PACT calls for hike in tax relief for British independent productions
by Naman Ramachandran
- New report reveals dismal state of the independent sector
At a time when the UK production is at sky-high levels, with 2016 spend at nearly £1.6 billion, the independent sector is in disarray, as a new study by Olsberg.SPI commissioned by the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) reveals. The study looks at the period from 2007, when the Film Tax Credit was introduced, to 2017. It notes that for British independent films, the international sales market on which their financing depends has slumped by 50%. As a result, pressures on already modest budgets have increased, particularly for films in the £2-10 million range, where so many of the country’s most successful films from I, Daniel Blake [+see also:
film profile] to The King’s Speech [+see also:
interview: Tom Hooper
film profile] are produced. Films with budgets over £10 million appear are less affected, but only 90 films in this range were produced between 2007 and 2015, representing just 3.4% of total productions. By comparison, 1,612 films were produced with budgets under £0.5 million over the same time period.
PACT is proposing that the current Film Tax Credit be extended to 40%, from the current 25%, for films shot in the UK with a budget of between £2-10 million, with a review of the cap on spend.
The report also finds that the massive disruption in the market caused by the emergence of streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon and also audiences increasingly choosing high end television, have impacted the film production sector with an increasing number of producers choosing to move towards television drama.
PACT Chief Executive John McVay said, “PACT is concerned that there may be structural problems arising in the market that need to be understood and carefully considered by public agencies and Government, and where appropriate interventions to address potential market failure may be needed. Given the many strengths that the UK film industry has, and with ongoing support, PACT sees this as an opportunity to position the indigenous UK film industry to take fuller advantage of the opportunities that the global markets present.”
Rebecca O’Brien, Sixteen Films, producer of I, Daniel Blake, said, “The Olsberg.SPI report provides clear evidence that points to the reasons why the indigenous British film industry is struggling. Armed with this information producers can at last find ways to tackle the issues and make our industry strong again.”
Hakan Kousetta of See-Saw Films, the company that produced The King’s Speech, said, “The findings of the report highlight how essential it is for the UK independent film industry to be afforded more opportunity to develop a sustainable and competitive presence in an increasingly competitive market. By increasing the tax credit to 40%, the British independent film production community will be able to properly capitalise on the wealth of talent this country produces and bring to the world films that really showcase the best this country has to offer.”
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