Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Can It Be Done?

Have you heard of "Canbedone Productions" before the film that is apparently due to be made in Jersey, apparently starting shooting this month? I hadn't, so I decided to do a little research into matters. What follows is all on websites, in the public domain.

Company Information

According to Open Corporates company information, we have Canbedone Productions Limited
Incorporation Date 24 August 2004 (over 9 years ago)
C/o Lewis Co 19 Goodge Street Bloomsbury, London, England, United Kingdom

https://opencorporates.com/companies/gb/05213572

Meanwhile Company Check comes up with:

http://companycheck.co.uk/company/05213572

No telephone number available. No email address available. No contact person available.
Reg Office: C/o Lewis Co 19 Goodge Street Bloomsbury, London, England, United Kingdom

That is a bit of a dead end, as Lewis & Co,19-19A Goodge Street, London are listed as accountants. In other words, it is a forwarding address. Obviously there must be an email address and phone number, but it is not prominent. Perhaps there is a website somewhere as well, but if there is, I can't find it.

Contrast this with Hand Made Films at http://www.handmadefilms.com, and even while that website is under reconstruction, it has an email address, and an office which doesn't look like a forwarding address.

Keith Cavele, Director

Perhaps, I thought, it would be possible to look at the record of the director. As mentioned in the Jersey Evening Post:

"Keith Cavele, who has written the script and helped to secure a £200,000 grant from Economic Development to fund pre-production costs, has been reinstated as director having previously been removed to take on the role of producer."

It does beg the question of who removed him, and who reinstated him? Who is running the show?

But let's stick with Mr Cavele. According to the Internet Movie Database, the director of Canbedone Productions, Keith Cavele has a track record of making some films as producer, not director, but hardly memorable ones, and not any recent ones:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0147055/

Lauren's Journal: Stand Tall (2009) (TV Movie documentary) (producer)
Split Second (1992) (executive producer)
Hawks (1988) (producer)
The American Way (1986) supervising producer)
Terminal Choice (1985) associate producer)
The Golden Lady (1979) (producer)
Queen Kong (1976) executive producer)

None of these seem to have been made by Canbedone Productions, which does not seem to actually have any films to its name. Of course, I might just have been unable to trace them, but it seems strange they have been so reticent about their past successes. Remember that the Company Record says incorporated: 24 August 2004 (over 9 years ago). This is not a company just set up for one film last year.

Split Second

So let us look at a few of the details and reviews. On "Split Second", which was filmed in 1992, and had Keith Cavele as executive producer (not director), Stephen Jones, a film script editor, notes that:

"Executive Producer Keith Cavele owned the rights to the classic Moody Blues song 'Nights in White Satin', which is why it incongruously turns up on the soundtrack. "

http://www.stephenjoneseditor.com/movie1992-splitsecond01.htm 

Queen Kong Lives

There is more information about Mr Cavele on "Queen Kong Lives", which was filmed in 1976 given at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100404015417/http://www.queenkonglives.com/castcrewalpha.html

This tells us:

Keith Cavele (executive producer): The former London rep of Frank Agrama's Italian company FAR Films, his first producer credit was Exposé and he also worked on The Burning, Golden Lady, Terminal Choice, Split Second and Hawks. Cavele (aka Keith Cavelle aka Keith Stewart Clark) was later involved in another legal case regarding a late 1980s attempt to film Neuromancer. He recently wrote, directed and produced a children's fantasy called Knights of Impossingworth Park, starring Ben Kingsley, about a "12-year-old girl who possesses humor, inner strength, and bravery beyond her years. Unknown to her she has been selected by a 1,000-year-old knight to be a defender of justice and a protector of children."

You may spot a name there - "Knights of Impossingworth Park", which curiously is almost exactly the same name as the film in Jersey, as the JEP notes:

 "Film producers Canbedone Ltd have been given a £200,000 grant of taxpayers' money towards the costs of creating 'Knights of Impossingworth' in Jersey and could start filming within months."

"The creators of Crystal Island, which was formerly known as Knights of Impossingworth"

Paul Cowan

Also associated with Keith Cavele is Paul Cowan, who is also listed as a director of Canbedone Productions.

http://www.ccdni.com/director-paul-william-cowan

"PAUL WILLIAM COWAN has been employed at CANBEDONE PRODUCTIONS LTD since 2004.08.24 currently as a Director (FILM PRODUCER)."

The notes on "Queen Kong Lives" tell us:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100404015417/http://www.queenkonglives.com/castcrewalpha.html

Paul Cowan (production manager)

Cowan also served as production manager on Vampyres, Exposé and The Lifetaker before moving up to production duties in the 1980s on films such as Dance with a Stranger, We Think the World of You, The Krays, The Crying Game, Backbeat and The Pope Must Die. He recently produced Knights of Impossingworth Park with Keith Cavele. The Inaccurate Movie Database has him confused with a Canadian documentary maker of the same name.

Knights of Impossingworth Park

Here is the listing of both with a very similar title to the Jersey film

Knights of Impossingworth Park

http://movies.toptenreviews.com/reviews/mr169896.htm

And sure enough, Mr Cavele is listed along with Paul Cowan.

Here is a bit more on "Queen Kong", which is worth noting because it shows how movie finance can be very precarious indeed. This is the film which had Keith Cavele as producer.

http://www.alienexperience.com/forum/index.php?topic=588.0;prev_next=prev#new

"Queen Kong (1976, UK) - Most sources list Queen Kong as Anglo-Italian, but this is very debatable. The original announcement at the Cannes Film Festival trumpeted the film as a Franco-Italian co-production between Andr? Genoves' company La Boetie (Paris) and Virgilio De Blasi's company Canaria (Rome). It was to be shot in the UK but that did not affect the film's nationality. (Star Wars was shot entirely in the UK the same year, but that's hardly a British movie!).

In order to make the film, Frank Agrama set up an independent British company -Dexter Films (London) - and this, together with the use of a British cast and crew, qualified Queen Kong for Eady money, a government funding scheme which was discontinued shortly afterwards (the Eady Levy was a tax on cinema tickets which was ploughed back into the British film industry). There was no commercial British funding of the film, nor did Agrama put any of his own money into it.

While the film was in post-production, in August 1976, Genoves announced that he could not in fact afford his half of the production costs. Dexter Films had "cash-flow problems" so co-producer Keith Cavele, according to a contemporary report in Screen International, told the Frenchman that if he didn't stump up the money by 20th August, he would "take advantage of an alternative source".

Ah, but here's where it gets really complicated. The original set-up had Agrama as producer, De Blasi as executive producer, Keith Cavele as co-producer and Genoves with a 'presents...' credit. The finished film retains Agrama's credit and Genoves' credit but omits De Blasi entirely and promotes Cavele to executive producer. This does not square with the above information since it suggests that it was De Blasi, rather than Genoves, who reneged on his financial commitments.

Extensive publicity material which was prepared for a German release (although the film appears to have had only one trade screening in that country) calls Queen Kong "Eine produktion der Cine Art Pictures, M?nchen und Dexter Films, London." It is therefore reasonable to assume that the "alternative source" mentioned by Cavele was Cine Art (which some people have assumed to be an Italian company but which was, as can be seen, actually based in Munich). However, there is no mention of Cine Art anywhere in the credits of the film as released. Italian publicity material meanwhile just calls the film "A Dexter Films Production, London" - but Italian films of this period are notorious for disguising any domestic involvement. "

Knights of Impossingworth Park (2005)

Directed by: Keith Cavelle (Split Second, Golden Lady)
Written by: Keith Cavelle

This did exist on the Internet Movie Database, but has since vanished. Ben Kingsley was listed as appearing, but it appears nowhere on his entry on the IMDB.

http://web.archive.org/web/20060205041816/http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0422586/

Status: Pre-production
Status Updated: 15 January 2005
Note: Since this project is categorized as being in production, the data is subject to change; some data could be removed completely.

http://web.archive.org/web/20060618024801/http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0422586/

Status: Unknown
Status Updated: 30 April 2006
Since this project is categorized as being in production, the data is subject to change; some data could be removed completely.

By December 2006, it had vanished completely from IMDB

It is also mentioned on this website as "films under development" on http://www.christopherpetersent.com/

Christopher Peters is currently co-producing the film "Knights of Impossingworth Park", a US-China Co-production in association with Shenhart Entertainment a LA-Beijing based production company. Shooting entirely on mainland China, the film is an epic adventure in which two immortal knights compete for the survival of children of the world and the future of mankind.

 http://cinema.theiapolis.com/movie-0HFS/knights-of-impossingworth-park/ 

"Knights of Impossingworth Park" is 2005 Family film directed and written by Keith Cavele , starring Renee Casati, Dale Midkiff, Laurie Holden, Valerie Tian, Callum Blue and Jonathan Lipnicki."

Ben Kingsley seems to have vanished from the list.

But he pops up again in the mention of the film in the Liverpool Echo of May 2008:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/olympic-goal-for-lauren-3486873

Lauren's proud mum Carol today also revealed the astonishing international success of Stand Tall would see it become the soundtrack of a new Hollywood blockbuster. The song will feature in the title track of The Knights of Impossingworth Park, which stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Jackie Chan.

Incidentally, Jackie Chan's entry on IMDB doesn't mention the blockbuster either.

Conclusions

It is not impossible for a relatively unknown film company, or a relatively obscure director, to come out of the blue and produce some blockbuster. But more often or not, it does not happen.

Whether or not there ever was a previous version of "The Knights of Impossingworth Park" in 2005, or in 2008 (according to the Liverpool echo), it does not seem to have been a "Hollywood blockbuster". There is no record on the filmography of the stars in it ever having been in it, and it never seems to have advanced in status from pre-production on IMDB, before being removed altogether.

Of the few entries I have tracked down, while Keith Cavelle does have a history as a producer of films, even the most generous of movie critics would hardly describe them as "blockbusters".  The most recent "Split Second" is over a decade ago. What has Mr Cavelle been doing since?

Canbedone Productions has been incorporated for nine years (ten this year), but I can find no promotional website for it, and no list of films it has been involved with during that time.

All of these raise concerns about whether the movie which is currently seeing auditions will ever see the light of day, and whether it will prove to be a "Hollywood Blockbuster". They are questions which seem to have evaded Economic Developments, and perhaps the Minister would be able to examine the paperwork, and furnish the particulars which my own investigation has failed to turn up.

Stop Press:
Also worth reading is the Scrutiny Public Accounts Committee report on the matter published last year
http://goo.gl/jY6Ijs

5 comments:

EPAK Chap said...

Thank you for your very detailed analysis.

In the light of taxpayers money being handed over to this Gentleman, this article in the Scottish Herald needs to be explained.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/producer-stole-5000-1.766714


Could there be 2 Film Producing Keith Cavele's ?

Could Senator MaClean let us know?

Could Constable Crowcroft ask him at the next auditions at the Town Hall?

EPAK Chap said...

Thank you for your very detailed analysis.

In the light of taxpayers money being handed over to this Gentleman, this article in the Scottish Herald needs to be explained.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/producer-stole-5000-1.766714


Could there be 2 Film Producing Keith Cavele's ?

Could Senator MaClean let us know?

Could Constable Crowcroft ask him at the next auditions at the Town Hall?

Nick Palmer said...

I'd done a bit of Googling on Cavele/Cavelle but not as much as you. Nevertheless, what I saw (IMHO) meant that we shouldn't have touched this project with a barge pole.

Don't Economic Ministries do due diligence?

Yellowsuit said...

You have unearthed the larger story here. Was there an attempt to make this film before? If so, what happened to the money invested? How can one produce a film without other staff and crew? Even the most meagerly budgeted films have casting directors, production managers, assistant directors, designers, camera people and more, at least two months before shooting. Where are they? The taxpayers have been taken for a ride, I'm afraid.

Roisin said...

Keith Cavele claims to own the 'rights' to the legendary track Nights in White Satin, which I find hard to believe as the song was written, produced and performed by Justin Hayward and the Moody Blues. Since Justin and the Moody Blues are still very much playing, I would very much doubt that this is true.
A previous Cavel film was 'Queen Kong' about a larger than houses Gorilla. He was sued for infringements on that. What a surprise ???