View Full Version : UK film funding new deal...

01-11-2012, 09:25 AM
So, a new deal has been outlined today for the future of film funding in the UK.

For those who don't know... for years there has been the film council, helping to fund production of independent cinema.. great. But that was canned about a year ago.

Now this new deal is floating to the surface, and has a new direction...


Now, imo... this is great, its exactly what Ive been saying for years now.

Problem with the film council was that it just led to an endless train of the same ol drivel... gritty social dramas. Oh look, people on benefits, living on an estate... AGAIN... Oh look, gang violence amongst black teens in inner city London... AGAIN!!

Dont get me wrong, Rita/Sue... or London/Brighton, and things of that nature... good films, well made, nothing wrong with that. But time and again, it was the same old thing, all these movies basically spitting out the same message over and over.

But where was the audience, where was the income, and for sure... where was the UK film industry?? In the red thats where.

If you wanted to make horror, or fantasy, or sci-fi... you could forget it with the ol film council... they were nothing more than a dole queue for banal, boring filmmakers...

So, whilst some are seeming to say that this new deal is bad, bad, bad, because it'll lead to films who's main aim is bums on seats, I say... whats so wrong with that? God knows, If I made a film, Id WANT people to actually see it. Id want a chance of having something I could actually sell/get distributed in external territories.

So... whatta we all think?

good direction/bad direction?

01-11-2012, 09:44 AM
It is the same in whole EU s****hole, in Poland we have " Polski Instytut sztuki filmowej" ( Polish Institute for cinematic arts ). If You are friend of a friend You sure will make some movie, if not ? You just do not have talent :-)

My solution is simple. Do not fund movies from tax money ! End of story.
What we today see as a "movie world/ cinema" was created without a penny from the gov and that`s why it is so big and good ( was ). Few Jews in America started new innovative business, build cinemas, made movies and it was good enough to change it in whole Hollywood empire. I bet that moment when tax payer money will be given to them back then in 1900`s all movies will be like those social dramas You mentioned. Let people vote with money !

Every artist will be happy to have "free" money for his projects but price of this "free" money is just plain robbery on the others.

01-11-2012, 09:57 AM
My solution is simple. Do not fund movies from tax money !

There's the voice of capatilism (;

But no, to an extent, I agree. That was the big problem with film council, their remit was basically just to fund stuff, but nothing "commercial".

I absolutely think that a films (or any other business ventures) right to exist has to stem from its ability to (at the very least) sell to the point of recouping the cost of its own production... the film business MUST be self sustaining, otherwise, yes... you are just GIVING people money.

Now, Id describe myself as a more social capatilist, and I certainly think that getting film funding in the private market is so very difficult that there is nothing wrong with government putting in public money to help give business a leg up, but there should be limits.

In this case, of film funding, I would say that the best model is to let the public funding act like a private investor would... put the money in, and expect it be repaid from the films takings (plus ofc a profit percentage).

This could, if done well give new filmmakers a chance to actually make something they may otherwise not have had, whilst maintaining a public fund that becomes self sustaining or even profitable itself, allowing it to continue supporting new and innovative film production.

01-11-2012, 10:17 AM
But You cannot mix two different systems. If You give someone "free" tax payer money even on the principle of commercial return You will make unfair competition. When You do not have fear of bankruptcy, fear of losing money You will end up like Goldman Sachs waiting for bailout. You must risk You own money if You want call it "free market". Imagine for moment that we are George Lucas and Peter Jackson. We both want make good sci-fi movie but one of us was just given with 50 million dollar dotation from government that of course is worried about jobs in CG industry.... what will be effect of that ?
First, it will be unfair. Second, one with 50 million more will spend them more reckless because it is a "free" money it is good to share them with friends and cronies. So that money will also degrade market where no longer quality and time is in value but who is who. All principles of cost/quality/time will no longer there. You will dive into wild world of corruption and social connection.
You will no longer search for new ways to improve quality of your studio but for new friends with free money to spend.
And now imagine ( it is not hard :-) that You are not Peter Jackson nor Lucas and try to start CG company. Nobody will care that yours renderings are photolike, nobody will care for best rigs in the business.
There will be only one thing worth care ... WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS.

If You don`t understand me due to cultural / language barrier just look in any sector of economy where main payer is a government. Just read anything about Military Industrial Complex, banksters or other corporations and look how they operate in economy where there is in fact "free" money.

01-11-2012, 10:23 AM
Totally agree with you (RebelHill).

I do hope the pendulum doesn't swing too far the other way though, and they do still take a few risks with films that don't fit a predetermined 'commercial' formula. Part of the issue I feel (and this is regardless of the type of film) is in the promotion and distribution. How many good UK films get made and then sink without trace because you can only see them for 2 weeks in half-a-dozen cinemas around the country?

01-11-2012, 11:03 AM
If government kepp throwing money and folks who arent making a profit, then yes, you are overriding competition. Surely the way that folks would actually work to produce something that WOULD turn a profit would come from the knowledge that if they pulled off a total flop, that their future chances of gaining any funding, public or private would be severely damaged.

it is interesting that you mention Peter Jackson though. It is very well known that a few of his earlier films (most notably his first, Bad Taste) relied on money he received from the NZ film commission.

So had government NOT given him money, then the completely self sustaining, and highly profitable film industry that now exists in NZ would quite likely not be there, at least not in its current form.

It is, after all, in the interests of both a government, and the citizens they represent, to help new industries take off, so that they can grow, make profits, and create tax revenues and jobs within that territory.

Forcing things to be completely privately funded will mean that certain things, which could have been successes may never come to exist, and that leads to stagnation... But then again, so does jsut endlessly giving away money without expecting any kind of return, or result.

Furthermore, I would say that "cronyism" is far more likely to flourish in a private setting than a public one, as private enterprise is free to make choices completely by itself, whereas public bodies are forced into a remit of trying to spread the help around more.

But even if thats not true, the old maxim of "its not what u know but who u know" will be present in any kind of enterprise, private OR public to some degree or other, thats just part of human nature, how we respond to one another, and whom we choose to place our faith and trust in.

And Souz... yes, PROMOTION... absolutely CRITICAL. Ive always agreed with the ol hollywood idea that however much you spend making a movie, you need to spend AT LEAST as much again on marketing the thing.

If the new deal for UK film only covers actual production, and ignores the important business of marketing and promotion, then it is doomed to failure, most specifically of all in its "commercialised" mandate.

01-11-2012, 12:53 PM
sounds great to me :]

(who will pay for the marketing of the movie though?)

01-11-2012, 03:50 PM
I don't really get it.

If the projects are profitable, why do they need government money?

Profitable projects can get funding from all sorts of private sources.

The only instance where government money makes sense is when a film seems too original and/or too risky to get private funding.

The only way to judge profitability before the fact is by formula use or track record. Track record makes government funding unnecessary. If everyone will be going to the government with (to use a gaming world analogy) "It's like Call of Duty, but with zombies", "It's like Call of Duty but on the Moon", "It's like Call of Duty but with moar brawn", "It's like Call of Duty but it has our logo at the beginning", then those are winning pitches that they could use with any private entity.

That said, what's with bureaucrats loving http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmlmBmgo6T4 ?

01-11-2012, 04:28 PM
Problem with the film council was that it just led to an endless train of the same ol drivel... gritty social dramas. Oh look, people on benefits, living on an estate... AGAIN... Oh look, gang violence amongst black teens in inner city London... AGAIN!!

There are exceptions .. Harry Brown was AWESOME. :)


.. which makes another point. Who decides if a movie has 'profit potential' ? By genre? Actors? Script?

Or because we have seen a profitable version of it before : /


Swiss cinema is also a surprisingly hard scene in this regard. Most films film partly in Germany, because then they can get money form the German government :thumbsup:

01-11-2012, 04:29 PM
...If the projects are profitable, why do they need government money?

to get the wheels spinning / to get "start capital" as we say over here... :]

(instead of going to the bank)

glebe digital
01-11-2012, 05:06 PM
I think fewer gambles will be taken, thus harder for new film-makers; and as it normally goes, if your politics doesn't fit you'll be left in the cold.

Plus, if you jump through all the hoops and have a hit, the BFI will bask in YOUR glory.

01-11-2012, 05:17 PM
Call of duty.... but on the moon...


01-11-2012, 05:20 PM
Most films film partly in Germany, because then they can get money form the German government :thumbsup:
Actually, there's two types of grants.
One is specific of the federal state - the other is national (the DFF) and actually surprisingly neat.
Essentially the government provides a pot of money that finances a part of the production if it meets certain requirements. The amount financed also depends on requirements.
However, those requirements are essentially lists that can be checked off, there's no opaque committee deciding on the worthiness of the project.
Usually the requirements are centred around how much of the movie is actually produced in the country or by citizens. At least the co-production must be German as well (obviously).
Newcomers (first two movies) get bonus points.

The payment is only to be paid (partially) back if rights are sold abroad.

In the end it's a mix of a cultural subsidy (on the state level) as well as a plain business subsidy (on the state and federal level) - and the latter is nothing new elsewhere on the globe either.

The federal funding is relatively new and quite successful. The state level funding is different from state to state.


01-11-2012, 05:30 PM
would rather they brought tax breaks for games companies back ...

01-11-2012, 08:56 PM
The change sounds interesting. I'm not against the idea of profit.

There's an interesting article in (some) magazine in the states this month about Aardman and how they, and other TV content producers, are facing changes to remain profitable. And this comment is probably completely useless since I can't ID the source. :rolleyes:

01-11-2012, 11:02 PM
Sounds like different motivations to me.

Funding independent film is more like an arts program to promote humanities. It helps people make a film that might not otherwise be made.

Funding commercial projects is more like an industry subsidy to get your industry professionals to work.

Might be interesting to see them cross lines. Not give money to commercial projects but perhaps invest and a tax incentive. Any return on investment could go to a fund to promote indie films.

01-12-2012, 04:24 AM
I was gutted when the film council went. Apparently the only profitable government quango. (So I read).

I agree that its good The Government are wanting to help "commercial" ie. potentially wide reaching films, but I just hope we don't get good ideas (the kings speech) left behind for more commercial tripe, 2012, anything recently with Nicholas Cage (not kick *** though. He has retrieved some cool points)
and stuff of that nature.

Tell you what. I ahve several projects in dev. Give me the money ;)

01-12-2012, 05:04 AM
Well watching the news last night... I saw a little more detail.

Ofc the problem of how to know whats going to be commercially successful is something that even the best minds in hollywood have yet to figure out (see previous comments on marketing budget for the best answer they've yet come up with).

This new direction for UK film it seems, is aiming to give the backing to those who have already had some success... so it seems to be more about giving those who CAN a reason to stay, and produce in britain, rather than having to leave to make their films/advance their careers.

The Kings speech is an interesting example, as those behind it, most notably the screenwriter, would have fitted this description perfectly... but still despite their credentials had something of an uphill struggle to get the thing made.

Now obviously that struggle is part of the nature of the beast, and its not being suggested that it should just be a give away, but it is aimed to make things a little easier, more accessible, and ofc, to keep them at home.

Oh yes... i also dont think that things like the kings speech would get left behind too much anyway, as I can hardly see people in the british film industry suddenly making "less british" films. I think its unlikely that such measures will lead to some michael bay wannabe from the home counties suddenly popping up with some AWESOME tale of what happens when the boys from the sbs get caught short on the virgin line to colchester.

Hmm... actually... "HS2"... we even have the perfect title.

01-12-2012, 10:17 AM
I think that the days of requiring large funding to make a film are almost gone anyway. Sure you aren't going to make Avatar with a handycam and some friends in blue face paint but it is possible to film in HD at feature quality, edit on a moderately powered computer with free software and distribute for free to the entire world. If people are motivated and talented they will produce something great irrelevant of whether they got a cheque from the government.

There are some crowdsourcing opportunities out there too. I'd like to see something similar implemented into funding schemes, perhaps where people can vote on the projects which get funding based on the script or synopsis, especially as it is the public's money being spent.

01-12-2012, 11:39 AM
Swiss cinema is also a surprisingly hard scene in this regard. Most films film partly in Germany, because then they can get money form the German government :thumbsup:

German Tax Rebates were the mechanism Uwe Boll used to help finance a plethora of terrible, terrible movies. Maybe that's a good example of where government investment can actually damage culture!

01-12-2012, 11:45 AM
German Tax Rebates were the mechanism Uwe Boll used to help finance a plethora of terrible, terrible movies.
Those have been gone for a couple of years now. And they did indeed fund a lot of stupid movies.


01-12-2012, 12:33 PM
Was watching Scorcese's The Aviator again last night and in reading this thread could not help racal how Pan-Am was portrayed in the movie as an outfit who only managed to stay solvent through a combination of generous government tax breaks and subsidies and a total embargo on any form of competition and when Howard Hues won the right to go up against them on transatlantic routs it finished them. Any jerk can make a movie with free cash hand out

01-12-2012, 01:59 PM
Any jerk can make a movie with free cash hand out
You mean like any jerk can successfully run a company in a place that provides tax breaks or other incentives? ;)

How about: "Any jerk can also make a movie in places where the infrastructure is readily available?". ;)


01-12-2012, 02:54 PM
Agreed, why pay for jerks when you can get them for free :-)