The vice president of Portugal's national film institute ICAM abruptly resigned last weekend, launching accusations that ICAM could default on outstanding debt worth upwards of Euros 30m.
In a three-page letter sent to the Ministry of Culture and cited in all of the country's major newspapers, the former vice president Jose Pedro Ribeiro said the institute was experiencing a "very serious" financial crisis which could lead it to default on monies owed to producers.
Ribeiro's resignation came after the country's leading producer, Paulo Branco, publicly threatened legal action if ICAM did not settle outstanding funds owed his company, the Lisbon-based Madragoa Filmes.
Pedro Berhan da Costa, president of ICAM, responded to Ribeiro's accusations, claiming the amount owed was closer to Euros 5m and would be paid off as soon as the institute received advertising revenues owed by broadcasters. Two-thirds of ICAM's budget comes by law from TV advertising revenues.
In more positive news, producer-distributor Costa do Castelo plans to open director Leonel Vieira's ambitious Amazon-set film The Jungle wide in Portugal on November 1. The film has the support of public broadcaster RTP and private sponsorship from gas company GALP, and will be screened in major chains including AMC, Warner-Lusomundo and UCI.