The future of First Floor Features, the Dutch company owned by producer Laurens Geels, who made the Oscar-winning Character, appears to be in the balance.
First Floor's backers this week launched an investigation into the financial position of the company and as a result the release of three films, Views And Sounds, Scent Of Books and De Infiltrant (The Intruder), is under threat.
The titles were financed by a tax incentive, the so-called cv-ruling, that allows private investors to participate in four First Floor films. The only production that has been releases so far is Resistance, a war drama with Julia Ormond and Bill Paxton. Resistance only played in three Dutch cinemas earlier this year and was considered a total flop. In total the films represent an investment of Euros 22.4m.
First Floor's backers (Cine Partners and Hoog Rendement Fonds) have approached an external accountancy agency to investigate the financial position of Geels' company. The results are expected by December.
First Floor Features was founded by Geels and director Dick Maas in 1984. The company was very successful with Maas' Flodder-trilogy which broke records in Dutch cinemas (7.3 million admissions) and was made into a long-running TV series.
First Floor also produced a string of other titles like The Last Island (Marleen Gorris) and Wings Of Fame (Otokar Votocek). The company also worked with directors Alex van Warmerdam, who made The Northerners and Alejandro Agresti (Valentin).
In 1991 First Floor opened its own studio in Almere but it was sold a few years later. Last year Dick Maas left First Floor after disagreements with Geels, who was mainly interested in co-producing international titles.
Geels could not be reached yesterday to comment on the future of First Floor.