A future for British Film: It begins with the audience

A new approach to film education in British schools and financial incentives to encourage early collaboration between producers and distributors are among the recommendations of a report published today.

A Future for British Film – it begins with the audience”, published by an independent review panel chaired by Lord Chris Smith, was commissioned last year by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and has looked at how to ensure film is a sector which plays a full role in driving growth.

The audience has been placed at the heart of the review, and today’s recommendations aim to maximise audience access to films of every kind.

“Golden period of film”

“British film is going through a golden period,” Lord Smith said. “A run of British-made and British-based movies has been taking audiences around the world by storm.  But we cannot be complacent – this review highlights the things that the BFI, Government and industry can do to ensure that we continue to build on recent successes.


British film is in prime position to make a major contribution to the growth of the UK’s economy, to the development of attractive and fulfilling careers for young people, and to the creation of job opportunities across the country.”

The report contains 56 recommendations to Government, industry and the British Film Institute (BFI) including:

  • a new programme to bring film education into every school, giving every pupil the chance to see, understand and learn about British film
  • a call for the major broadcasters to invest more in the screening, acquisition and production of independent British film;
  • incentives ensuring a more collaborative approach between producers, directors and distributors which in turn will facilitate financing of projects;
  • a strong commitment to combat piracy and illegal exploitation of intellectual property;
  • a scheme to bring digital screens and projectors to village and community halls across the country.

Mr Vaizey said: “I am committed to creating a more stable and financially sustainable industry and I thank Chris Smith and the panel for the huge amount of work that has gone into preparing this report. I know the panel has worked very closely with representatives from the entire film community and I look forward to examining what the report recommends.”



Cameron urges UK filmmakers to focus on box office

Cameron urges UK film makers to focus on box office British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday urged independent UK film makers to focus on box office success, ahead of a review to be published next week into the government’s policy on the movie industry.

 The film industry contributes an estimated 4.2 billion pounds ($6.5 billion) to the economy each year, including from independent pictures that do well commercially and blockbusters like the Harry Potter series, which are made in Britain but bankrolled by Hollywood studios. “The UK film industry, the skills and crafts that support it, and our creative industries more widely, make a 4 billion pound contribution to our economy and an incalculable contribution to our culture,” Cameron said.

He was due to visit Pinewood Studios, where hit movies like the James Bond franchise are shot, later on Wednesday to meet small and medium-sized businesses involved in film. “But in this year when we set out bold ambitions for the future, when the eyes of the world will be on us, I think we should aim even higher, building on the incredible success of recent years,” Cameron added in a statement. “Our role, and that of the BFI (British Film Institute), should be to support the sector in becoming even more dynamic and entrepreneurial, helping UK producers to make commercially successful pictures that rival the quality and impact of the best international productions.

Just as the British Film Commission has played a crucial role in attracting the biggest and best international studios to produce their films here, so we must incentivise UK producers to chase new markets both here and overseas”, said Cameron.

Two recent, low-budget independent British films made a major splash both in terms of ticket sales and awards. The King’s Speech won four Oscars including best picture in 2011, and earned $414 million in global ticket sales on a production budget of just $15 million, according to Boxofficemojo.com.

Two years earlier, Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner picking up eight Academy Awards including best picture and hitting $378 million at global box offices from a $15 million budget. According to official figures, UK films accounted for 14 percent of the global 2010 box office tally of $31.8 billion. But 12.6 percent was accounted for by UK movies wholly or partly financed and controlled by U.S. studios.

Former Labour culture minister Chris Smith is set to publish the findings of his review into the film sector next week. It is expected to provide incentives to British film makers to develop projects that deliver commercial as well as cultural success, while the BFI is likely to be urged to reinvest returns back into successful companies. The review is also likely to support the work of the British Film Commission which promotes Britain as a place to produce movies.

IndieFlix makes it easy for Filmmakers to discover and License Music

IndieFlix announced its partnership with fellow Seattle-based company Audiosocket and its Music as a Service (MaaS™) platform to provide filmmakers with a hassle-free approach to securing proper music licenses. A core initiative of IndieFlix is to provide resources and services to support the independent filmmaking community and in furthering that initiative the company will soon be launching its “Music for Film” service.

IndieFlix “Music for Film” is a fully integrated, custom-designed, music-licensing store that offers more than 30,000 pre-cleared tracks from over 200 genres created by emerging artists and composers worldwide. Filmmakers can search intuitively by genre, mood, or tempo and easily license their selections for all levels of distribution. Audiosocket’s platform delivers a fully integrated and searchable music library with 100+ categories of integrated metadata, localized to the IndieFlix platform.

“Many filmmakers get bogged down when securing the rights to music, or struggle to find the music they need to bring their films to life. IndieFlix gives filmmakers the power to distribute and market their films and now we’re extending our service by making music licensing accessible and affordable,” said Scilla Andreen, founder and CEO, IndieFlix.

IndieFlix “Music for Film” is currently running in closed beta; please contact sara@indieflix.com for more information.

EIS boost for the UK Film Industry

A boost to the UK film industry is edging even closer through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) but one stumbling block remains.

Some barriers, which threatened to prevent film production from benefiting when the cap on EIS is raised from £2 million to £10 million next year, have been dropped – this is according to draft legislation relating to new EIS rules from 6 April 2012.

However this draft legislation and any changes still need EU State approval. HM Revenue and Customs at this point are refusing to comment on the likeliness of receiving the ‘green light’, as talks are still ongoing.

Industry observers have welcomed the more flexible approach to EIS contained in the draft legislation although several are still calling for greater clarity in how the rules will be applied.

The Background

EIS is a government project that’s increasingly being used to finance certain UK films, giving investors a range of tax reliefs.

Even if films don’t make a profit, EIS projects can limit losses through tax relief. If you keep an investment for three years, you can offset 20% of the amount invested against income tax liability in the first year and any profit made is free of capital gains tax (CGT).

If you make a loss, you can offset it against gains you make on other assets or, under certain conditions, against your income tax.

Robert Redford’s Sundance is coming to London

The O2, London, 15th March 2011 – Robert Redford, the non-profit Sundance Institute and AEG Europe today announced Sundance London, a four-day multi-disciplinary arts festival that will include film screenings, live music performances, discussions, panels and other public cultural programming to be held 26th – 29th April, 2012 at the world’s most popular music and entertainment venue, The O2.


AEG Europe, owner and operator of The O2, Robert Redford, and his non-profit Sundance Institute will join together to present films from American filmmakers as well as American current music. Sundance Institute, which annually presents the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, U.S.A, will act as curator of the film component , while AEG Europe will use its industry-leading venue and marketing teams to stage and promote music and other related events at The O2.

Speaking to press at The O2, Robert Redford said, “We are excited to partner with AEG Europe to bring a particular slice of American culture to life in the inspired setting of The O2, and in this city of such rich cultural history.” Redford continued, “It is our mutual goal to bring to the UK, the very best in current American independent cinema, to introduce the artists responsible for it, and in essence help build a picture of our country that is broadly reflective of the diversity of voices not always seen in our cultural exports.”

Alex Hill, Senior Executive Director at AEG Europe said: “The O2 is famous for its exciting and diverse events schedule, but we’re particularly proud to be hosting Sundance London next year. Mr. Redford’s passion for the arts, the depth of his many businesses and the curatorial reputation of Sundance Institute are world renowned and we see this as a natural extension of the music and sporting events presented at The O2 since we opened in 2007. We look forward to extending a warm welcome to the best of the film industry in 2012.”

From Los Angeles, Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute added: “We look forward to bringing to UK audiences some of the most exciting independent American films from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The environment provided by AEG and The O2, coupled with London’s reputation as a global cultural destination, should make for a rich and rewarding festival experience and provide the artists with a unique and memorable opportunity.”

For more information Click Here

Online production crewing resource

A new online crewing service for the film and television industry will be launched, to help production teams find available staff.

is being backed by industry bodies including PACT, APA, UK Screen Association and the Cultural Diversity Network.

“Thecallsheet.co.uk is a great time saving resource, which not only provides you with a list of talent and crew who are available during the time you require them, but comes with the reassurance they will only accept those who have a proven track record,” stated Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, senior policy executive at Pact.

The website has been set up solely for people working behind the camera and they have to have a minimum of 10 credits or 2 years industry experience – unreleased films and shorts will not count – and every CV will be checked before going online.

“In an industry so technologically obsessed it’s incredible that we are still using the same methods to crew films that we’ve used for 50 years or more when the rest of the world can find any information they need just by a few clicks of a mouse on the internet.  Thecallsheet.co.uk is long overdue and will bring crewing of films into the 21st Century,” added Chris Munro, Oscar winner for Black Hawk Down (Best Motion Picture Sound).

Set up by former production manager, Matt Gallagher, profile pages are linked to an online diary service and searchable credit listing, to connect crews to opportunities. UK production and facilities houses as well as recruitment agencies will be able to post to the site for free. Individuals wanting full access to the site will have to pay a monthly fee.

A separate area of the site will cater for entry level applicants, who don’t meet the experience criteria.

For more information Click Here

Creative England Open Two New Funds


Interested in applying for the Creative England Funds? – Click Here

Creative England has opened two new schemes of Lottery funding, delegated from the BFI, to support the development of filmmaking talent in the English regions.

The Development Fund and Film Networks Fund will be key drivers in delivering Creative England’s Talent Development aims. They hope to nurture emerging and established regional filmmaking talent by supporting development of their work; to encourage a diverse and engaging on-screen cultural identity for the English regions; to stimulate innovative creative and commercial approaches to filmmaking; and to promote the talent and creativity of the English regions to the world. Individual writers, writer/directors and/or producers based in the English regions have been invited to submit applications for the development of all types of feature films, including animation and documentary.

Applications are also invited from writer/director/producer teams. Funding is available for the costs of developing a screenplay (or the equivalent for documentaries) such as research costs, writer’s fees, script editor/developer support and script readings. Meanwhile funding will also be available for screenplays that are ready to be presented to potential financiers, to help with budgeting, scheduling, casting, producing teaser trailers/pilots, and other expenses associated with raising finance and generating sales and distribution interest.

The Development Fund totals £250,000 in its current round and applications are welcomed on a rolling basis. Awards will range from £2,500 to £25,000. The Film Networks Fund is open to networks and organisations whose work supports and promotes filmmaking activities in the English regions. Funding will be available for a range of eligible activity including provision of editorial and technical support for emerging talent looking to produce work, delivery of networking, screening and industry speaker events and master classes, and provision of peer-to-peer support, mentoring, training and advice.

The Film Networks Fund is a fixed call with £150,000 to award in this round. Awards will range from £2,500 to £25,000, and the deadline for applications is 30 January 2012. As well as distributing Lottery awards, the Talent Development team will also provide advice, brokerage and practical help to filmmakers in developing and producing their projects. Creative England’s Head of Talent Development Chris Moll said: “We’re targeting our Development Funds at those unique regional voices with great new stories to tell, combined with the skill to drive their project forward both creatively and commercially.

We’d like to hear from applicants from all around the country, so that we can reflect the real diversity that is out there in the regions. Our funding for Film Networks is intended to help filmmakers even further by boosting the regional infrastructure for talent development and help strengthen the many initiatives running around the country that are already doing great work. “We plan to complement this with a new microbudget programme next year, and we are also continuing to work closely with the BFI to ensure the regions are central to future national talent development strategy.

We want to make sure that we really make the most of this opportunity to work together to fully realise the creative, cultural and economic contribution that talent in the regions can make to British film.” Eddie Berg, the BFI’s Director of Partnerships, said: “The launch of Creative England’s talent development funds will be welcomed by writers, directors and producers across England, and will complement well the talent development activities of the BFI’s Film Fund which benefits applicants throughout the UK.

We are absolutely committed to supporting the UK’s emerging filmmaking talent and Creative England is a key delivery partner in fulfilling this commitment; we look forward to working closely together in supporting distinctive, diverse and exciting filmmaking talent in the English regions.” Creative England launched on 1 October 2011, becoming a BFI delegated body for the distribution of National Lottery funds for film in the English Regions.

Lovefilm to stream British Independent Film Awards

Lovefilm and the Moët British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) are teaming up to bring the ceremony into the homes of films fans across the UK for the first time. The partnership will see Lovefilm broadcast the awards live over the Internet from interactive red carpet interviews to a first look at the night’s winners.

Now in their 14th year, the BIFAs set out to celebrate independently funded British filmmaking, to honour new talent and to promote British films and filmmaking to a wider audience—and until now have never been available to the general public. BIFA have chosen Lovefilm as their broadcast partner and the home of this exclusive content.

As well as streaming the ceremony, Lovefilm will also be covering the red carpet and the winner’s tent, ensuring that viewers can immerse themselves in the atmosphere and emotions of the night. Film fans will be given the opportunity to ask big Hollywood names such as Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Kenneth Branagh and Oscar winning director, Danny Boyle their questions on the red carpet through Twitter and Facebook.

Simon Calver, CEO of Lovefilm, said: “We are very proud to have been chosen by BIFA to stream the awards live into the living rooms of film fans over more traditional approaches. We are always looking for new ways to bring the world of film to those who are passionate about it, and working with the BIFA team is a fantastic way of achieving this.

Lovefilm will be the place to be this Sunday for film fans as some of Hollywood’s brightest take to the stage to accept their awards.”


Vaizey promotes UK film industry in LA

More American film studios could be tempted to film in the UK after a delegation was sent to Los Angeles to promote Britain’s creative credentials.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Adrian Wootton, Film London and British Film Commission Chief Executive, have crossed the Atlantic to meet senior officials from many of the city’s top studios and production companies.

Their mission is to convince Hollywood to film productions in the UK by championing the nation’s excellent facilities, first-rate films crews and prolific film and TV sector.

It is hoped that the Government’s decision to extend the UK film tax relief until 2015 might also convince many studios to produce films in the UK.

Mr Vaizey described the trip as “an important opportunity to meet with the studios who invest over $1 billion (£635.7 million) a year in the British film industry”, while also revealing that he will have the opportunity to learn by observing the ever-thriving US film industry in action.

Mr Wootton said: “LA is hugely important to us and it is fantastic Ed Vaizey is able to promote what the UK has to offer, from our excellent facilities to the unrivalled experience of our crew and of course, the tax relief which helps make the UK a cost-effective option.”

Some recent films shot in the UK include Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Charlize Theron; Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer; and World War Z, starring Brad Pitt.

The way to get professional Post Production services on a budget

 For independent filmmakers, Post Production can be a costly and lonley process without the correct contacts and facilities.  Here are five tips for getting access to talented and professional post production artists.

1.  Offer to credit the company and the artist on the film, in your marketing and on your packaging as a sponsor or as an Executive Producer. It carries more weight than only being credited in the film for their post production speciality.

2.  Contra-deals are a great way to exchange your services for post production time.  If you are a photographer, web designer  etc, offer to provide your services and in return you will take payment through post production services.

3.  Work in downtime.  Sometimes post production facilities will have quiet times (downtime).Offer to work in quieter times.

4.   Read industry publications eg: Broadcast, Televisual etc and find out which facilities are new or investing in new technology.  Offer to use your film to test their new kit.  (This option can be a lengthy process and requires that you keep backups of all content).

5.  Hang around the pubs in London Soho and get chatting to people.  In the UK, Soho is the hangout playground for post professionals.  Let people know about project and hopefully, someone will be interested and give you some time.