The Technology and Creative Industries team of Midlands based law firm Thursfields recently advised Ghost Dog Films in connection with their second feature film.

The film, as yet un-named, follows the ever popular horror genre, and will be shot in a series of atmospheric locations throughout Shropshire.

Working with the film’s producers and their accountant, Phillip Rolle from Stanley Yule Accountants based in Kings Norton, Birmingham, Thursfields advised on the film’s prospectus, the structure of the investment and the application to HMRC for advance clearance. The film’s producer, Amanda Murray, had already secured a significant level of interest from a number of potential investors. To make the investment more attractive, Ghost Dog Films took advantage of the government’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to protect the investors’ interests and better promote the success of the project. The SEIS scheme was introduced in 2012 to offer tax incentives to investors to help stimulate entrepreneurship and complements the long running EIS scheme which was established in 1994. Both schemes are a lifeline for new business start-ups especially as many companies struggle to secure finance from main stream lenders at competitive rates.

Senior Tax Consultant Phillip Rolle guided the project through HMRC’s strict EIS and SEIS criteria and successfully gained HMRC clearance. Thursfields’ Technology and Creative Industries team, led by Stuart Price, then engaged with the investors to create the necessary documents for the investment and ensure compliance with the SEIS and EIS rules.

Stuart commented: “Whilst the SEIS and EIS schemes provide an excellent mechanism for investment, they are not without their pitfalls and anyone looking to set up one of these schemes, or invest in a business which is using a scheme, must take proper tax and legal advice from professionals who are aware of the criteria. It is vital to ensure that before making or accepting any investment, the details of the scheme, funding structure and prospectus are submitted to, and approved by, HMRC. Investors should ask to see the clearance to satisfy themselves that the scheme is compliant before parting with their investment and remain actively involved to ensure that the qualifying conditions are maintained throughout the duration of their investment”.

The project is currently in pre-production, with casting well underway and filming due to commence in April.

The film’s producer Amanda Murray said: “Stuart and Philip have been fundamental in helping us get our film project off the page and into production. The advice we received was invaluable. There’s a great deal to think about when raising money through these tax schemes and their professionalism and experience guided us through the process seamlessly.”

Thursfields Solicitors regularly advise film, radio and TV producers, along with musicians and record labels, in connection with the creation, protection and commercialisation of their creative endeavours.

For more details please contact Stuart Price at sprice@thursfields.co.uk or on 0121 227 3867.

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