News story

PM backs 'dynamic and entrepreneurial' UK film industry

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

"UK film industry makes £4bn contribution to economy and incalculable contribution to culture"

The Prime Minister will today visit Pinewood film studios to meet small and medium sized businesses involved in the film industry. The visit comes ahead of the publication of Lord Smith’s review of Government film policy next week, which is expected to recommend that:

* Lottery funding is rebalanced to support more mainstream films that could become a commercial success as well as culturally rewarding films.
* Government continues to work with the industry to support and appropriately fund the British Film Commission.
* The British Film Institute (BFI) should develop an export strategy to increase the profitability of the British film industry.

Mr Cameron said:

The UK film industry, the skills and crafts that support it, and our creative industries more widely, make a £4bn contribution to our economy and an incalculable contribution to our culture.

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.

Our role, and that of the BFI, 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.

I am confident that Lord Smith’s Review will form an ambitious blueprint, and look forward to his recommendations next week.

Notes to Editors

  • The film industry contributes an estimated £4.2bn to the UK economy each year.
  • In 2010 alone, it brought in over £1bn of production investment from overseas.
  • 2011 saw the highest grossing independent British film of all time, The King’s Speech, collect four Oscars®, and between January and October, British films topped the box office charts for a total of 20 weeks.
  • The UK is a world-leader in special effects, our creative talent is internationally sought after, and successful franchises like Harry Potter not only secure big capital investment (like Warner Bros’ £100m purchase of Leavesden studios) but have huge spill-over benefits in terms of skills, jobs and growth.
  • Audiences across the world enjoy British films. Global box office receipts reached $31.8 billion in 2010, up 8 per cent on 2009. UK films had a 14 per cent share of this market, earning $4.5 billion, compared with $2 billion in 2009. UK inward investment films (UK films wholly or partly financed and controlled by US studios but featuring UK cast, crew, locations, facilities, post-production and often UK source material) earned 12.6 per cent of the worldwide box office while UK independent films shared 1.6 per cent of global revenues.
  • The Government wants to ensure this phenomenal success into 2012 and beyond by removing any barriers that are restricting ambitious, independent British Film production.

To address these issues, last year the Government appointed Lord Chris Smith to conduct a review of Government film policy.

Lord Smith’s review, which he undertook with an eight-strong independent panel, is expected to be published next week and the recommendations he makes will be aimed at building a stronger British film industry and establishing ways to develop and retain UK talent - key factors in ensuring that the UK Film Industry maximises its contribution to economic growth. The panel looked across the UK film industry, considering film development and production, distribution and exhibition, inward investment and film export.

An entrepreneurial independent production sector

The Review is expected to say that Lottery funding should, in future, be used to reward success and incentivise UK film-makers to develop projects that have the potential to deliver commercial and cultural success. The Review is expected to propose that the BFI should re-invest returns back into successful companies.

In so doing, an even more successful industry can be built by empowering proven film-makers - the entrepreneurs who create films and nurture talent - who will, in turn, be able to negotiate better deals for the financing and distribution of British films.

Inward investment

The Review is expected to recommend that the Government continue to support and prioritise a successful inward investment strategy through an effectively funded British Film Commission. The Government is clear that the British Film Commission plays a vital role in attracting inward investment to the UK, and will ensure that it is given the profile, support and funding necessary to have an even greater impact on economic growth.

British Film Institute and film exports

The Film Policy Review is expected to recommend that the BFI act as the single leadership body for UK Film, recognising that its brief is industrial and economic as much as cultural. With that in mind, the Review will call on the BFI to lead the way towards a more vibrant export industry in film that increases its profitability by taking British film to an increasingly broad range of markets. The Film Policy Review will recommend that the BFI develops an ambitious international strategy for UK film, working with the British Film Commission, and broadening the existing focus of work marketing Britain to encompass new and emerging markets.