UK - Isle of Man, Interview
by Annika Pham
Interview with Hilary Dugdale, Head of Isle of Man Film Commission
Cineuropa: When did you start investing in feature film, what is your total annual budget and how much do you invest in feature film each year?
Hilary Dugdale : When we first started with film support on the Isle of Man in 1995, it was mainly in the shape of a 20% tax credit scheme. In 1997 we created the Film and Television Fund and since 2002 we have the Media Development Fund (MDF). The MDF has a rolling stand-alone fund of around £23 million each year from the local government and although there is not set budget for film support each year, over the last couple of years, the fund has supported around 70% of feature films against 30% of TV Dramas. We invest 25% of each film’s budget as equity investment with a recoupable position negotiable down the line. There is no cap on our investment, but the biggest film we’ve invested in so far is the £21 million film Thomas and The Tank Engine (1999). So far, we’ve done really well with our recoupments. We’re now completely self-standing, and we reinvest our profits into the fund. In 2004, we invested in 10 feature films.
What are the key criteria for you to invest in a film?
Filmmakers have to shoot 50% of the first unit principal photography on the island, and have to spend 20% of the of the below the line budget with local service providers. Beyond that, we evaluate the script and where the production investment comes from. The sales prospect of the film is also a key criteria. I take the creative decision on which film to support, and my colleague Steve Christian the business decision.
What are the advantages for filmmakers to shoot on the Isle of Man?
First of all, the fact that we provide equity investment and cover up to 25% of the film’s budget. But the diversity of the locations, the film friendly local government and population are other assets, as well as the purpose-built 11,200sq.ft sound stage. Our infrastructure here is continuously improving.
What are your goals for the upcoming years?
Our goal is to continue to support between 10/12 productions each year. Each film leaves around three quarter of a million pound into the local economy, and a crew of around 100 people on a film stays at least one month here, which is very fruitful for the local economy. Our plan for the future is also to dip slowly into animation. We’ve been very fortunate with the films we’ve supported so far, not only financially but also critically: On a Clear Day opened the Sundance Film festival last year, and now Chromophobia is selected in Official selection in Cannes out of competition this year. During Cannes, another of our films will also have a special screening at the market: The Libertine [+see also:
film profile] starring Johnny Depp and John Malkovich.
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