Freeway maintains that it has received mostly positive feedback from clients.
In May, the UK Film Council sold collection account management company the National Film Trustee Company (NFTC) to Freeway Entertainment Group. Now, some rights holders have come forward to complain about extra costs they say Freeway are levying on them.
The NFTC, formed in 1971, administered revenues for more than 450 films.
After the take-over, Freeway is understood to have asked rights-holders to pay a one-time charge of $3,970 (£2,500) toward the expenses of administering a collection account. This is intended as an advance against future collection account fees received by Freeway and is recoupable.
Certain rghts-holders who entered into agreements with the NFTC when it was still a Government-owned body are unhappy that the rules regarding their contracts now appear to have shifted.
“All our collection agreements are confidential and we are not in a position to discuss any financial matters in relation to those agreements,” Gadi Wildstrom, managing director of Freeway Entertainment, told Screen.
Wildstrom added that Freeway incurs costs in managing collection accounts. “We want to recoup those costs like any other service provider would do.” He pointed out that clients who felt they were being mistreated were free to go elsewhere and that Freeway has been receiving “posiive feedback” from the vast majority of the clients it inherited. “(They) are extremely happy with the service we provide and the modernised way we do it.”
Rights-holders from smaller budget British films who’ve been disputing the charges from Freeway declined to speak on the record. However, some have made their unhappiness clear and may now look to extract their films from Freeway.
Contacted this week, the UK Film Council declined to give details of the terms it struck with Freeway for the sale of the NFTC. The UKFC and Freeway are understood to have signed non-disclosure agreements about the deal.