West End-based Davenport Lyons has helped saved the UK-produced St Trinian’s remake from the scrapheap with its first foray into film financing.
The much anticipated film, an update on 1954’s The Belles of St Trinian’s starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and Richard E Grant, found itself in dire straits after the UK Government banned film production tax breaks.
Previously filmmakers, under a Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) scheme, were able to claim tax avoidance on any losses resulting from a production. However, the system was scrapped on 2 March, leaving a massive hole in the budget of the St Trinian’s film.
UK hit films such as Hot Fuzz and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine would never have made it to the silver screen without GAAP funding.
Davenport Lyons acted for Investec Private Bank, which partially funds the film, and managed to bring the UK Film Council on board to rescue the production.
Lead partner at Davenport Lyons Sam Tatton-Brown said the UK film industry will feel the impact of the lost tax break. “While the changes weren’t unexpected, they came suddenly and without warning,” said Tatton-Brown. “This may alarm foreign investors, especially from the US, which in turn will affect the industry.”
Tatton-Brown led the team acting for Investec, assisted by associates Margaret Parvin and Anders Erden. Olswang partner James Kay acted for the production and Jackie Hurt, also from Olswang, led for the UK Film Council.
Acting for Entertainment Film Distributors was partner Sara Curran of Sara Curran Solicitors and Film Finances was represented by its in-house counsel Elizabeth McFarlane.