Monday, 8 January 2018
More fuss about Pinewood Studios and the non-payment of rent
The mystery over Pinewood Studios in Cardiff deepens. After earlier reports that the Pinewood Studios deal with the Welsh Government was proving more trouble than it was worth, the Tory opposition in the Welsh Assembly is naturally enough making some political capital over the situation -- homing in on the extraordinary "rent holiday" that Pinewood was given in the first place, and with Suzy Davies AM now asking why no rent at all is now being paid.......
Pinewood Studios entered into a 15 year deal with the Welsh Govt in 2015. Now it looks as if the deal is over -- but the Welsh Government insists that there is a new deal in place, and that Pinewood is still in residence.
As readers of this blog will know, the Pinewood involvement in the Welsh film and TV industry has been a mixed blessing, with the gigantic organization forcing film-makers into a very prescriptive way of doing things, with Pinewood itself walking off with most of the benefits. It's difficult to get full info on what has been made at the studios over the past two years, but it does not look as if there is a great deal on the slate. The suspicion must be that the vast studio space has been sadly under-used.
How big a scandal is this? It might be quite big, involving millions of pounds down the spout. Watch this space........
Pinewood Studio stops paying rent to Welsh Government
By Huw Thomas
BBC Wales arts and media correspondent
This is just the latest in a series of stories covered by the BBC Wales correspondent Huw Thomas. In November he flagged up the flop of the film "Take Down" which was produced by Pinewood and which used the Pinewood Studios -- having received a loan of over £3 million from the Media Investment Fund, it failed to get a general cinema release and has gone straight into DVD. Pinewood must have made a thumping loss on that........
The only successful film produced thus far has been "Their Finest" -- and of the 11 projects given grants and loans totalling £11.9 million, only £3.5 million has been recouped. It's probably unfair to expect instant paybacks on projects such as these, and maybe a timescale of 5 years or so might be more realistic when looking at payback times -- but there is genuine concern about the choice of projects to receive funding, and the failure of most of the projects to make an impact within the film industry.