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Kahukura coin woes put four pix in doubt

Film commission seeks solution

AUCKLAND — Work on four Kiwi films has halted as the production company making them struggles with money troubles.

The New Zealand Film Commission, the pics’ main backer, took the unusual step of issuing a statement Thursday saying that Wellington-based Kahukura Prods. was experiencing financial difficulties and that the futures of “Kombi Nation,” “Aidiko Insane,” “For Good” and “Crime Story” are in doubt.

Commish chairman Alan Sorrell said warning flags were raised “some weeks ago,” and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is investigating the matter, had declared there was “cause for serious concern.”

Sorrell said the commission had sought a solution to ensure the future of the productions but had “reluctantly concluded that these efforts do not appear likely to succeed.”

Prolific producer

Kahukura’s founder, Larry Parr, is one of the country’s most prolific producers, whose credits reach back to Roger Donaldson’s 1977 thriller “Sleeping Dogs.”

The latest strife, which Sorrell describes as “a tragedy,” follows a long climb back to credibility for Parr, whose Mirage Entertainment went bust in the late 1980s after its French partner pulled out of a co-production of “A Soldier’s Tale,” a big-budget adaptation of a classic Kiwi novel starring Gabriel Byrne and Marianne Basler.

In recent years, Parr has been one of the primary architects of a series of ultra-low-budget films and has led scriptwriting seminars designed to encourage young Maori filmmakers.

Parr was not available for comment, but Sorrell said that shooting had just wrapped on “Crime Story,” starring Cliff Curtis (“Collateral Damage”).

Post-prod’n decisions postponed

Decisions on whether post-production will proceed on “Crime Story,” “Aidiko Insane” and “For Good” have been postponed.

“Kombi Nation” is completed, but delivery has been held up because creditors, including music copyright holders and post-production facilities, are unpaid.

“Any post-production will need to be completed under fresh arrangements,” said Sorrell.

One of the producers and the director of “Aidiko Insane” and “For Good” are due at the Cannes Film Festival this week to promote the films.