UK producer Simon Channing-Williams has been forced to postpone shooting on The Game Of Love And Loathing after funding from tax-driven financier Evolution Films failed to materialise.
The psychological thriller was expected to be in pre-production at the moment but it is now unclear how it will be financed. Evolution sparked controversy after it emerged that it was factoring in cast and crew deferrals, sometimes worth three times a production's cash budget. Evolution claims tax write-offs on the whole amount.
The Chester-based operation is in the process of putting together another tranche of funding after launching last year. But an Evolution spokesperson confirmed that the operation is yet to secure final Government tax clearance, although he noted that the claim had only recently been filed.
Evolution said that no deal had been signed on Love And Loathing, although industry observers argue that not having a signed deal is not unusual at pre-production stage. "For our purposes a deal must be signed before we can release money," the spokesperson said. "Everybody who has been contracted has been paid."
The spokesperson said that no new contracts had been signed this year, adding that Evolution is now re-working its film operation. The Chester-based company, founded by chartered accountant Andrew Tate, is assembling a film selection panel. Earlier this month it ended its relationship with Alan Lowne, who was acting as a consultant.
The spokesperson said that last week's three-year extension of the UK's section 48 tax breaks - which allow a 100% first year write-off on UK films under £15m - meant that the company could better plan its strategy. He added that its investors were also concerned about the threatened actor's strike.
Sources close to Love And Loathing are still optimistic that the production will go pre-strike, possibly with Evolution. The £2m production is to be directed by Tony Fisher.
Despite the sky-high level of Evolution's deferrals compared to its cash budgets, Evolution films shot so far have been thin on heavyweight feature talent. Nevertheless, the company has provided cash for now-completed productions such as Al's Lads, a comedy with Richard Roundtree and Ricky Tomlinson, and Arthur's Dyke, starring Pauline Quirke.