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02/04/2009

Wales Creative IP Fund Backs Rhys Ifans' Latest Lead Production

The Wales Creative IP Fund has invested in a £6 million feature film production starring Welsh actor Rhys Ifans in his portrayal of Howard Marks.
The film is an adaptation of the best-selling autobiography of Welsh-born Howard Marks who was jailed in the United States for drug smuggling. The fund has taken an equity stake in the production of Mr Nice with a £366,476 investment.
The production company, Independent, has spent a month filming in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, resulting in a direct economic benefit to the region of around £600,000. The production later moved to Spain to shoot the remaining scenes.
Managed by Finance Wales on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government, the Wales Creative IP Fund provides equity investment for feature films, television productions, new media and music projects.
A condition of the Fund's investment is for a proportion of the production's total budget to be spent directly in Wales. The investment also ensures the Fund benefits from any returns which are re-invested in future creative projects in Wales.
Rhys Ifans plays the lead in Mr Nice, which co-stars Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don't Cry) and David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). The film is based on the autobiography of the same name by Howard Marks who originated from Kenfig Hill in South Wales.
Bethan Bannister of the Wales Creative IP Fund said: "Through the investment, the Wales Creative IP Fund will be able to benefit from any box office and other associated future sales. This allows the Fund to invest in more film, television, new media and music projects in the future for the benefit of this important sector and the Welsh economy."
The film is directed and adapted for the screen by Bernard Rose (Candyman, Immortal Beloved and Anna Karenina) and produced by Independent's Luc Roeg, while the Spanish co-producers are Denise O'Dell and Mark Albela for Kanzaman Productions SA. The Fund is co-financing Mr Nice alongside Independent, Prescience and Lip Sync Productions LLP. Independent will also sell the film internationally and E1 Entertainment UK will release it in the UK.
Luc Roeg said: "We had a great experience shooting Mr Nice in Wales. We were able to use Wales for a wide range of locations and periods and we were ably supported by an excellent crew,"
Clive Jones, Chairman of the Wales Creative IP Fund's investment committee said: "For each investment we consider a range of important factors such as what the project will spend in Wales and the Welsh talent it will employ. In addition, we are looking for a return on our investment to ensure that we can re-invest in other creative projects in Wales."
The latest investment comes as Sky television prepares to premiere Skelig, a new feature length drama that the Wales Creative IP Fund has supported. Skelig tells the story of a boy who discovers a magical creature living in the garage of his new family home who could help his terminally ill sister.
To be screed on Sky 1 and Sky 1 HD on Easter Sunday, Skelig is based on the award-winning children's book of the same name by author David Almond and stars Oscar nominee Tim Roth, Kelly MacDonald and John Simm.
The IP Fund's £600,000 investment in the production meant that the drama's producers at FEEL Films brought the entire production to be shot in and around Cardiff at locations including Caerphilly Castle, Wenalit Woods and Canada Lakes in Llantrisant.
Producer Nick Hirschkorn said: "The enthusiastic support of the Wales Creative IP Fund coupled with the fantastic resources, great crews and perfect locations in and around Cardiff, and the close proximity to London made shooting in Wales an easy decision!"
(KMcA/BMcC)
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