By Humphrey Carter

HOLLYWOOD actor, Soller resident and backer of the first International Majorca Film Festival due to be held on the island next year, Colm Meaney, returned to the UK to continue filming his latest project yesterday an angry man after the Balearic government reneged on a three-year deal to help fund the most ambitious and professional film festival to have ever been held on the island.

The Majorca-based film director David Carreras is the director of the festival and yesterday he told the Bulletin that the situation is “quite unbelievable.” “We signed a collective agreement with the government, which they drew up, back in October and it was legally approved by all the necessary bodies. “However, since then they have not given us a cent of the 600'000 euros they were committed to investing into the festival this year. “Their contribution was 30 percent of the whole budget, the rest has come from private investors including ourselves who have taken out private loans. “I've put twenty years of hard work into this and we've already begun promoting the event. It was the main attraction with Colm Meany and the Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinata at the World Travel Market and I moved heaven and earth to organise a VIP reception and presentation to top international producers, distributors and actors etc at the Berlin Film Festival. But, all that has so far been paid for by us and without the government's money, the future of the festival is back up in the air unless we can reach a deal with the Ministry for Tourism or find some private investors to fill the gap,” he said yesterday.

Carreras will decide on Thursday if the MAIFF will take legal action against the government for breaking a legally binding agreement. “The Ministry for Tourism now tells us that the agreement was drawn up incorrectly. Well they drew it up, so let's sit down and resolve the issue. “Not only have they made a mockery of all the professionals involved like myself and Meaney, who really can't believe what's happened, the Spanish Film Academy, the Majorcan Hotel Association, The Majorcan Tourist Board, the Chamber of Commerce, Spanish and international film distributors and producers have already signed up and pledged their commitment, the government's made us look pretty stupid,” he said. “I just can't get my head round it. The government says it wants ideas and events to change the island's image, bring in investment, help boost the local film industry, decentralize the tourist industry and increase Majorca's international profile. “Well the film festival ticks all those boxes and they know it, they couldn't believe their luck when we first put our idea on the table and they've wasted no time over the past five months in cashing in on our promotional events which have so far been paid for by us,” he stressed.