03 g322 section b the british film industry 2013


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03 g322 section b the british film industry 2013

  1. 1. AS Media Studies Study Notes Unit G322 Section B Audiences and Institutions The Film Industry Part 3The British Film Industry 35
  2. 2. The British Film Industry in 20122012 marks a particularly strong year for British film. As well as the extraordinary performance of the last of the Harry Potter films, 2011 was also marked by great success in the independent sector with The King’s Speech and The Inbetweeners Movie contributing to a record market share for British independent films. But if we were to try to define the year in terms of performance, a good place to start would be to look at how UK film has fared internationally and the strength and success of British talent and creativity abroad... BFI STATISTICAL YEARBOOK 2012Summary of the YearUK films earned 17% of the $33 billion worldwidegross box office last year while, in 2010,the UK filmindustry generated a valuable trade surplus for theBritish economy amounting toover £1.5 billion.Quite justly, UK talent has been feted at all the keyfestivals such asSundance, Toronto, and Cannes,and recognised in the awards season, all of whichhas helpedpromote British culture, skills andcreativity abroad.Digital Projection and VoD (Video on Demand)Virtually all screens in the UK are expected to be digital by the end of 2013 and whilst we areyet to see the uptake of VoD grow significantly as a platform for reaching audiences, itremains a priority technology.Independent UK FilmsUK films enjoyed significant commercial and criticalsuccess in 2011, no more so than athome, whereBritish films took the first four places at the UK boxoffice. It was an exceptional year for independentUK films with The King’s Speech grossing a record£45.7 million at the UK box office, $414 millionworldwide, four Academy Awards® and sevenBAFTA film awards. The second highest grossingindependent film of all time, The Inbetweeners Movie,earned £45 million in the UK and together witha range of films such as,Jane Eyre, My Week with Marilyn and Tinker, Tailor,Soldier, Spy appealed to a wide range of audiencesand helped push independent UK films marketshare to its highest level since records began. The highest grossing film of the year was the finalinstalment of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter andthe Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which earned £73 millionin the UK and over $1.3 billion worldwide. As themost successful film series of all time, Harry Potterhas dominated the global film industry for a decade.Based on UK source material, shot in the UK withBritish cast and crew and produced by a UKcompany with finance from Warner Bros, theseries has grossed £442 million atthe UK box office($7.7 billion at the worldwide box office), sold over30 million copies on allvideo formats in the UKand has been watched over 212 million timeson UK television.Some highlights of 2011… 36
  3. 3. UK films enjoyed significant success in 2011, no more so than at home, where British filmstook the first four places at the UK box office. Itwas an exceptional year forindependent UK films with The King’sSpeech grossing a record £45.7 million at the UKbox office, $414 million worldwide, fourAcademy Awards® and seven BAFTA filmawards. The second highest grossing independentfilm of all time, The Inbetweeners Movie, earned£45 million in the UK and together with a rangeof films such as Jane Eyre, My Week withMarilyn and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy appealedto a wide range of audiences and helped pushindependent UK films market share to its highestlevel since records began.The final Harry Potter film was one of 47 3D films released in 2011, up from 28 in2010, but 3D takings were down from 24% to 20% of UK box office revenues. The use of 3Dwas particularly memorable in feature documentaries during the year including the UKindependent film TT3D: Closer to the Edge, which grossed over £1.2 million at the UK boxoffice. Overall, 2011 was a record year for UK documentaries with Senna breaking the boxoffice record set by Touching the Void in 2003 with takings of £3.2 million.Q.1 Why do you think 3D takings went down when the number and varietyof 3D films increased in 2011? 37
  4. 4. The UK remains the third largest consumer market for film in the world,worth £4 billion or 7% of global revenues. Cinema going remains robust but the decline inrevenues from DVD sales represents a major challenge for the industry.UK films, includingco-productions, accounted for 21% of releases.The significance of the film industry to the UK economy was highlighted in therecent international trade figures published by the Office for National Statistics. The UK filmindustry exported £2.1 billion worth of services in 2010. Total UK production activity in 2011was a record £1.27 billion, with the UK spend associated with inward investment featuresexceeding £1.1 billion, also the highest yet recorded.  Production - While a small number of large budget films are responsible for the majority of UK production value, most domestic films produced in the UK are low and micro-budget features. Of the 200 UK domestic features made in 2011, 62% were produced with budgets of less than £500,000. Over 86% of UK films at this budget level failed to secure a theatrical release.Q.2 Where do you think these films end up being shown?UK films shared 17% of the $33 billion worldwide gross box office in 2011,up from 14% in 2010with the final instalment of the Harry Potter story, the top film of theyear. Oscar®-winner The King’s Speech, earned over $414 million.UK films and talent won 30 major film awards in 2011, with eight of theseawards being won at the Oscars® and 15 at the BAFTAs. The 295 awards received from2001–2011 represented 14% of the total of all major awards.Punching above our weight - of the top 200 global box office successes of 2001–2011,31 films are based on stories and characters created by UK writers. Together they haveearned more than $20 billion (£12.3 billion) at the worldwide box office. Half of the top 20global box office successes of the last 11 years are based on novels by UK writers. More thanhalf of the top 200 films released worldwide since 2001 have featured UK actors in lead or 38
  5. 5. prominent supporting roles. UK directors were behind 24 of the 200 biggest films of thelast 11 years.  Distribution - The top 10 distributors had a 94% share of the market in 2011, the same as in 2010.Weekdays (Monday to Thursday) accounted for 42% of the box office, the highest share since our records began.Q.3 Why do you think there are more people going to the cinemamid-week? Who are more likely to attend the cinema outside ofopening weekends?  Opening weekends represented 28% of the total box office. The estimated total advertising spend was £197 million. The average advertising spend for studio-backed UK films was £1.6 million and for UK independent films was just under £0.2 million.  Exhibition - The UK had 3,767 screens, 96 more than 2010, in 745 cinemas. The UK had the second highest number of digital screens in Europe (behind France). The UK had 1,475 screens capable of screening digital 3D features (54% of all digital screens).  DVD Sales & Rentals - Despite falling revenues, DVD/Blu-ray remains the most important element of the film value chain. In 2011, sales and rentals in the UK generated over £1.4 billion. There were 86 million feature film physical video rentals in 2011 (84 million in 2010) and 152 million sales (160 million in 2010). UK films accounted for around 22% of all films sold on video. The most popular purchase on DVD in 2011 was (not surprisingly) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Online rental with postal delivery LOVEFiLM (www.lovefilm.com/) &Netflix(www.netflix.com/UK)accounted for 46% of all feature film video rental transactions in 2011.Q.4Why do you think there has been a decline in DVD sales in thelast few years? 39
  6. 6. Comparison between 2002 and 2011  In 2002, 369 films were released in UK cinemas, compared to 558 in 2011 (a 51% increase). Admissions in 2002 were at a 30-year high of 176 million generating a box office gross of £755 million (while admissions remained on a plateau for a decade the total gross box office for 2011 exceeded £1 billion).  The top UK film as reported in 2002 was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while Gosford Park and Bend it Like Beckham lifted UK independent share to 6.5% (half the total recorded last year).  As in 2011, the UK’s favourite genre was comedy (27% of box office from 23% releases) but UK audiences were less likely to visit cinemas on a weekday – 68% of the box office was generated on a weekend compared with 58% in 2011. Foreign language films made up 36% of releases but only 2% of the box office (in 2011, there were fewer foreign language films as a share of releases and the box office share remained the same).  In 2002, there were 3,258 cinema screens in the UK but only four of those screens were digital (out of 113 in the world). In home entertainment, DVD players were in a quarter of UK households and a significant number of VHS tapes were still being sold. On demand services were limited to near Video on Demand pay-per-view offers on satellite and cable. Multi-channel television accounted for 22% of the UK television audience and 59% of the population owned a mobile phone.  So what of the future? With broadband speeds increasing, smartphone and tablet ownership on the rise and internet-enabled television sets becoming more commonplace the period of digital transition is by no means complete. The ways in which we choose and watch films has undergone an enormous change in the last decade and the next one is likely to be no different.Q.5Summarise what has remained the same about the UK filmmarket over the last ten years and what has changeddramatically? 40
  7. 7. How do films get funded in the UK?The UK does not have the massive studio structure that Hollywood has in terms of producingfilms but there are now many more ways in which a film can be produced in the UK than everbefore and it is almost impossible to find out about in detail, because of the myriad ofcompanies and consortia involved and the legal and financial minefield about rights, loans,investment deals, tax breaks and funding criteria involved.In the past, there were great British studios that produced successful films, some of whichbecame international hits, for example, Denham Studios, Ealing Studios and the HammerStudios in Bray. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, film-making in the UK became moreand more reliant on Hollywood funding and its cultural and artistic influence.To change this, in May 1997, the then Labour government announced that £92 millionpounds of lottery funding was to be designated from the Department of Culture Media andSport (DCMS) over six years to create three UK mini-studios to produce successful Britishfilms that could compete in the international market place and make a profit for funders andinvestors.The three successful bidders were: 1. PATHÉ PRODUCTIONS – Pathé UK has a major presence within the UK film industry, operating as a fully integrated studio. It is involved in all aspects of film- making, from production and development through to international sales and distribution. Pathé UKs productions range from Aardmans Chicken Run to Stephen Frears The Queen to Danny Boyles Slumdog Millionaire (2009).(http://www.pathe.co.uk/) 2. THE FILM CONSORTIUM – partners included Scala Productions and Virgin, whose previous hits had included The Crying Game (1992) and Michael Collins (1996). Its last film was produced in 2005. 3. DNA Films – headed by Duncan Kenworthy (producer of Notting Hill and Four Weddings...) and Andrew MacDonald (producer of Trainspotting and Shallow Grave).The funding given by the DCMS was not to fund all costs for production – each companywould have to find the rest ofthe finance themselves throughco-production deals with othercountries (usually Europe orthe US), loans, grants fromother organisations or privateinvestment.The companiesgained some successes:Pathéco-produced SlumdogMillionaire (2009) withFilm4,which took £31 millionat the UK box office and theyeven saw a mountaineeringdrama documentary Touchingthe Void (2003) take £12.4million. 41
  8. 8. DNA Films and The Film Consortium have had varying degrees of success. DNA hasreleased titles including Danny Boyles horror hit, 28 Days Later (2002), The History Boys &Last King of Scotland(both 2006) and were also one of the many hands in Love Actually.Steve Coogans comedy The Parole Officer (2001) proved less successful. They are now 50%by Fox Searchlight, the Indiewood arm of 20th Century Fox.They have most recentlyproduced Never Let Me Go (2010) and Dredd 3D (2012)The Film Consortium has not been as successful aswas hoped, although titles such as MichaelWinterbottoms acclaimed In This World (2002)fared well (at least critically).The Lottery franchise projectfailed as it didntreally set up a permanent studio system creating aseries of commercially successful titles for aninternational market place. Maybe that is impossibleto do in the UK with such a diverse range of film-makers,and social and ethnic groups, with manystories and ideasrelevant only to a regional or evenlocal environment.Other ways films are funded inthe UK, apart from via the three above companiesare:Assistance with funding from one of the RegionalScreen Agencies across the UK who may helpwith finding crews, training or seed/developmentfunding for scripts. The Damned Utd (2009) aboutYorkshire based football club Leeds Utd and This Is England (2006) both received help fromScreen Yorkshire because of parts of the production and filming taking place there. 42
  9. 9. Investment from Europe — Bend It Like Beckham (2002) had assistance from theHamburg Film Fund in return for shooting some sequences in Germany, Mike Leigh has adeal with CanalPlus in France for part-funding of his films and Ken Loachs Looking forEric(2009) had investment from Germany and Spain.BBC Films(http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms) and Film4 (http://www.film4.com/film4-productions/current-slate) are still an important source of British cinema by funding work forthe small screen but which is then released into cinemas.The BBC has invested in films sincethe 1970s, although on a much smaller scale than Channel Four, whose Film4 channel wasmade available on digital Freeview in 2006, and screens seasons of British films. Working inpartnership with companies, the BBC has funded some significant films. ITV companies haveparticipated in film finance to a lesser extent. The expansion of cable and satellite TV hasmade more films available on the small screen, but movie channels are in fierce competitionwith sports and other popular channels.Q6. How does film production in the UK seem to be very different fromthe Hollywood model of large, powerful studios?How do you make a ‘British’ film?The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Mediaand Sport (DCMS) is responsible for issuing BritishFilm Certificates on the basis of recommendationsmade by the Certification Unit. In 2011 this Unitbecame part of the British Film Institute (BFI) whenthe BFI assumed responsibility for the majority of theUK Film Council’s functions. Makers of certifiedBritish films can apply for tax relief on qualifyingfilms or apply for Lottery funding from the BFI andother sources. (http://industry.bfi.org.uk/qualifying)Schedule 1 films are films certified as Britishunder Schedule 1 of the Films Act 1985. To qualify,films must pass a UK Cultural Test. Points areawarded for UK elements in the story, setting andcharacters and for where and by whom the film wasmade. A wide variety offilms qualified as Britishunder the Cultural Test in 2011, from The Chroniclesof Narnia: The Voyage of theDawn Treader, TheEagle and Jane Eyre to We Need to Talk About Kevin and Wuthering Heights.Films can also qualify as British if they are certified under the various official UK co-production agreements. Official co-productions must be certified by the competentauthorities in each country as meeting the certifying criteria, which include the creative,artistic, technical and financial input from each co-producer.Films which received final co-production certification in 2011 includeAfrica United, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus andRoute Irish.In 2011, a total of 189 films (170 in 2010) received final certification as British under the 43
  10. 10. Cultural Test.The total budget of finally certified films increased from £1,002 million in 2010to £2,119 million in2011. This increase reflects the higher number of big budget inwardinvestment films made in 2010 feedingthrough to a higher value of final certifications in2011.So we made a great number of Schedule 1 films in 2011, yet there are few well knownpurely British films. This paradox becomes more complicated when we start to explorewhere the money comes from.For example, if a film is made by a British film company, but that company is owned by alarger American group, is the production financed in the UK? And what is the significance ofdistribution? If a film is purely British at the production stage but it is distributed in thiscountry by an American company (who then claw back a chunk of the box office profits), isthis film really a success story for the British Film Industry? British studios are used by overseas companies and a number of blockbusters have been produced in the UK, including the Harry Potter films which have British content but are largely American-financed. For many this situation compromises British cinema, confirming itsdependency on American involvement and its inability to develop an independent infrastructure. On the other hand, co-production arrangements are a reality of contemporary film-making and these do not necessarily prevent interesting films from being made. Another major problem with defining a British film is that in the main, British cinema has meantEnglish cinema, in terms of language and setting. Scotland, Wales and Ireland all have their own funding bodies and Film Development organisations and a number of diverse and innovative films have been produced there. It is important therefore to consider films such as Ratcatcher (1999), The Guard (2011) and TwinTown (1997) as very much productions of their home nations rather than just British films.Q7. What is the benefit to a film producer of their film being branded as British?What is it about ‘Britishness’ that is attractive to investors from outside the UK? Whatis it about ‘Britishness’ that makes it easy for Hollywood studios to dominate our filmmarket? 44
  11. 11. UK Films –the 2005 Crisis!UK film production experienced a crisis in 2005 and early 2006.Investment in the making of films dropped, largely due to the rateof the English poundagainst the American dollar and theavailability of low cost studios in Eastern Europe. Butlater in 2006and since, investment has returned, and this is related to a newGovernmentpolicy of tax relief.This allows producers to beexempt from certain tax payments. Previously there had beenacompulsion for films to be mainly shot in the UK for them toqualify for the avoidance oftax, but in March 2006 this wasrevised to allow for more overseas filming, an attractiveamendment for investors. UK cinema Admissions 2002 - 2009This is a great example of the importance of politics in understanding the media.It is impossible to critically assess the relationship between British films and audiences byonly thinking about cultural reasons why British cinema is more or less successful in relationto Hollywood blockbusters.Behind the scenesthere are financial, political and institutionalreasons why films do or dont get made and released and seen by a potential audience.A recent good example of Hollywoods dominance is the record-breaking box officeperformance of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (2006), seen by industry commentators as a victoryof blanket marketing. Cynics suggest that a film of this scale does not need to be criticallywell received, as the efforts and dollars put into promoting the film so lavishly will guaranteean audience on the opening few nights and subsequentbuy first, review laterDVD sales. Inthis case over £50 million was made at the UK box office, and 1.5 million copies of the DVDwere purchased in the ten days after its release.A study of the ways in which the big Hollywood studios time the release of films is anotherarea of key institutional knowledge for you. The timing of releases in relation to the Oscars,school holidays, the spring/summer blockbuster period and DVD releases at Christmas isstrategic, and any British release attempting to get attention amidst this marketing stealth willbe at the mercy of this. 45
  12. 12. Case Study - BBC FilmsBritish films have experienced a boom since 2006, largelydue to a renaissance of television companies involvementin production and distribution. The BBC and Channel 4have both invested far more in film than at any time sincethe 1980s. The recent television licence fee increases hasmeant that the BBC have had more money to invest indomestic film production - another example of cross-media political/institutional events being hugely importantin cultural developments.BBC films are co-funded with anoverseas investor, usuallyAmerican. The most successful of these in 2006 was TheQueen, produced without major Hollywood finance.Clearly The Queen, despite its indigenous qualities, can beseen as following the typical route of making films aboutEnglish culture with an eye to the US audience, previouslyachieved by films such as Notting Hill and Bend it LikeBeckham.Q8. How many of these could be considered British films?How many of them are co-productions where the majority of the money leaves the country? What does this sayabout the scale of the UK film industry? 46
  13. 13. In the 1990s, British film makers tried to imitate the Hollywood genre approach, most notably with the proliferation of gangster films in the wake of the success of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2001) This is now seen by the industry and its commentators as fatal, as this statement from Ian George, managing director of Twentieth Century Fox UK, demonstrates: The films that have succeeded have not tried to ape Hollywood. They have been typically British subjects, done in an entertaining, confident way. (Grant 2007) The institutional relationship between BBC/Channel 4 and film is always changing, in the last few years it has been in a healthy state with the BBC co-funding Streetdance 3-d, Brighton Rock, An Education, Revolutionary Road and theTV spin-off In the Loop. With the current financial situation though, funding to TV from bothGovernment and advertising has slowed or even crashed, meaning less money for less filmsand more pressure on those films to succeed. In the UK the cinema tradition has been less protective of film culture than other countries and more concerned with commercial viability...Nowadays, television plays an important part in theprocess, investing real money in the real marketplace while remaining cushioned from the direct economic constraints of failure by the nature of TV accounting. The return on the investment is represented by the broadcast rights to the film, money that would otherwise have to be spent to acquire some two hours of programming.(Roddick 2007)Q9. Which one of these two films recently released in the UK do you think is a BBCco-production and why?Find out here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms/about/ 47
  14. 14. Case Study – UK Film Council closed in 2010. Why?What was it?The UK Film Council (UKFC) was the lead agency for film in the UK, covering theeconomic, cultural and educational areas, and representing the UK cinema industry abroad.Established by the Labour government in 2000, the UK Film Council was mainly concernedwith the economics of film production, attempting to create a healthy, competitive UK filmproduction base. It has assisted with the funding of a range of titles including in the last yearMade in Dagenham, The Kings Speech, Centurion (all 2010), Harry Brown (2009), Glorious39 (2009), Brighton Rock (in production) and Dorian Gray (2009).What did it do?As well as supporting film production, the UKFC also has a remit to invest in a series of otherinitiatives including:  Film Distribution and ExhibitionTherewere two major initiatives here that allowed morepeople the chance to see a wider rangeof films (though notnecessarily all from the UK).The Digital Screen Network Fund allowed theatrical and non-theatrical (that is, non-cinema based) venues to project films on DVD or video which will provide greateraccessibility for non-mainstream (i.e. silent cinema, classics, foreign language) films forgroups like film societies, schools and community groups. It also allowed new film-makers toshow their work without having to pay for a massively expensive transfer to 16mm or 35mmfilm prints.Eventually it is hoped that films will be screened via computers or the web andtransmitted down the line without any traditional projection equipment. The Regional Screen Agencies Nine organisations across England were set up to administer UKFC funding (around £7.5 million) to film projects, cinemas and film clubs, production companies, and training initiatives. One exampleisScreenYorkshire(http://screenyorkshire.co.uk/)based in Leeds. Another is Film London(http://filmlondon.org.uk/)which help set up the Microwave scheme that led to the productionof Shifty (2009)The other major initiative with regard to film distribution was the Prints and AdvertisingFund, which can pay for increased publicity and advertising space and also increase thenumber of prints available to screen. The fund has made grants to a wide range of films,including Oscar-winner The Lives of Others(2006) as well as award winning British titles likethe Red Road, Control, London to Brighton and This is England. These films already had acertain amount of cross-over appeal – that is to say they may have played successfully in a 48
  15. 15. small amount of art-house screens – but could also appeal to a more mainstream audience.The scheme has been seen as a great success, as it brought a range of titles to Britishaudiences who may otherwise never have experienced them.  Film ProductionThe money UKFC invested came from both the government, via the DCMS, and cash raisedfrom the National Lottery and it is likely that any UK produced film or major UK co-production released over the last 10 years would have had some input from the Film Councilat some time.Films were funded via a series of different channels: 1. The Premiere Fund, which looked at financing commercial mainstream titles with a broad international appeal many of which have already been listed. 2. The New Cinema Fund, which helped to support more specialised, independent work and cutting edge film-making particularly assisting with productions from the English regions. Recent examples have included In the Loop (2009), Man on Wire(2006) and Adulthood (2005). 3. The Development Fund, which assisted film-makers to get ideas off the ground, concentrating specifically on raising the quality of screenwriters. Most UK films of the last few years would have received financial assistance of up to £25,000 for their original drafting from this fund.Funding feature films is a complex combination of public money, overseas investment,biddingwars between sales agents and distribution and sponsorship deals. What the UK FilmCouncil didfor budding movie-makers was to offer them a place to go first in search of funding. Although there were a number of successful initiatives funded by the UKFC, as well as a stream of critically and commercially successful films, there were also some criticism of it as an organisation, mainly from areas of the right wing tabloid press attacking the fact the public money has been used to fund a vile sex film such as Sex Lives of The Potato Men’ (2004) or Lesbian Vampire Killers (2008).Criticism is not just levelled at the content of some UKFC funded films, but the fact that theyare not value for money, losing money at the box office and unable to compete in theinternational market.  Prime minister urges British film to be more ‘mainstream’David Cameron announced in Jan 2012 that National Lottery money:“will be directed at „mainstream‟ films that could become commercial successes, rather than„art house‟ cinema that generates limited box office sales. A strategy for exporting Britishfilm-making expertise will also be announced as part of a drive to exploit the potential of the 49
  16. 16. £40billion industry to create jobs. The Prime Minister will outline the plans during a visit toPinewood studios in west London, where the next James Bond adventure is being filmed. Theproposal to focus lottery money on films that are likely to be commercially successful filmscould be criticised by some independent film-makers, who are already aggrieved at theCoalition‟s decision to abolish the UK Film Council. Mr Cameron believes that resourcesshould be focused on fully exploiting the potential to make the film industry even morelucrative. He said he wanted to build on “the incredible success of recent years”. “Our roleshould be to support the sector in becoming even more dynamic and entrepreneurial, helpingUK producers to make commercially successful pictures that rival the quality and impact ofthe best international productions,” he said. “Just as the British Film Commission has playeda crucial role in attracting the biggest and best international studios to produce their filmshere, so we must incentivise UK producers to chase new markets both here and overseas.”  Reasons for scrapping the UKFCIn the governments opinion, the Film Council did not work; or at least not well enough tojustify its survival.Over the past decade, it has ploughed £160m of Lottery money into more than 900productions (some good, some awful!). It has also funded the British Film Institute andSkillset, which furnishes the industry with a steady supply of trained technicians. Veteranproducer David Puttnam has hailed it as the strategic glue that binds a disparate sprawl ofauteurs, craftspeople, circus barkers and market traders and its abolition sparked fiercecriticism, both here (where 50 big-name actors signed a letter of protest) and in the US (whereClint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg waded into the fray).Even its most ardent supporters, though, will concede the UKFC was far from perfect. It hasbeen accused of cronyism, arrogance and waste. It has been attacked for throwing publicmoney at the art house (courtesy of its New Cinema Fund) on the one hand and for backingmainstream work (courtesy of its Premiere Fund) that would surely find funding elsewhere onthe other. Its foes, meanwhile, revile the UKFC as a classic example of state bureaucracy – anall-powerful quango that presumes to tell businesses what films they can and cannot make.For the film-maker Julian Fellowes, the body is a "behemoth" that epitomizes "the anti-commercial mindset of the film elite". For Michael Winner, that bumptious remnant from theunregulated days of British film production, its a needless extension of the welfare state. "Thecouncil gives a lot of work to people who are out of work and who probably deserve to be outof work," he says.  So what happened next?31 March 2011 was the final official day of business at the UKFCs offices in Little PortlandStreet, London, and former Film Council staff today find themselves working for the BritishFilm Institute, which will take over many of the abolished bodys functions. Others, includingthe office of the British Film Commissioner, have been transferred to regional agency FilmLondon, which will oversee the task of promoting the UK as a film-making destination.The decision to hand the BFI responsibility for distributing lottery funding to film-makerscame in November, partly assuaging widespread concern that the government had notconsidered the future of public investment in British movies when making its decision to axethe council. At the same time Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, further sugared the pill byannouncing that the £28m lottery grant the industry receives would be increased to around 50
  17. 17. £43m by 2014.If ministers were rattled by the vocal support for the council, they might have been cursingtheir luck in February when The Kings Speech, a film part-funded by the UK Film Council,took four Oscars at the annual Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Other productionsin the last five years alone that might never have made it to the big screen without thecouncils support include Nowhere Boy, Fish Tank, In the Loop, Man on Wire, Hunger,Happy-Go-Lucky, This is England, Vera Drake and The Last King of Scotland. Of moviesrecently in cinemas or due to arrive on the big screen, Richard Ayoades critically acclaimedfirst film Submarine, Andrea Arnolds Wuthering Heights and the forthcoming Joe Cornish-penned comedy Attack the Block all received UKFC funding.Three weeks ago, a National Audit Office report roundly criticised the UKFCs axing,suggesting it was "not informed by a financial analysis of the costs and benefits of thedecision". The UKFCs entire annual budget was a reported £3m, while the cost of closing itdown and restructuring is estimated to have been almost four times that amount.Q10. Why do you think the Coalition government decided to close downthe UKFC?  How does a film make a profit?Box office income does not all go back to the film-makers. After tax is deducted, a percentageis given to the film distributor which could be between 35-60 % and the cinema exhibiting thefilm is left with the rest. So, if a film makes £lmillion at the box office, the rough sums wouldlook like this: £1,000,000 in gross UK box office takings minus VAT @ 20%(£200,000) leaves £800,000 minus distributor share of 45 % (£360,000) leaves £440,000 minus UKFC investment payback of £200,000 leaves £240,000 minus payback for other investors of £120,500 leaves £119,500 So a film that takes £1 million gross box office will leave a profit of £119,000!There might also be other payments such as bank loans, outstanding bills and payments, orpercentage cuts for some cast and crew who have deferred on a salary and opted for profitshare in the profits.Unless a British film has the backing in terms of money, resources, expertise and sheer cloutfrom a major US studio (Working Tide films has Universal, Harry Potter has Warner Bros.,the Bond movies have MGM, United Artists and 20th Century Fox) it will be very hard for itto make a profit.Q11. Do you think the UK film industry needs a body like the UKFC/BFl?Why? 51