Failure to secure a completion bond has grounded the biggest production in the history of Dutch cinema. With a $60 million budget, Ocean Warrior (a biopic of Greenpeace founder Paul Watson) was to be directed by John Badham, with starring roles for Aidan Quinn and Billy Bob Thornton.
When financiers MPC Capital raised only half of the budget through the current Dutch tax scheme, production was postponed three times. Producers Bous de Jong and Pieter Kroonenburg failed to find alternative financing.
Last weekend, they announced that the project would be temporarily suspended. The main hurdle seemed to be the fact that although MPC's prospectus promised investors a financial guarantee from insurance company Completion Garantor, it emerged that MPC had not even signed a contract with Completion Garantor.
Coverage for the guarantee was initially publicised to come from the LA-based US Bank. Last December, it was announced that role would be taken over by LA's Union Bank. At the moment, an unnamed US charity trust is believed to vouch for the project.
The insecurity surrounding this project has resulted in the project's two biggest creditors, Dutch set creator Hollandwood and the UK-based Animated Extras, suing MPC and the producers for payment of their services. The latter company is searching for the imitation five whales it created, believed be somewhere on Malta, having found new clients for them.
Last December, a similarly ambitious enterprise failed for the same reasons, when the Delta Lloyd Bank pulled out of the Pleswin production company. Writer/producer Leon de Winter had launched his collaboration with former Orion head Eric Pleskow as a European film studio.
Delta Lloyd promised investors an impressive 40% return, but pulled out of Pleswin's four productions when Pleswin failed to provide the unconditional US bank guarantees it had promised. This is the last year that the Dutch tax scheme is valid in its present form: a reworked version with stricter rules for foreign investors is expected to be announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs later this year.