Manx film stalwart Steve Christian quits Pinewood

Colour Me Kubrick filming - Steve Christian with actor John Malkovich

Colour Me Kubrick filming - Steve Christian with actor John Malkovich

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A stalwart of the island’s film industry is stepping down from his role in Pinewood.

Steve Christian has been a board member of the Pinewood Group since October 2012 and is also director of Pinewood Film Advisors Ltd.

An official announcement of his decision to step down from both roles is due to be made to Stock Exchange this week.

Mr Christian declined to comment.

It is thought his decision has been made for personal reasons not linked to continued criticism of the Pinewood deal by backbenchers in Tynwald and the House of Keys.

The Manx Independent also understands that Mr Christian will continue to identify future film projects but not in a formal capacity.

Treasury Minister Eddie Teare said: ‘This company is a plc and I therefore cannot comment.’

Former CinemaNX founder and chairman Mr Christian, has been responsible for overseeing the development of the Isle of Man’s film industry since 1995 and has completed the financing of well over 100 film and television projects.

Recent productions he has been involved with include Spooks: The Greater Good, Take Down, Pressure, Our Robot Overlords, Dom Hemingway, Belle, The Christmas Candle and Camera Trap.

Mr Christian joined the Pinewood board as executive director in 2012 when the studio took over the management of the Isle of Man’s £25m Media Development Fund and the Manx government took a 9.9 per cent stake in the Pinewood Group.

It was announced earlier this month that Treasury has sold half its shareholding in the studio, making a net profit of £2.5m.

Mr Christian will also step down from his role in Pinewood Pictures, based at Murdoch Chambers, South Quay, Douglas.

The company describes itself as the investment and content-owning division of Pinewood Shepperton plc.

Its website states: ‘As well as offering direct equity investment, Pinewood Pictures acts as fund advisor to both the Isle of Man Media Development Fund (£25m) and the Welsh Government’s Media Investment Budget (£30m).’

Pinewood Pictures is a trading name only and does not have directors.

Tynwald approved the Pinewood deal in June 2012. Pinewood Film Advisors Ltd was subsequenntly appointed to act as investment management for the Media Development Fund.

But questions have continued to be raised by Lib Van leader Kate Beecroft in Tynwald and the Keys about the Pinewood deal.

A Tynwald debate on a proposal to pull out of the Pinewood deal ended in farce this year. Mrs Beecroft had proposed that no further investment is made in the film industry, claiming the performance of the Media Development Fund had been ‘staggeringly bad’ and there could really be ‘no excuse for continuing with this farce’.

Mrs Beecroft pointed out Pinewood’s 2014 accounts show an annual management fee of £365,000 was paid to Pinewood Film Advisors, which in turn paid £336,000 for consultancy services to Manx-registered Gasworks Media, whose sole shareholder is Mr Christian.

But Acting Attorney General John Quinn told the court that supporting her motion could create a potential liability as if Treasury decided to pulled out of the deal it would still have to pay the management fee for the rest of the five year term – and there was also a risk Pinewood could sue for potential loss of future income.

Mrs Beecroft subsequently said she wished to withdraw her motion. But members threw out her request and the motion was then put to the vote - and unanimously rejected.

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