Glasgow-based producer Gillian Berrie is urging Scotland's Holyrood Parliament to invest in studios and other facilities to help the country match the output of foreign rivals. Berrie, of Sigma Films the company behind Hallam Foe which opens the Edinburgh International Film Festival this week, said given the right level of investment and strategy, Scotland could develop a film industry to rival Denmark or France.
Figures published by the UK Film Council reveal that British film is a thriving industry. Film provided the British economy with £4.3 billion during 2006, representing a 39% increase from two years ago, the last year for which figures were collated.
Film Council CEO John Woodward warned that these figures could dwindle unless the government continued its support in terms of tax credits.
The research found that, after taking into account the new film tax relief plan introduced, the cost of producing a film in the UK is set to fall and by 2010 will be about 27% less than the cost of producing it in the US and only 7% higher than the Czech Republic.
The Film Business Academy is the world's first international centre dedicated to the business of film. Part of Cass Business School, the academy is based just fifteen minutes from Soho, the heart of the British film industry. The Film Business Academy aims to bring the creative energy of the international film industry together with global business expertise, with idea of creating partnerships that will help power the film business into the future.
"The fact that the UKFC is supporting off-line events, specifically film festivals, is good news for cinema lovers on this dull, damp island." Eliot Grove,
The UK Film Council have unveiled new additional funding plans from now until 2010, including a £1.5m annual festivals fund, and further money for archive, digitisations, online promotion and partnerships. "The UK Film Council's recognition that film festivals need significant support is very welcome", Leeds International Film Fest director Chris Fell told Netribution. "I hope that the new fund prioritises and fully supports the outstanding work of regional film festivals across the country as substantial and sustained support from the UK Film Council will help them deliver unprecedented access for countrywide audiences to the real world of cinema" Chris said. Time will tell if the new funds will support projects outside of the big players and regions, or if it will be more high level funding for London and Edinburgh Festivals
"I hope that the new fund prioritises and fully supports the outstanding work of regional film festivals across the country"
Chris Fell, Leeds Int. Film FestivalWhile the marketing of online films will be supported with up to £2m, it appears there's no money specifically for web or software projects that support, develop and promote filmmakers, as Spain and some Scandinavian countries have begun to offer (although given that the consultation document 'A Digital Future' failed to mention the word Internet once, this is small surpise).
Further information is also awaited guiding principles the Digital Film Archive Fund will use in administering money to archives. If it is used to put archive material freely online in a platform-neutral and usable format (Creative Archive or Creative Commons), then the UK could at least catch up with the US where projects such as Archive.org have released some fantastic treasures into the public domain.
The new funds are:
- UK Film Festivals Fund - £1.5 million per year – to create a thriving film festival scene in the UK giving the public better access to the rich world of cinema in all its diversity;
- UK Digital Film Archives Fund - £1 million per year – to open up access to the nation’s unparalleled film heritage across the UK;
- Partnership Challenge Fund - £1 million per year – bringing new funding partnerships together to widen public participation in film, initially with the following priorities:
- media literacy and film education;
- cinema capital funding;
- cinema access and inclusion initiatives;
- London 2012 Olympic related film initiatives;
- Digitisation and Marketing Fund – £2 million per year - building on our existing Prints and Advertising Fund with additional funding focusing on wider theatrical and online distribution of British and specialised film;
- Marketing Testing Fund - £1 million per year from the existing Premiere Fund will be used to market test British films. Any British film will be able to apply for funding not just those supported by the Premiere Fund.
"Does everyone know about this? There is a petition on the Number 10 Downing Street website already up and running which aims to:
‘Stop the Chancellor using Lottery money to plug the funding gap in the 2012 Olympics. If this goes ahead at least £900m will go from Big lottery, Sport England, Arts Council and Heritage Lottery much of this money would fund projects within the local voluntary and community sector. Services to disadvantaged people will be directly affected by the loss of this funding, people who will have no opportunity to benefit from the Olympics directly but rely on local services provided by the voluntary sector.’
This is opposing the reallocation of resources to the Olympics of which the 35% reduction of grants for the arts is a part. To submit your name to this petition click on petitions.pm.gov.uk/lotteryolympics/
British film-makers are unable to decide whether to raise a toast to Gordon Brown or bay for his blood. The Chancellor has closed a tax loophole, potentially costing the industry millions of pounds, while introducing a new tax credit which will give an as yet unknown amount back to film-makers.
Producers, investors and accountants have been hit by a spate of changes to the tax system, the most jarring of which was the abolition last month of "sideways loss relief" - a tax allowance that had formed the backbone of a recent boom in British film.
Some producers making films not intended for the cinema, such as TV movies and straight-to-DVD productions may get a boost from Chancellor Gordon Brown's budget, according to Scott Sinclair of IFAonline.
He points out on the IAFonline website, that under current rules set out in the Finance Act (FA) 2006, firms making films for cinema and TV are affected by their own tax agendas; each film is treated as a separate trade taking into account costs and income from the film. After that, Schedule 5 provides extra tax relief to firms making British cinema movies.
New Ruling Caps Amount Raised Under EIS
U.K. film producers were hit with a second tax clampdown in as many weeks on budget day as the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown delivered his annual budget speech. While Brown told a packed House of Commons that he wants to put the creative industries at the heart of fiscal policymaking, the devil was in the details for the movie industry. The issued policy documents contain a new ruling that puts a cap on the amount of money producers can raise under Enterprise Investment Schemes at £2 million ($3.9 million) a year. The previous EIS limit was £8 million ($15.7 million) a year.
Sale and Leaseback Deals Spared Noose
More than 90 Movies Could be Saved
The British film industry breathed a collective huge sigh of relief this week when, on Wednesday, the U.K. government excluded film sale-and-leaseback deals from its latest tax clampdown, announced last Friday. Film industry leaders have been lobbying furiously for this U-turn since Friday, when the government announced a sudden change in tax rules with immediate effect.
The change was meant to shut down tax-avoidance schemes across a wide range of industries, but a side effect was an immediate halt to sale-and-leaseback deals on more than 90 British films completed in the second half of 2006, including "Casino Royale," "Fred Claus," "Hannibal Rising" and "The Queen." U.S. studio movies and many Brit indie pics were affected.
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