Motion Investment Group, the busiest Belgian tax shelter fund, has reinvented itself as uMedia, embracing distribution, visual effects and co-production. The new group has established a Belgian distribution company, which has already picked up its first dozen titles. These include controversial €20 million French film Outside the Law, which plays In Competition here a week on Friday. MIG helped finance Outside the Law through its tax shelter scheme, as it did every other title on its initial release slate. Other titles include three animated features: Europacorp’s CGI cartoon A Monster In Paris, directed by Shark Tale director Bibo Bergeron; German cartoon Little Big Panda, helmed by ex-Disney animator Greg Manwaring; and British Second World War satire Jackboots On Whitehall.
MFX, the London-based visual effects firm, has gone into an uFX joint venture with its Belgian partner. This visual effects company’s credits include Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist, Chemical Wedding and Shane Meadows’ This Is England. “This has come from organic growth. We want to do things step-by-step,” co-CEO Adrian Politowski tells me.
To some extent, this is just a rebranding rather than an injection of new capital. MIG and MFX are going to save money by sharing back office functions, for example. MIG has co-produced and helped finance 85 films, raising €110 million over the past 6 years. It raises €50 million a year financing 25-30 films. The scheme has co-financed over €500 million worth of production, working with directors including Paul Verhoeven (Black Book), Marleen Gorris (Within the Whirlwind) and Andrei Konchalovsky (Gloss). More than €600 million has been raised through the Belgian tax break since 2004. This has stimulated the Belgian film industry to such an extent that Belgium now produces more films than the UK.