Toronto- and London-based film financier Grosvenor Park will open offices in Paris and Dublin, cementing its expansion into European film financing - and reflecting its increasing involvement in projects that have no financial ties with Canada.
The company, which has been involved in such films as David Cronenberg's Spider and Robert Altman's Gosford Park, will maintain its role as a Canadian production entity but it is no longer involved in structuring limited partnerships in Canada. The latest offices are indicative of a push into mounting European-centric projects, whether they are art-house films as 24 Hours In The Life Of A Woman, or big-budget crowd-pleasers like the $90m Reign Of Fire, which shot at Dublin's Ardmore Studios and took advantage of Ireland's Section 481 tax incentives.
In the works for several years, the office expansion was spurred by a change in Canadian tax announced last year and enacted in April 2002. The revision closed off an incentive upon which the company had built its business: Canadian investors could record a film investment as a loss, which could then be written off against taxes, even if the film earned money.
In the wake of the change, Grosvenor Park and other Canadian film financiers specialising in tax-based structure finance have seen the bottom drop out of their Canadian investor-driven business. Other tax specialists include Vancouver-based Sentinel Hill Alliance Atlantis Equicap Limited Partnership, in which Alliance Atlantis Corp holds a 30% stake.
Grosvenor Park has placed a combined investment of more than $2.5bn in more than 1,000 projects since it was founded in 1985 by tax attorney Don Starr.