Red ink casts shadow over future of Mannerheim biopic project
Finnvera calling in debt
The project aimed at producing a biographical feature film about Marshall Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, who commanded the Finnish Defence Forces in the last war, is experiencing serious difficulties. The state-owned investment company Finnvera is calling in a debt of EUR 1.2 million from the companies involved in the project.
The sum is so great that the companies involved in the production, which were already experiencing financial difficulties, could face bankruptcy.
Finnvera initiated the procedures at the North Savo District Court already in April. The companies did not respond to the summons in any way.
In June the court had ordered the companies Liberty Invest and Liberty Production to pay Finnvera EUR 1.2 million.
Liberty Production is a company set up specifically to produce the Mannerheim biopic. It received a loan of EUR 1.5 million from Nordea Bank in 2010, and the state-owned Finnvera put up a guarantee covering 80 per cent of the loan.
The loan had been intended to cover the costs of the shooting of the film, which was to have begun in Hungary in 2010.
A key function of Finnvera is to guarantee loans for start-up companies.
Liberty Invest is another company that was set up for the production of the film. According to the Trade Register, Liberty Production is owned 100 per cent by Liberty Invest. The only shareholder, according to the Trade Register, is film producer Markus Selin.
The original aim of the setup was to sell shares of Liberty Invest to investors joining the project.
“We cannot give out any other information than what we get from the District Court”, says Pauli Heikkilä, managing director of Finnvera.
“In a situation in which a customer does not take care of obligations, efforts are made to collect. Sometimes it happens through the courts. Usually we are very patient”, Heikkilä says.
Liberty Production has constantly suffered from liquidity problems, with numerous disruptions in payment since 2009. Such situations often lead to bankruptcy, with either a creditor, or tax authorities submitting the applications.
Liberty Production faced the threat of bankruptcy in late 2009 and early 2010 when tax authorities sought to collect EUR 36,000 from the company. The bankruptcy application was withdrawn when the company paid off the debt.
Producer Selin was asked by Helsingin Sanomat if the unpaid debt might jeopardise the whole film project.
“Quite a few things can jeopardise it. This is an unfortunate matter, but we cannot turn into money”, Selin says, adding: “If the intention would have been to throw in the towel, it would have been thrown in five years ago.”
Are the companies behind the Mannerheim film in danger of going into bankruptcy?
“I have not heard of any such danger. I believe that this is a normal security measure from Finnvera.”
Previously in HS International Edition:
New financing puts Mannerheim movie project back on track (15.2.2010)
Production of Mannerheim film facing further troubles (17.12.2009)
Dome Karukoski will produce Mannerheim film with a smaller budget than Renny Harlin (25.10.2011)
Director Harlin pulls out of Mannerheim film; producer Selin continues with project (23.5.2011)
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (Wikipedia)