Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today welcomed the announcement by the world’s most famous special effects company, Industrial Light and Magic, that they will set up a new high tech R&D division in London, creating 200 new jobs.
The company, who are working on the new Star Wars film and have been involved in six of the top ten worldwide box office hits of all time, are moving to the UK following their success in securing support from a £15 million creative industries fund set up by George Osborne at Budget 2013.
The funding will help Industrial Light and Magic and other world leading British companies such as Double Negative, Imaginarium Studios and EA join forces to open up stunning new possibilities in the world of visual effects.
With recent Oscar winning success for British based visual effect companies Framestore and Double Negative for their work on films like Gravity and Inception, the announcement is another sign that the UK is now a world leader in visual effects.
The UK film industry is on the crest of a wave, with Oscar success and a boom in the number of new films being made here. The UK film tax relief, significantly expanded by the Chancellor at Budget 2014 targeted to support further investment in the UK visual effects industry, has played a key role in this. New government data published today shows that over 320 films have benefited from the UK film tax relief last year alone.
British films including Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, The Iron Lady and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel have taken advantage of the film tax relief, which the BFI estimates generates £12 for every £1 invested. Since its introduction, it has provided support for British films with a combined production value of almost £8 billion.
Industrial Light and Magic have previously worked on films such as Indiana Jones, Avatar and Avengers Assemble.
Chancellor George Osborne said:
We set out with our long term economic plan to make the UK the best place in the world for the creative industries. So it is fantastic news that Industrial Light and Magic, one of the top global visual effects companies, is moving to London.
This follows the announcement that the new Star Wars film, which they are also involved with, will be shot here.
It shows that the decisions we have taken in government to make our tax reliefs more competitive and invest in skills and innovation are paying off.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:
The competitive tax reliefs we have in place, combined with the huge UK talent pool we know exists, have been instrumental in cementing our reputation as one of the best places in the world to do VFX work.
I congratulate Industrial Light and Magic on this new facility which is a brilliant example of the international investment that is so important to our outstanding film and visual effects industries.
Lynwen Brennan, President and General Manager at Industrial Light & Magic said:
Industrial Light & Magic has always been a global company, looking to work with the best visual effects talent around the world.
The investments that the government have made in the UK make it a thriving film community with the talent, history and economic model that makes it the ideal location not only for shooting Star Wars – but also the ideal place for ILM.
Sarah Mackey, Chief Executive of visual effects trade body UK Screen, said:
The film VFX sector in and around London goes from strength to strength – combining cutting edge technology, a highly-skilled talent base and facilities with the scale and scope to deliver the biggest and most innovative movies.
I am proud, but unsurprised, to see a major new brand joining a UK VFX sector already populated by world-leading companies. This is the place to be if you want your VFX done first, biggest and best.
Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive at the BFI, said:
The UK is the go-to destination for international filmmakers, and with good reason.
Creativity is in our DNA - we have award-winning talent, facilities, crew and technicians, and the film tax credit makes the UK a highly competitive player in this global industry, attracting major films that bring enormous economic value into the UK and benefitting our independent British filmmakers.
About the film tax relief
The Chancellor announced changes to the film tax relief, which allows film production companies to claim up to 25% off qualifying production costs, at Budget 2014 targeted to support further investment in the UK visual effects industry.
The UK film industry employs 117,000 people, generating over £7.3 billion a year.
According to the BFI, the UK film market is the third largest film market in the world. It has an industry turnover is £7.3 billion, with exports of £1.3 billion, and a trade surplus of £789 million.
About Industrial Light and Magic
Founded in 1975 by George Lucas, Industrial Light and Magic is the leading effects facility in the world.
It has created visual effects for nearly 300 feature films, including Star Wars Episodes I – VI, The Harry Potter series, The Avengers and Pearl Harbour.
Industrial Light and Magic has played a key role in six of the top ten worldwide box office hits of all time and has contributed to 25 of the top 50.
The company has studios in San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver and London.
Industrial Light and Magic has been awarded 15 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and received 26 Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical Achievement.
Photo courtesy of Bartosch Salmanski on Flickr, used under Creative Commons.