Marc and Peter Samuelson's Samuelson Productions has optioned the bestselling series of Stormbreaker childrens' books as the first projects in a groundbreaking development deal with the Isle of Man's newly-launched£125 million film scheme.
The six-title series about a 14 year-old orphan trained as an MI6 secret agent is written and to be adapted by Anthony Horowitz, author of Samuelson's Cannes market title The Gathering.
The Samuelson's three year deal with the Isle of Man provides overheads and investment worth 25% of budgets. The island is taking an equity position and the Samuelsons keep distribution rights. "We had an enormous fight to get hold of these rights," said Marc Samuelson. "It's a big, commercial project."
The Isle of Man this year dramatically boosted its film support scheme, which has attracted 32 features to the island in seven years including The Gathering, I Capture The Castle and Waking Ned.
The island's film commission is styling itself as a commercial venture armed with Government funds worth£125m over the next seven to eight years.
"We are not a flash in the pan," said the Isle of Man's Steve Christian. "This is a longterm commitment." The commission was granted£25 million in Treasury funds this year, with most of the remainder coming as the Exchequer re-invests in the scheme according to the level of inward investment.
The island, which is putting the finishing touches to a sound stage, requires films to spend at least half their shooting schedule and 20% of their below the line costs locally. "This is a fantastic example of how to come up with funding so people make films rather than financing schemes," said Peter Samuelson.