An Israeli-UK-US consortium including Capitol Films, Gravity, DLIN and the US' Kushner Locke Group is preparing to sell controversy-ridden German VFX facility Digital Renaissance after acquiring it only two years ago.
News of the move revived criticism from North Rhine-Westphalia politicians about the local administration's financial support of the facility, which has been the subject of two extensive regional parliamentary inquiries. According to various reports, regional, national and European public funds worth between $48.3m (DM 105m) and $59.8m (DM 130m) have been pumped into the Oberhausen-based facility since its previous owner, High Definition Oberhausen (HDO), launched in 1990.
Since then, the operation has housed only a handful of productions, notably Uli Edel's The Little Vampire and two Dutch productions, Do Not Disturb and Down.Digital Renaissance had been promised an annual grant of $3.2m (DM 7m) for three years until the end of 2001.
According to local reports, Virtual Entertainment has signed a letter of intent with the Digital Renaissance management. The company, owned by brothers Bernd and Helmut Breuer, aims to acquire the effects house for a reported $6.9m (DM 15m).
Lothar Hegemann, deputy of opposition party CDU, told local broadcaster WDR that NRW prime-minister Wolfgang Clement "celebrated the sale to the present owners as a great personal triumph". He added: "If the thing now has to be sold again, that can't be anything but a failure for Wolfgang Clement".