Steve Christian, the founder of the Isle of Man’s film investment program CinemaNX and former Pinewood Pictures exec, has died suddenly at the age of 53.
The well-respected industry veteran, who most recently co-produced Fox Searchlight’s Untitled A.A. Milne Project with Damian Jones, held a number of government positions on the Isle of Man, a small self-governing low-taxed financial center in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, before turning to the entertainment business.
In 2007, Christian, a Manx accountant, paired up with producer Marc Samuelson to launch CinemaNX, a production and distribution venture that managed the Isle of Man’s investments in the film and television sectors. It backed titles such as Me and Orson Welles, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Chico & Rita, Belle and Dom Hemingway.
In 2012, the Isle of Man government merged CinemaNX into Pinewood Shepperton, handing over £25M ($31M) of the island’s Media Development Fund to the group in return a 19% stake in Pinewood. Under the deal, Christian joined Pinewood’s team as a director and board member. He stepped down from that role in 2015.
Most recently, he co-produced the Untitled A.A. Milne Project with Jones. The film, which is currently in post production, is directed by Simon Curtis and stars Margot Robbie and Domhnall Gleeson in a story about the life of the famous Brit author and the inspiration behind his creation of Winnie the Pooh.
Speaking on local radio, former Isle of Man Treasury Minister Eddie Teare said of Christian and his efforts: “It benefited us all and the way that he worked selflessly and tried to further the interests of the island, in that respect he was one of a kind. I don’t think anybody would be able to deliver what he delivered to the island in terms of profile, in terms of revenue for the government and in terms of trying to expand the economy.”
Pinewood Pictures’ Robert Norris said: “We are all deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and former colleague Steve Christian. He brought a great deal of vision, energy and enthusiasm to both the Isle of Man media industry and the wider film and TV community. He will be sorely missed.”