This article was corrected on July 8, 1993. Law firm Heenan Blaikie collaborated with other firms on legal work for Alliance Communications’ “Black Robe” and its TV series “E.N.G.,” a relationship that was unclear in the June 24 story on Heenan Blaikie’s new Beverly Hills office. Also, Paragon Entertainment, mentioned in the story, is producing “Wyatt Earp” in association with Tig Prods.
Canada’s leading entertainment lawfirm, Heenan Blaikie, has opened a Beverly Hills office to cash in on co-production possibilities and guide American investors in exploiting Canada’s federal tax-shelter system.
Veteran Los Angeles attorneys Daniel H. Black and Jeffrey Berkowitz, formerly with the L.A. lawfirm Richman Lawrence, were hired to run the new office.
Berkowitz noted that Canada is one of the few countries left offering a tax shelter. If productions meet Canadian co-production standards, tax shelter investors can supply up to 8% of a production budget.
“The reason we’ve opened an office in L.A., is our perception of the way the film and TV market is going,” said Michael Prupas, an attorney at the Montreal headquarters. “It’s become a very international business. L.A. companies are more and more tuned into that type of international co-prod expertise … what it takes to put five or six entities as financial backers to a single project.”
Heenan Blaikie’s goal is also to get Americans to shoot north of the border in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in Canadian “state-of-the-art production facilities with quality crews,” Black noted.
Black said they are promoting the firm’s capacity to find both venues and partners, as well as advise on the reputations of potential Canadian partners.
Heenan Blaikie was founded in Montreal and set up offices in Toronto and Vancouver. Their attorneys have been the architects of some of the more complex co-production deals with European countries and co-ventures with Americans.
Heenan Blaikie, a full-service lawfirm, handled litigation for Alliance Communications on its Canada/Australia feature “Black Robe.” On the TV front, it also handled Alliance’s licensing of popular series “E.N.G.” to the U.S. Cable Network, according to Prupas.
Heenan Blaikie counts amongits clients some of the biggest film and TV operations in Canada and Quebec, including Astral Inc., Max Films (producers of “Jesus of Montreal”), Paragon Entertainment (associate producers of Tig Prods.’ upcoming “Wyatt Earp”), and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
It also represents the Royal Bank of Canada.
Heenan Blaikie has an ability to “access government funds around the world and use co-prod treaties” from various countries, said Prupas.
Canada alone has 26 co-production treaties in which Americans can potentially profit.