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Croydon accountant funds movie about Liverpool's Champions League triumph

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AN ACCOUNTANT is defying the stereotype and proving his profession's creative credentials, by funding a movie through smart accounting.

Farook Owadally's firm has financed One Night In Istanbul – a film about Liverpool FC's unlikely Champions League triumph in 2005 – through a government scheme that offers tax breaks to investments in certain smaller start-up enterprises.

Owadally and King accountants, in Park Lane, set up Big Ears Entertainment Ltd as an Enterprise Investment Scheme to fund the movie.

He got involved after being approached by producers from Stray Dogs Films, who wanted to transfer the hit play, about Liverpool FC fans' escapades in the Turkish city during and after their famous victory over AC Milan, to the big screen.

Mr Owadally said: "They knew that I was in accountancy and that I have access to raising finance from high net-worth individuals.

"I am, for my sins, a supporter of Liverpool Football Club."

Shooting started in Istanbul late last year, after Mr Owadally raised the "in the millions" budget within a year, from 30 investors.

"Some come on board the moment they understand the tax advantage," he said. "Some come on board because of the link with Liverpool Football Club."

Due to feature at Cannes Film Festival this year, the movie stars big British names including The Full Monty's Paul Barber – also famous for playing Denzel in sitcom Only Fools and Horses – Steven Waddington and Lucien Laviscount.

"I did not know who he was," said Mr Owadally, of the latter, a former Big Brother contestant.

"But I told my daughters and they were screaming."

The plot follows two Liverpool cabbies and their sons' jaunt in Istanbul to watch their beloved team play in the European Cup Final.

"The chemistry between them [the actors] is absolutely magical," said Mr Owadallt. "They get on really well and I hope the audience will be able to see it."

Due to be released on DVD and in cinemas, it is unlikely to be Mr Owadally's only venture into the big screen.

"We have two more in the pipeline," he said.

"Because we have gone through the process of putting it together and meeting with the productions company, it should be much easier next time."

Mr Owadally's firm, sponsors of the Croydon Business Awards this year for the third year running, is thought to be the only accountants dabbling in movies in the borough.

"It is a niche area," said Mr Owadally.

"You have to understand how EIS works. And how you make sure the budget is not blown and you have not made a movie."

Croydon accountant funds movie about Liverpool's Champions League triumph


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