I love watching British films and people all over the world love British films and films made in Britain. According to Amanda Nevill, CEO of the British Film Institute (BFI) the government’s film tax relief generates almost £12.50 for every £1 spent and provides crucial support for UK films and filmmakers – it is a shrewd investment for the UK.
Britain’s film and creative industries give us much to be proud of, with British stories as diverse as Spectre and Suffragette winning the hearts and minds of audiences across the world while creating jobs and investment at home.
The creative sector tax reliefs, alongside lottery funding through the BFI, are a catalyst for creativity and innovation in storytelling in UK independent film, and are a key ingredient in the UK’s winning combination of outstanding talent and skills, world-leading studios and facilities, and iconic locations like Cornwall, which attracts film production from around the world.
The Chancellor hailed 2015 as a ground-breaking year for independent and big budget international films, as he has recently confirmed government support for the UK film industry through film tax relief had reached £251 million, generating over £1 billion worth of direct investment in the UK in the last year alone.
This is the most generous support ever provided by the government. The official statistics recently released by HMRC also confirmed that £1.5 billion was secured by the UK film industry through the government’s film tax relief and led to over £6.9 billion investment from the film industry across the UK since 2007.
This investment has led to 260,000 full-time creative sector jobs in the UK and critical acclaim for the movies made here.
Six British films were nominated for Oscars® in 2015, and almost 20% of the industry’s major film festival and industry awards for the whole 2014 to 2015 season were for British-made films, the highest since records began.
In 2014 to 2015, a record 220 films made in the UK claimed this relief.
Large scale international films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron and home grown independent productions, such as The Imitation Game and Suffragette would have been eligible.
The boost international film makers give our domestic screen industries is crucial, since the money generated by major inward investment titles helps create further training and business opportunities which allow our own independent productions to thrive, thus maintaining the UK’s status as a cultural powerhouse that is both creative and highly profitable.
Independent UK productions of all budgets have benefited from the film tax relief, receiving a third of total government support.
The UK film industry’s cutting edge skills in the fields of visual effects, sound production and world-class studios are making the UK an even more attractive place to make films. For example, the UK is home to many of the world’s leading VFX companies including those behind award-winning films such as Gravity. Falmouth University students are learning the skills to join these expanding companies.
As well as its creative and technology companies, the film industry relies upon a variety of sectors from catering to security, who have also felt the positive effects of the tax relief. BFI figures show that film production supports around 40,000 full-time jobs in the UK, which is a 22% increase from 2009.
Introduced in 2007, the film tax relief was extended to 25% for films of all budget levels on 1 April 2015 to support UK film making. The relief is available to films which qualify as British productions through a cultural test or via an official UK co-production treaty.
Other upcoming inward investment releases will include Eddie Redmayne’s venture into JK Rowling world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the live action version of Beauty and the Beast and Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur. Plus Star Wars: Episode VIII, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Untitled Matt Damon/Bourne Sequel, The Jungle Book, The Lost City of Z, The Huntsman: Winter’s War.
The billion dollar Star Wars franchise is committed to making the new trilogy here in the UK and in addition to filming has set up a new Visual FX facility house.
I understand that credits introduced by the government to encourage programme-makers to choose the UK has been worth more than £2 million to Mammoth Screen, the production company behind Poldark. I have been told that without the incentive, it would have been filmed in Ireland. Instead, it is coming back to Cornwall for a second series.
Poldark has attracted as many as seven million viewers, helping BBC1 to its highest ratings share for the first quarter of a year in a decade.
I am confident that 2016 will be another great year for filmmaking in Cornwall and look forward to seeing our beautiful Duchy featured on screens large and small around the world.
Published by Wave Magazine.