ringing to mind the plot of Mel Brooks's The Producers, about two men who aim to bilk investors in a Broadway play that the producers know will flop, a group of men have been convicted in Britain of falsely applying for tax relief from the British Film Commission for a $30-million film. They reportedly received $4.5 million from the BFC. As reported by Britain's Guardian newspaper, when British tax authorities began asking about the film, the crooks hastily cobbled together a movie for about $125,000 using unknown and TV actors. To the surprise of everyone involved, the gangster movie, titled A Landscape of Lies, has already won one prestigious award, the Silver Ace at the Las Vegas Film Festival last year. Nevertheless, the ploy didn't work. Britain's HMRC, the equivalent of the U.S.'s IRS, decided that the movie was a cover-up sham production intended to defraud British taxpayers. In a statement, John Pointing, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation at HMRC, said: This gang thought they could exploit rules for genuine British filmmakers and thieve from the public purse for their own gain. They were wrong as HMRC will not stand by and let that happen.
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.