How much of the UK film economy comes from abroad?

As we’ve previously discussed, the UK film economy is currently in bullish form.  One of the major reasons is the high levels of ‘Inward Investment’  i.e. films from other countries which are choosing to shoot in the UK.  

A few people have asked me to give an idea of just how much of the UK film economy comes from abroad.

How much of the UK film economy comes from aboard?

Productions funded by non-British sources have been growing significantly over the past decade. In 2016 they accounted for 85% of the money spent on film production in the UK, up from 67% in 2006.  This is thanks to the recent trend of the UK housing some of the world’s biggest films, such as all …

Read full article

The state of the UK film industry

The newspapers last week featured headlines like “UK film production break[s] records” and “Star Wars punches London film industry past light speed“.  This led to a number of people contacting me to ask if the overall message was true – is the UK film industry really doing as well as is being claimed?  

Most of the messages came from independent British filmmakers who were either sceptical at the claim that all was rosy in UK film, or who thought that the numbers were being cooked to make things look better than they are. 

The first thing to note is that I don’t doubt for a moment that the data is correct.  The BFI does a terrific job at collecting the raw data, …

Read full article

What needs to change in the UK film industry

It appears to me that the UK film industry is currently in a period of increased introspection.  Even before the Brexit vote, I noticed a rise in the number of questions I received from industry professionals, both online and in person, about what’s next for UK film.  Popular topics include equality within the industry, the dramatic fall in micro-budget production and the response of the British Film Institute (BFI) on various issues.

And then in June, the decision by UK voters to leave the EU shocked the film industry. The vast majority of filmmakers didn’t have a working knowledge of how the UK film industry connected with European bodies and institutions, and only learnt the advantages they had been receiving once the decision had been made to discontinue them.  Scaremongering …

Read full article

What types of films compete in the London Film Festival?

In a few weeks the 59th BFI London Film Festival will open, screening 238 films from 72 countries in 16 cinemas over 12 days.  The main accolade awarded each year is the ‘Best Film’ prize, which last year was won by Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan.  This year’s 13 nominees have just been announced and the winner will be revealed on the last day of the festival, 17th October. 

The London Film Festival is the highest profile UK film festival and takes place in many of the UK’s most prestigious cinematic venues.  It’s often regarded as being in the second tier of major international festivals, behind only The Big Five (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance and Toronto).  Each festival has their own tastes and therefore screen certain types of films.  Earlier this year …

Read full article

UK films with public funding hire more women

Today’s article is an offshoot of two strands of research I’ve been working on over the past few years – gender in the film industry and UK films with public funding.  I looked at the percentage of female writers, producers and directors within UK films, focusing on how the female representation changes between films supported by a public body and those that are not.

In summary…

  • 20% of UK films shot 2009-13 received some form of public funding
  • Across all UK films 2009-13, women accounted for 14% of directors, 27% of producers and 15% of writers
  • On publicly-backed films, women account for 20% of directors, 32% of producers and 24% of writers
  • The BFI fund a disproportionately large number of dramas, biopics and period dramas
  • The BFI …
Read full article

Which BFI funded films returned the most money?

Last week I looked at the previous six year’s worth of financial accounts for the UK Film Council (UKFC) and the BFI, focusing on the recoupment stats. I have since managed to build a complete set of accounts for the 12 years between 1st April 2002 and 31st March 2014.

In summary…

  • Across all BFI funded films between 2002-14, the UKFC / BFI has received 37.6% of its money back
  • 29.4% of UKFC/ BFI funded films have returned at least £1
  • Only 5.8% have returned the full amount they were awarded
  • The highest returning funding scheme was the Franchise Funds, which returned 71% of its investments
  • The average development award was for £62,291
  • Half of development funding awards were under £25,000.
  • Of those feature films awarded development funding, 24% …
Read full article

Do BFI backed films make a profit?

As I get further down the rabbit hole of publicly-funded UK films, I’m finding curiouser and curiouser results.  Today’s research looks at the money that is returned to public organisations if a film they backed performs well. I have previously looked at How the BFI awarded £129 million in the past four years, Which public bodies are funding UK films and If publicly-backed films are any good so today I will not be addressing where the funding comes from.

Instead, I’ve been going through the BFI’s financial reports over the past decade to look at how their investments fared.  It’s fascinating to get a window into how these BFI backed films performed for investors. Normally, we only get to see gross box office figures, …

Read full article

How the BFI awarded its £129 million over four years

Over the past few weeks I have been looking at UK-based public funding for films.  It appears to be a hot topic for UK filmmakers as I’ve had all manner of emails and social media messages asking for more details.  So I decided to dig deeper into the largest public body dedicated to supporting UK film – the British Film Institute (BFI).

Over the past four years, the BFI has awarded almost £129 million of National Lottery money to films, filmmakers and film related organisations and events.  Fortunately for us, the BFI publishes details of its awards and so I crunched the data.

In summary…

  • Between April 2011 and March 2015, the BFI awarded £128,831,288
  • The money was dispersed via 1,178 awards across 927 unique projects
  • Around 75% of those projects …
Read full article

Which film genres receive the most UK public funding?

Last week I answered a question posed by someone working in a public funding institution, who wanted to know if organisations like theirs are involved with better-than-average films. The result showed that, yes, they were. This week, I am answering a question on a related topic but this time from a filmmaker. They emailed me to ask “Which genres get the most UK public funding?”. In summary…

  • 39% of UK films have drama as one of their genres
  • One in five of UK films have some UK public funding
  • 55% of the films the BFI / UKFC backed 2009-13 were dramas
  • The BBC are half as likely as the BFI to back a thriller
  • Almost a third of all films backed by the BBC were documentaries
  • Over a five year period, …
Read full article

Are films with public funding better than those without?

I recently had a conversation with someone who works at a major film public funding body (who shall remain nameless) and they said “I am starting to doubt if the films we fund are actually any better than the ones we don’t”.  

It sounded like a good topic to investigate so I agreed to do some research. This goes to the heart of why public funding for films exists – is it to train filmmakers, to foster creativity/art, to invest in an industry or for something else entirely?  Without knowing why we support films with public funding we can’t agree on an objective set of factors to measure success.  

However, in order to investigate this topic today I am going to take a leap and …

Read full article