Film-makers ask widow for £2,000 Mar 18 2004
Aled Blake, The Western Mail
AN ELDERLY widow found herself in the realms of major film investors after she was mistakenly sent a letter from a British movie company asking her to help fund a movie.
Elinor Curtis, 83, from Dunvant near Swansea, was sent the letter from Grosvenor Films, asking if she wanted a prospectus for her to provide a minimum of £2,000 towards the film Messages.
It comes after British film-makers have been hit by a change in the tax system.
The Inland Revenue has shut a loophole which offered tax relief to film investors, fearing it was being abused.
It is claimed the change in policy could immediately remove 30% of the funding which is assumed to be available to back film productions.
Mrs Curtis's son Peter said, "My mother is 84 in April, she lives on a widow's pension and like every pensioner who has been investing over the years she has a small nest egg.
"But nothing would tempt her to invest in the British film industry, she watches television and her favourite programme is Neighbours, which she watches twice a day.
"The last film we took her to was Catch Me If You Can.
"It looks like they are desperate after the Government withdrew the tax loophole. They are trying to find any way of financing British films and in a way, who can blame them?"
The letter, signed by David Fairman, Grosvenor Films' managing director, gives a brief of the plot of Messages, a supernatural thriller.
It reads, "Following the successful launch of their prospectus and raising the minimum amount, Grosvenor Films announce the extension of the offer for up to £2m under the enterprise investment scheme until April 5, 2004, to fund the production of their new feature film, Messages.
"Unusually for a British film, an established UK film distributor, Blue Dolphin and Video, have already agreed to distribute Messages to UK cinemas.
"They believe this film 'has tremendous potential in all markets'.
"The film is the story of a pathologist who solves a murder mystery.
"It deals with similar themes to the long-standing and successful US TV series Quincy, which was made into 148 one-hour episodes, and Silent Witness, which is now in its sixth series on UK TV."
The letter says all investors are invited to a pre-production party, a visit to the set, and to a gala premiere at a "major London venue" followed by a celebrity cocktail party.
Film-makers ask widow for £2,000
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