Insolvency Specialist Saves Aussie Horror Movie
Quick action by a Brisbane insolvency specialist has meant the much-anticipated Australian film ‘Boar’ will hit the big screen in early 2018. But it nearly didn’t happen.
Creature feature film, Boar, which was written and directed by Australian filmmaker, Chris Sun, and features familiar names including John Jarratt, Steve Bisley, and Melissa Tkautz, was nearly derailed after one of its major investors, Debbie Rivers – who held 80 percent of the shares worth around $1.9 million – died during the final stages of production. Unfortunately, Debbie’s estate was declared bankrupt and her company Mummzy Productions Pty Ltd (Mummzy) was subsequently deregistered.
“Swift action was required as the producers needed a financier to provide the last $1.1 million to complete the film and the only source of funds to secure the monies was the expected rebate from the Australian Government,” explained Chris Baskerville, Brisbane Partner of insolvency firm, Jirsch Sutherland.
Coincidentally, the film’s producer Kris Maric contacted Baskerville for advice unaware he was the bankruptcy trustee for Debbie Rivers’ husband.
“Kris, who is a friend of mine, was desperately trying to find a solution to get the film back on track,” Baskerville explained. “I felt we could get Mummzy reinstated but I needed to convince the person managing Debbie’s estate – Joanne Dunn of FTI Consulting – that it was worth pursuing, as they needed to be the spearhead to make it happen and that the effort was going to reward the bankrupt estate.”
While Dunn had initially considered writing the movie off as she didn’t think there was likely to be any money coming in from it, Baskerville convinced her otherwise. “The film was 95 per cent complete,” he said. “And while there was finance in place to get the other five percent completed, all investors needed to sign off on the deal, including the deregistered company to secure the rebate and financing.”
Paid settlement of work completed on the film and any copyright interests was also needed, which would allow the final product to be sold and distributed. This required every person who worked on the film to be paid out for their work on the film to date – from the director to the gaffer. “It is a requirement of delivering a completed film to any distributor, that it’s free and clear of any encumbrances and copyright claims,” Baskerville explained.
The mammoth task of signing off on the documents to procure the final funding for the film, a sum of $1.1 million, will help finalise Boar for the official theatrical release earmarked for early 2018 by Universal Pictures Australia. The movie has already had a preview screening, which received positive reviews.
“Mummzy will benefit if the film achieves a profit and will receive 37.5 percent of net profits for the next seven years,” said Baskerville. “Myself, Joanne and lawyer Marc Maskell will be credited as ‘Executive Producers’ on the basis that without our assistance, there would be no film and there would be massive losses for all investors.”
Baskerville describes the process as a “true collaborative effort” between Jirsch Sutherland, FTI Consulting, and Maskell. “It took the three of us to nut this thing out and make it happen, but we did it,” he said. “Without our assistance, there would have been over $2 million of hard cash lost by the film’s investors and the film would not have been completed. Also, the people that were contracted to the film and had performed services would not have been paid. It was a great result.”
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