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The British and US Film Industry

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  • 1. The British and US Film Industry
  • 2. Brief History  The industry has experienced a number of booms and recessions since the industry’s first boom in the 1930s.  Alfred Hitchcock’s films, prior to his move to Hollywood, were some of Britain’s earliest successes. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938)  The 1970s to 1990 were the most recent recession for the industry.
  • 3. Recent Renaissance • 1990s - Successful British costume dramas  1994 - release of Four Weddings and a Funeral - Box office success  British comedy success - Brassed Off(1996) and The Full Monty (1997)  Impact of the National Lottery  UK Film Council (more on this later)  American productions return to the UK
  • 4. Important Debates • The choices for the British film industry= • 1. Make low budget films targeted at mainstream British audiences • 2. Make low budget films for niche ‘art-house audiences’ in the UK and abroad • 3. Look for partners in Europe and/or America and aim for more clearly an international audience
  • 5. Ask yourself  Why is it important for Britain to have a successful film industry?  ‘The country of origin of a film is irrelevant. Why should we be bothered if all films at our cinemas were made in the USA?’ Do you agree with this view.  What factors have contributed to the success in the UK and/or abroad of British films produced since 1990?
  • 6. What is a British Film?  A setting in the UK? or  A focus on British people abroad?  A predominantly British cast?  A storyline about some aspect of British life?  Based on the work of a British author?
  • 7. What is a British Film?  Diversity makes a defining a ‘British’ film very challenging.  Range of definitions – each worth different amounts Need 16 point to qualify as British.  Read carefully through the hand out and use it to judge whether or not the two following examples are British or not
  • 8. Is ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ a British film?  Yes:- Director – Paul Greengrass is British Large section is filmed in London, some studio work at Pinewood  Largely British crew    No:- Doesn’t reflect British themes or concerns  Lots of other locations  Produced by Universal – Frank Marshall and Doug Liman are American  Universal are American owned company 
  • 9. Is ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ a British film?  Yes:- Director – David Yatesis British Large sections is filmed in England and Scotland,  Largely British crew including producers  Largely British Actors  Based on the work of an British Author (Rowlings)    No:- Produced/Distributed by Warner Bros – they are American owned company  Some key personnel were not British eg Portuguese Cinematographer 
  • 10. What about our Case Study Films?  Shifty Fifth Estate Hobbit
  • 11. Funding for British Films  UK Film Council-British Film Institute fund script development, film production, short films, film export and distribution, cinemas, film education, culture and archives, festivals and audience support schemes  Film Fund 15 mil per year (90% of applicants will be rejected) and money from Lotteries  Innovation Fund – to help move to the digital age esp in rural areas   Co Production deals which BFI can help set up  Tax Breaks
  • 12. Main British Production Companies Can you name films by these production companies? Who dominates the UK film industry?
  • 13. Producing British Films  Very different to the US set  Govt support  Independent Film Production Houses  Working Title, Warp Films, Ealing Studios Film4  Need to team up with a distribution company (US)  ‘Can be very hard to get films made in Britain and they are not necessarily very profitable (Harry Potter/James Bond)  Need to be distinctively British.
  • 14. The importance of a national film industry  Significant returns for the UK economy through film making, inward investment, film exhibition, DVD rentals and sales, film exports  The UK Film Council estimates that a successful Brit film will make up to 70% of its revenue outside the UK
  • 15. British Cinema and Hollywood  British film production companies have co- production and distribution with Hollywood studios  ‘British’ films can be funded and distributed by US companies (Fifth Estate)  Decisions on which British films to produce and how to market them are often based on the tastes of both domestic and American audiences and they have very set ideas about what it means to be ‘British’
  • 16. Hollywood – a brief overview  Hollywood is built around studios and conglomerates  Companies who aim to make money from films
  • 17. WHAT IS A CONGLOMERATE? a corporation consisting of a number of subsidiary companies or divisions in a variety of unrelated industries, usually as a result of merger or acquisition. They are VERY big companies that have often brought up or taken over smaller companies
  • 18. The BIG TEN