Isle of Man takes 20% stake in U.K. studios group

LONDON — The Isle of Man government plans to merge its film arm, CinemaNX, into Pinewood Shepperton, and hand over running the island’s £25 million ($38 million) Media Development Fund to the studio group.

Under the proposed deal, the Isle of Man will take a stake of up to 19.9% in Pinewood Shepperton and CinemaNX execs, including founder-chairman Steve Christian, will join the studio group’s team.

The five-year deal is subject to regulatory and parliamentary approval in the Isle of Man, which is a tiny self-governing tax haven in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.

It has invested $263 million in 97 film and TV projects since 1995 as part of a strategic program to attract production to the island.

Key titles included “Waking Ned Devine,” “Me and Orson Welles,” “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” and “Chico & Rita.”

This policy was constructed and managed by Christian, a Manx accountant. In 2007, he joined forces with producer Marc Samuelson to launch CinemaNX, a production and distribution venture with a five-year deal to manage the Isle of Man’s investments in film and TV.

Samuelson, the creative topper, ankled CinemaNX last month to return to indie production, as part of a rethink of the Isle of Man’s strategy.

Eddie Teare, treasury minister for the Isle of Man government, said, “Developing an investment strategy with an established partner, which has an international reputation in film and TV, and in bringing production to the U.K., will help the island to build further upon the success that it has achieved in what is a growth sector for the world economy.”

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