TORONTO — Screen East, the regional agency that supports filmmaking in the East of Blighty, has gone into administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11, amid allegations that its finance manager has stolen money.
The government-backed agency announced Thursday that it would be shuttering its operations after employee Melvin Welton was arrested by local police on suspicion of theft.
Chief executive Laurie Hayward told local press that “the company is insolvent and can’t meet its debts as they fall due.”
He added: “The directors have taken advice and appointed an insolvency practitioner to take the company into administration. We’ve no further comment available at the time.”
Hayward was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
A police spokesman said: “Norfolk Constabulary can confirm that a 61-year-old man from Great Yarmouth has been arrested on suspicion of theft and released on bail pending further inquiries. As the investigation is in its early stages we are unable to comment further at this time.”
Screen East’s remit included promoting film and television production in the East of England, attracting investment by marketing locations in the area, facilities, skills and expertise.
The body also recently launched a £3.5 million ($5.4 million) low carbon digital production fund to promote greener lensing in the area.
Pics backed by the agency include Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill starrer “Dean Spanley,” which received $3.5 million from its funds, while Hollywood pics like “The Dark Knight” and “Stardust” have lensed in the area.
The collapse of the operation comes after Blighty’s government announced the decision to abolish the U.K. Film Council in July in a bid to reduced public spending.