Serious allegations against the Auditor General: "Destroys the Audiovisual Industry for the sake of political games"
They accuse Odysseas Michailidis of amateurism and political motives - The producers of the film about mudslinging in Justice - "Millions are in danger of being lost for Cyprus"
The producers of the film JIU JITSU, which was shot in 2019, expressed their strong dissatisfaction with the "findings" of the Auditor General's report in relation to the Audiovisual Industry Promotion Plan in Cyprus, which include inaccurate, non-existent and false data. , Dimitris Logothetis and Kris Economidis, in the context of online information to media representatives.
"It is not easy to be called to oppose one of the leading institutions of the Republic, but in fact we are forced to respond to the Auditor General Odysseas Michailidis, and to the" findings "of his report", said Dimitris Logothetis and Chris Economides , wondering whether the data included "arise solely out of ignorance". "We are also forced to respond", they also noted "because in the same Report, people who tried to offer in their place are offended and insulted, but in the end they are treated as traitors, without even being given the opportunity to speak".
Noting that "it would not be an exaggeration to say that due to the Auditor's report, the collapse and leveling of the Audiovisual Industry in Cyprus is at stake, before it even starts", the producers of the film JIU JITSU stressed that with all the non-existent and In the report, we are confident that the Auditor General is sacrificing this Industry that has so much to offer, as a collateral loss for the sake of political games, an act that is criminal to us. "
On the essence of the Plan, Dimitris Logothetis and Kris Economidis cited as an example the film JIU JITSU, which they undertook the production. As they said, “the total benefit for the state from direct and indirect taxes amounted to € 8.6 million. The return of cash from the state to the production of the film was € 7.6 million. In other words, the state had a total economic benefit of € 960 thousand. "For those who have the required knowledge, the Cyprus Plan for the Audiovisual Industry is one of the best in the world and not only does not burden the state coffers, but strengthens them."
They also noted that “although according to the European Directive on which the Plan was based, local expenditure could be reduced to 20%, we not only committed to 30% at the essential time of the application, but in practice and as it states in his report the Auditor General (diagram p. 50), the purely intra-Republic expenditures, amounted to 35%. ”
However, they characteristically stressed, "the sponsors of the film, brought by the producers, are still waiting to be reimbursed according to the cash return measure of the Plan". In what Mr. Economidis said, “Dimitris Logothetis and the other producers kept what they promised, while the State did not. In addition, the Auditor General has exacerbated the already tense situation with the alleged findings of his report. "
"Until now, the money related to the film is only that of the investors who went or go, for the most part, to Cypriot service providers and employees as well as to taxes for the benefit of the Republic of Cyprus. In addition, the resulting tax on the investment was paid in advance and in full, regardless of the outcome of the film, so the State is guaranteed ", the producers of the film clarified.
"Unfortunately, no one in the state machine is able to technically evaluate such a Plan and the report of the Audit Office proves it. The Auditor General's simplistic suggestion of copying what is happening in other countries is a dangerous approach, as each country has its own peculiarity, background, capabilities, tradition and history. We propose the appointment of an independent auditor, who, using the case of our film, will judge whether the Plan is beneficial for the Republic of Cyprus or not ", they noted.
About culture and quality
Apart from the financial benefits, however, said Dimitris Logothetis and Chris Economidis, "because it seems that the Auditor General's reports now have a cultural content, it is worth remembering that the film JIU JITSU brought in contact 204 Cypriots with about 86 foreign professionals , from 25 different countries. Is not the transfer of knowledge on a very specialized subject an important form of Culture? "If the Audit Office considers as cultural criteria only anything related to Cypriot stories or that develops only in Cypriot landscapes, we wonder how many requests from international producers there could be."
At the same time, they expressed their particular concern about the inclusion, in an official report of an Institution of the Republic, of comments from unknown individuals which were published on social networking platforms. "Really, how professional are the report's findings in terms of the quality of the film based on the comments of 45 strangers who had time to review the Rotten Tomatoes page and 98 other people who wrote on the IMDb page?" A few years ago, they said, “the $ 90 million production, The Promise, which had as its main theme the Armenian genocide, before it was even shown, received tens of thousands of bad ratings and Cretans from users. As a result, its rating on the above platforms was very low and its quality questionable. I think we all know where and from whom the specific criticisms came from. "
"The Auditor General creates negative impressions by showing the rating from the above comments, but nowhere does he mention that the movie JIU JITSU reached the 4th place on Netflix USA with an audience of 200 million subscribers and has surpassed the BFG movie of the well-known director. Steven Spielberg, which is in 8th place on the popular platform. He also chose to ignore the fact that the producer and director Dimitris Logothetis has already been asked to proceed immediately with the creation of the film JIU JITSU 2 ", they said.
Departure of D. Logothetis
In the context of the briefing, Mr. Economides pointed out that “as it is known, Dimitris Logothetis had in mind to make a second film, entitled MAN OF WAR. However, this is no longer the case, as no bank in Cyprus accepts the required certificate, nor does it trust the Republic of Cyprus. Unfortunately, after the report of the Audit Office, the relevant Plan is judged by everyone to be unreliable. Mr. Logothetis is preparing an application in Louisiana, New Orleans, where he will shoot the film MAN OF WAR. For him, Cyprus unfortunately closed. At the same time, the doors were closed for three other films that he had in mind to bring to Cyprus, with a total value of $ 120 million, as of course the possibility of shooting JIU JITSU 2 in Cyprus ”.
In the same context, he noted, “JIU JITSU co-producer Marty Barab, who is very frustrated and worried about what is happening in Cyprus, has chosen to make five other productions in the last three years outside Cyprus. Equal number of films have been made outside Cyprus by the sponsors of JIU JITSU, although initially they were positively close to our country. This is another € 120 million which were not utilized in Cyprus in the end ".
A matter of Justice now
The producers of the film JIU JITSU, Dimitris Logothetis and Kris Economidis have already prepared detailed answers for all points of the report, which as mentioned can be given to anyone interested, but primarily to the Auditor General himself, as well as to Justice. "The mudslinging with cartoons and baseless populist allegations has limits, which the report of the Audit Office has far exceeded."
Report by Chris Economides on a personal attack
"In many parts of his report, the Auditor General refers to Producer A ', that is, I stayed in an offensive and mocking way and wonders, for example, if I am a Cypriot or if I am a permanent resident of Cyprus and other strange things," said Mr. Economides. "These could easily be ascertained and he is not convinced that he could not document them. He then joins a series of inaccurate findings regarding my experience at a formal level, to conclude that my remuneration is so low that he cannot belong to the top-tier producers' group.
"The issue of Producer A '(as he calls it) becomes funny because the Auditor General neglects to link him with his purely Cypriot company, which he has explicitly revealed in the application together with the other co-producers with their respective companies. The application clarifies in writing the interest of each producer up to the final real owner (Ultimate Beneficial Owner). The same documents present the absolute personal data, passports and identities of the producers. But again, the technocrats of the Service preferred to insult my face without any problems while they had all these elements at their disposal ".