Australia's two Film Licensed Investment Companies (FLICs) have convinced investors to tip in only about half of the tax deductible total of $23.9 (A$40m) that they were allowed to raise before the June 30 deadline.
The government-sanctioned FLICs were formed 15 months ago as a pilot scheme with the aim of boosting Australian film and television production and related activities with private financing. About $1.8m (A$3m) of this amount was raised at the end of the last financial year.
Both companies are trying to put a positive spin on the outcome. An "extremely delighted" Bryan Lowe, CEO of Macquarie Filmed Investments, said it was a "real triumph" that Macquarie Film Corporation Ltd had raised $9.7m (A$16.26m). He said Macquarie intended to invest in 10 to 15 projects and noted that a recent policy decision meant they could now co-invest with the Australian Film Finance Corporation (FFC).
Macquarie did considerably better than Content Capital Ltd, which raised only $3.1m (A$5.15m), although back in February it picked up a $0.93m (A$1.56m) investment from Japanese company Softbank (Screendaily, February 24). Content Capital's chairman Peter Burrows said the company's business plan was less capital intensive as it was based on earning revenue from helping producers structure finance and from investment in distribution rather than funding production. "We will raise further non-FLIC capital in the coming year," he said.
Meanwhile, the Australian branch of Columbia TriStar International Television, the highest profile player also trying to coax investors into film production using tax incentives, failed to greenlight it's $16.5m (A$27.5m) production fund. But the prospectus, which included the feature film F.E.A.R.(ing) and six telemovies, is being kept open for investors.
Energee Entertainment raised some funds for its animated series Wicked, which continues in production until the end of the year. Energee managing director Gerry Travers said potential investors were distracted because of the introduction of a goods and services tax and other changes to the Australian tax system, as well as considerable changes to the country's health system, all of which took effect from July 1.