very troubled by information very recently received by our office that there have been insufficient procedures in place to assure a full and accurate accounting of expenditures made to enable persons to qualify for tax credits under the program.”

U.S. Judge Glenn Pille said Monday he would try to rule quickly on Dewalt’s bid to secure the $6.5 million credit promised by Iowa officials and noted that the film agency’s troubles “do not appear to be the fault” of the Canadian filmmaker or his partners.

“Financing for films is complex. In any business when you develop a funding problem, through no fault of your own, difficulties arise,” Dewalt said Tuesday by e-mail. “As I told the court yesterday, unless I have a commitment from Iowa to honour its obligations in the next 10 days, it will be too late to shoot in Iowa.”

Court documents show that in correspondence with Iowa film officials in August, Dewalt had stressed the importance of nailing down the deal quickly because of cold weather in the northern state in late October and November.

Clean Out is described as a dark comedy featuring rival Russian and Italian mobsters collaborating on a money-laundering scheme.

Dewalt, who also produced the controversial miniseries Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, has won numerous awards and is credited with helping to pioneer Saskatchewan’s film industry.

“I was attracted to (Iowa) as it reminded me where Saskatchewan was 20 years ago,” he said. “Anybody who knows me has to understand I am an industry builder and I felt my expertise could help the local film industry tell their local stories.”

Source: Canwest News Service

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Front Page, Industry News

Canadian filmmaker side-swiped by Iowa funding debacle

An award-winning Canadian filmmaker set to begin shooting a $20 million crime caper in the U.S. has landed at the centre of his own courtroom drama after Iowa’s governor shut down the state’s film-financing office, and a criminal investigation was launched into the agency’s management.

Saskatchewan-based producer Kevin Dewalt, whose recent projects include the 2008 Gemini-sweeping CBC miniseries The Englishman’s Boy, pleaded with a U.S. judge this week to order Iowa to honour its $6.5 million commitment to his mobster flick Clean Out or “my credibility as a producer is basically gone if this goes down.”

The movie, cast with high-profile stars Harvey Keitel, Elliott Gould and Timothy Dalton, was scheduled to be filmed in Iowa this fall before the spending scandal erupted in September.

It has also been reported that some of the movie – which features action set in New York, Cannes and Zurich – would be shot in Winnipeg.

The film – a four-nation co-production involving partners in Canada, the U.S., France and Switzerland – had been promised a $6.5 million tax-credit deal in August by Iowa’s economic development department.

But Gov. Chet Culver announced in September that questionable financial activities at the Iowa film office had forced him to freeze further transactions, scuttling scores of planned movie projects in the state.

Dewalt’s film, though, had already been given written guarantees that state funding was in place and considerable work on the project had been completed.

“I was shocked and dismayed when the governor of Iowa suspended the issuance of the tax credits on Sept. 18, as we were already well into pre-production,” Dewalt, CEO of Regina-based Minds Eye Entertainment, told Canwest News Service on Tuesday.

“The tax credit program was attractive and we were encouraged by the state to apply – which we did, and (we were) provided a contract.”

Dewalt’s Iowa Eye Entertainment and other film companies involved in Clean Out have sued Iowa’s film office in a bid to complete the project as planned. But state lawyers argued in court Monday that the agency’s managerial “meltdown” demanded swift action by Culver, the Des Moines Register reported this week.

Jim Sternberg, president of Toronto’s Film Finances Canada Ltd., was prepared to serve as the movie’s guarantor and said the Iowa debacle should serve as a caution for Canadian filmmakers trying to take advantage of fledgling tax-break regimes in some U.S. states.

“To have the rug pulled out as abruptly as it was on Kevin” was “obviously pretty devastating, no question,” he said.

Culver announced in September that he had accepted the resignation of Mike Tramontina, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, and was “very troubled by information very recently received by our office that there have been insufficient procedures in place to assure a full and accurate accounting of expenditures made to enable persons to qualify for tax credits under the program.”

U.S. Judge Glenn Pille said Monday he would try to rule quickly on Dewalt’s bid to secure the $6.5 million credit promised by Iowa officials and noted that the film agency’s troubles “do not appear to be the fault” of the Canadian filmmaker or his partners.

“Financing for films is complex. In any business when you develop a funding problem, through no fault of your own, difficulties arise,” Dewalt said Tuesday by e-mail. “As I told the court yesterday, unless I have a commitment from Iowa to honour its obligations in the next 10 days, it will be too late to shoot in Iowa.”

Court documents show that in correspondence with Iowa film officials in August, Dewalt had stressed the importance of nailing down the deal quickly because of cold weather in the northern state in late October and November.

Clean Out is described as a dark comedy featuring rival Russian and Italian mobsters collaborating on a money-laundering scheme.

Dewalt, who also produced the controversial miniseries Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, has won numerous awards and is credited with helping to pioneer Saskatchewan’s film industry.

“I was attracted to (Iowa) as it reminded me where Saskatchewan was 20 years ago,” he said. “Anybody who knows me has to understand I am an industry builder and I felt my expertise could help the local film industry tell their local stories.”

Source: Canwest News Service

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Canadian filmmaker side-swiped by Iowa funding debacle

An award-winning Canadian filmmaker set to begin shooting a $20 million crime caper in the U.S. has landed at the centre of his own courtroom drama after Iowa’s governor shut down the state’s film-financing office, and a criminal investigation was launched into the agency’s management.

Saskatchewan-based producer Kevin Dewalt, whose recent projects include the 2008 Gemini-sweeping CBC miniseries The Englishman’s Boy, pleaded with a U.S. judge this week to order Iowa to honour its $6.5 million commitment to his mobster flick Clean Out or “my credibility as a producer is basically gone if this goes down.”

The movie, cast with high-profile stars Harvey Keitel, Elliott Gould and Timothy Dalton, was scheduled to be filmed in Iowa this fall before the spending scandal erupted in September.

It has also been reported that some of the movie – which features action set in New York, Cannes and Zurich – would be shot in Winnipeg.

The film – a four-nation co-production involving partners in Canada, the U.S., France and Switzerland – had been promised a $6.5 million tax-credit deal in August by Iowa’s economic development department.

But Gov. Chet Culver announced in September that questionable financial activities at the Iowa film office had forced him to freeze further transactions, scuttling scores of planned movie projects in the state.

Dewalt’s film, though, had already been given written guarantees that state funding was in place and considerable work on the project had been completed.

“I was shocked and dismayed when the governor of Iowa suspended the issuance of the tax credits on Sept. 18, as we were already well into pre-production,” Dewalt, CEO of Regina-based Minds Eye Entertainment, told Canwest News Service on Tuesday.

“The tax credit program was attractive and we were encouraged by the state to apply – which we did, and (we were) provided a contract.”

Dewalt’s Iowa Eye Entertainment and other film companies involved in Clean Out have sued Iowa’s film office in a bid to complete the project as planned. But state lawyers argued in court Monday that the agency’s managerial “meltdown” demanded swift action by Culver, the Des Moines Register reported this week.

Jim Sternberg, president of Toronto’s Film Finances Canada Ltd., was prepared to serve as the movie’s guarantor and said the Iowa debacle should serve as a caution for Canadian filmmakers trying to take advantage of fledgling tax-break regimes in some U.S. states.

“To have the rug pulled out as abruptly as it was on Kevin” was “obviously pretty devastating, no question,” he said.

Culver announced in September that he had accepted the resignation of Mike Tramontina, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, and was “very troubled by information very recently received by our office that there have been insufficient procedures in place to assure a full and accurate accounting of expenditures made to enable persons to qualify for tax credits under the program.”

U.S. Judge Glenn Pille said Monday he would try to rule quickly on Dewalt’s bid to secure the $6.5 million credit promised by Iowa officials and noted that the film agency’s troubles “do not appear to be the fault” of the Canadian filmmaker or his partners.

“Financing for films is complex. In any business when you develop a funding problem, through no fault of your own, difficulties arise,” Dewalt said Tuesday by e-mail. “As I told the court yesterday, unless I have a commitment from Iowa to honour its obligations in the next 10 days, it will be too late to shoot in Iowa.”

Court documents show that in correspondence with Iowa film officials in August, Dewalt had stressed the importance of nailing down the deal quickly because of cold weather in the northern state in late October and November.

Clean Out is described as a dark comedy featuring rival Russian and Italian mobsters collaborating on a money-laundering scheme.

Dewalt, who also produced the controversial miniseries Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, has won numerous awards and is credited with helping to pioneer Saskatchewan’s film industry.

“I was attracted to (Iowa) as it reminded me where Saskatchewan was 20 years ago,” he said. “Anybody who knows me has to understand I am an industry builder and I felt my expertise could help the local film industry tell their local stories.”

Source: Canwest News Service

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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