For more than a year, the USA pavilion at Expo 2010 has been shrouded in inexplicable secrecy. To this day, for example, the State Department won’t reveal the process by which Shanghai Expo 2010, Inc [SE 2010] – the non-profit it authorized to design, fund, build and manage the US pavilion – was selected; who and how a Canadian architect was chosen to design the US pavilion; or, for that matter, release a detailed budget on how SE 2010 was spending its $61 million in tax-deductible contributions. Unfortunately, the first two questions are still mysteries: the State Department, SE 2010, and the US Consulate in Shanghai have been obstinate in their refusal to answer questions on these matters. However, the last question – a detailed budget – received a partial answer last week when I published a cost estimate that SE 2010 had filed with the IRS in June 2009.
Readers will recall that the IRS documents indicated that SE 2010, Inc was spending US$23 million for the three short films that are featured in the USA pavilion (a sum that exceeds the cost of 4 of the ten Academy Award nominees for Best Picture). No surprise, the producer of the three films – BRC Imagination Arts of Burbank, California – is, according to the June 2009 IRS documents, the pavilion’s top-paid contractor [click to enlarge].
In the above document, BRC is promised US$10 million for Production Design/Fabrication; according to individuals associated with two other national pavilions, that $10 million most likely folds into the $23 million for “show construction & installation” in the cost sheet. In any case, no other contractor is listed in the IRS filing; BRC is the largest. Continue reading