The industry has experienced a number of booms
and recessions since the industry’s first boom in the
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
• 1990s - Successful British costume dramas
1994 - release of Four Weddings and a Funeral - Box
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
• The choices for the British film industry=
• 1. Make low budget films targeted at mainstream
• 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
Why is it important for Britain to have a successful
‘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
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?
What is a British Film?
Diversity makes a defining a ‘British’ film very
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
Is ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ a British
Director – Paul Greengrass is British
Large section is filmed in London, some
studio work at Pinewood
Largely British crew
Doesn’t reflect British themes or
Lots of other locations
Produced by Universal – Frank
Marshall and Doug Liman are
Universal are American owned
Is ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ a
Director – David Yatesis British
Large sections is filmed in England and
Largely British crew including
Largely British Actors
Based on the work of an British
Produced/Distributed by Warner Bros –
they are American owned company
Some key personnel were not British eg
What about our Case Study Films?
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
Main British Production Companies
Can you name films by these
Who dominates the
UK film industry?
Producing British Films
Very different to the US set
Independent Film Production Houses
Working Title, Warp Films, Ealing Studios
Need to team up with a distribution
‘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.
The importance of a national film
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
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’
Hollywood – a brief overview
Hollywood is built around studios and
Companies who aim to make money from films
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
They are VERY big companies that have often brought
up or taken over smaller companies