Firm Cancels New Cimino Film Project

Times Staff Writer

Nelson Holdings International Ltd., which recently disclosed that its banks had reduced the company’s borrowing power, said it has canceled director Michael Cimino’s latest movie project, “Santa Ana Wind.”

The cancellation followed a similar move last fall, when Nelson indefinitely postponed “Michael Collins,” a planned Cimino film about a 1920s Irish rebel.

A spokesman for Nelson, an independent video distributor and movie producer, said the cancellation occurred “in the normal course of business,” but declined to elaborate. An attorney for Cimino didn’t return a call from a Times reporter.

Nelson reported earlier this month that several banks, including Security Pacific National Bank, had substantially cut the company’s borrowing power after it failed to meet certain financial requirements in its loan agreements.


Shortly before, Nelson had laid off about 20 employees, primarily in its marketing area. A number of small entertainment concerns have been hurt by severe competition caused by the unusually large number of films released last year.

In announcing the banks’ action, Nelson said it would have to seek alternate financing for certain films, but didn’t specifically mention “Santa Ana Wind.” The company had planned to produce about four films a year, to be distributed by either Tri-Star Pictures or Columbia Pictures, both of which are units of Columbia Pictures Entertainment.

According to several sources, the Cimino film, set in the San Fernando Valley, had been budgeted at about $15 million and was to have begun production shortly. The film, intended for distribution by Columbia, didn’t feature any major stars.

Cimino’s latest movie, “The Sicilian,” did poorly when it was released in the United States by 20th Century Fox last fall. Cimino previously directed “Year of the Dragon,” “Heaven’s Gate” and “The Deer Hunter.”