IN THE latest list of films supported by the Irish Film Board (IFB) one production – Trade from Marcie Films Ltd – landed a handy extra €100,000 on top of its original backing. This is the company established by Ryanair heiress Danielle Ryan, although she will not benefit from this state hand-out. Indeed, the experiment of the loaded granddaughter of Tony Ryan in the movie business has not had a happy ending.
Roads Entertainment was the previous name of Marcie Films, when it was part of the Danielle Ryan’s Roads Luxury Group, which includes Roads Fragrances and Roads Publishing. Danielle is joined as a director here by her lawyer hubby Richard Bourke (nephew of Mary Robinson).
The various Roads entities built up hefty losses and the film venture was in the red to the tune of €½m by the end of 2015. In 2016, Danielle decided to exit the movie business and the shares held in Roads Entertainment by her companies, Roads Luxury Group and Portico Capital Management, were ‘sold’ to producer Alan Maher, who duly transferred a chunk of them to fellow producer Jessie Fisk.
What is now clear from filings in the Companies Office is that Danielle Ryan took a €468,000 hit on the deal. The shares in the film company were actually sold for a total of €2. Since then, things have been looking up for the new owners, with Roads Entertainment/Marcie Films awarded U½m from the IFB early last year for the Mark O’Halloran-scripted Trade. The recently announced €100,000 in additional funding represents more good news for the pair.
Meanwhile, Danielle’s ‘luxury’ group continues to carry a luxury price tag. The Roads brand is apparently “built around the cornerstones of present-day culture, freethinking, storytelling, original design and intelligence … Roads acts as a curator, researching and filtering interesting contemporary subject matters or themes … Roads – as a name – is a metaphor for the many choices and decisions we are faced with each day.” You get the picture.
Roads Fragrances produces perfumes with names such as I Am Dance, which “symbolises the freedom, expression and off-beat rhythm of the African dance form Pantsula”. At the end of 2016, the company had accumulated losses of a less than fragrant €1.6m, while over at Roads Publishing the red ink reveals a deficit of €1.2m – probably par for the course for an outfit that “is unique in modern publishing: it combines elegance and escapism with a truly forward-thinking world view and a focus on innovation”.
Having exited the movie business, it looks like Danielle is sticking with perfume and publishing. At least she can afford it.