Monday, 7 December 2015

The British Film Industry


Who does what in the film industry?

Important institutions:

  • The BBFC is a British institution that is independent and not funded by the government. It classifies and and censors film, video as well as computer and console-based games released in the UK.

  • The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image, - film, television and games. 

  • The British Council is the official UK agency for international cultural relations. Its Film department promotes new British films (features and shorts), internationally principally through festivals and showcases.

  • The BFI is an institution that focuses on promoting and understanding the appreciation of Britain's rich film and television heritage and culture. 

  • The UK Film Council is an institution that is backed by the government. It ensures that the economical, cultural and educational aspects of the film are effectively represented both home and abroad,  


Main British Production Companies

Film 4 are a big production company based in the UK. 5 of their most recent films could include:
  • The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)       
  • One Day (2011)
  • Ex_Machina (2015)
  • A Most Wanted Man (2014)
  • The Imposter (2012)

  • The Last Witch Hunter (2015)
  • The Hunger Games Franchise (2012-2015)
  • Tracers (2015)
  • All Stars (2013)
  • 12 Years Of A Slave (2013)

  • The Theory Of Everything (2014)
  • Everest (2015)
  • I Give It A Year (2013)
  • Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010)
  • Senna (2010)

  • Selma (2014)
  • Daddy or Mommy (2015)
  • Philomena (2013)
  • The Iron Lady (2011)
  • Miral (2010) 

  • Attack the Block (2011)
  • Cuban Fury (2014)
  • The World's End (2013)
  • In Fear (2013)
  • Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

  • Submarine (2010)
  • Tyrannosaur (2011)
  • Snowtown (2011)
  • Four Lions (2010)
  • For Those In Peril (2013)

Who dominates the UK film industry?

British films can claim 25% tax relief from the government. This means the first 25% of any profit you make cannot be taxed!
To qualify as 'British', a film need to score 18/35 on the Cultural Test for Film.

  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron = 12/35 // not classified as a British film.
  • Ex_Machina = 11/35 // not classified as a British film.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens = 20/35 // classified as a British film.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road = 13/35 // not classified as a British film.
How do British films attract audiences (consider how these films might attract either a British or a global audience) ?

British films will attract a British audience, because the British audience can relate to an underlying issue or theme of a film, if it is British. For example, British comedies will have subjects of British humor running throughout it, that sometimes, only a British audience will understand, because it relates to the country's current welfare state and other media related issues.

Many major Hollywood productions have been filmed in British studios, on British locations with British visual effectives companies etc.
£1.1 billion was spent of film production in the U.K in 2013. This was up 7.5% compared to the previous year (2012). The UK provide 42,000 people with jobs within the British film industry.

So, the British film industry is a big business.

Elstree Studios, North London, is one of the UK's biggest film studios. It has housed a range of productions, from blockbuster movies like: 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows', to TV Shows such as: 'Strictly Come Dancing' and 'Big Brother'. Being built in 1926, the studios has a long history attached to it.

In the 1970's, the studios received a large amount of success. In this year, George Lucas, American director, came over from the states to produce the first 'Star Wars' film and another 2 in the franchise.
Following this success, his friend Steven Spielberg came over to produce the 3 'Indiana Jones' films in the Elstree Studios.

Despite the success from these franchises, in the 80's and 90's, the film industry became under threat for failing and the Elstree Studios was in danger of closing. Local and political campaigns were introduced, because people were unhappy that these things were happening.

In 1996, the local council bought the studios from the property developer, with the intention to re-build and re-develop the studios. They invested money back into the system to do this.

This was a wise and profitable move made, as now there is a building part of the studios, named the 'George Lucas Stage', which was used to produced many feature films and TV Shows over the last 20 years.

Roger Morris, managing director of Elstree Studios, has explained how there is a 10 year plan inn order to make Elstree Studios, the most successful it can be. Within this plan, new building schemes, new studios and new workshops are being planned to come about.

He explains how recently they have spent a 'good few million' on an area behind the studios, that has been cleared out and sorted in order to produce more workshops and stages in the 4 acres of land made. The previous space, was used to create the feature film: 'The Shining'.

The last 15 years has seen a dramatic change in how films are actually made. The majority of motion pictures are now shot on digital rather than film, with British film studios not just facilitating the production of major Hollywood movies, but contributing to their dazzling visual effects too.

Framestore , is one of the biggest visual effect institutions in the UK. It won a (Bafta) and (Oscar) for their work on the feature moving picture 'Gravity'. The company's base, is located just of London's Oxford Street. William Sargent is the C.E.O and co-founder of Framestore. He states that the company began with producing TV ad's and music videos, then worked their way up to things like feature films and TV Shows. Their biggest success within television, was the hit British show: 'Merlin'. His most proudest work was one from Spielberg: 'War Horse', and obviously 'Gravity', with the amount of success it reached. He also had a lot of fun making effects for the Marvel movie, 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' starring Chris Pratt.

It's only been in the last few years, though, that Hollywood have recognised the success and talent distributed from the UK. Sargent says: 'Here in the UK, the thing that has taken off in the past decade is not just the visual effects but the whole package that the UK  has to offer.' He discusses the fact that we have the capacity to allow a number of Hollywood films to be made in the UK all at one time, which is something that used to be unavailable to do.

Growing demand has come from the Government's increased efforts to attract international productions to the UK.

The agency FILM LONDON, that was established just under 10 years ago, to encourage more major movie producing companies to come to the capital of the country.

There are things that are specific to British films that US and other region films, do not have.

Adrian Wooton is the C.E.O of FILM LONDON. He says that based on statistics, 40 film crews are working in London today.

One of the main reasons more production companies have decided to base themselves in the UK, has been the film 'tax relief'. This was introduced by the previous government in 2007. This was the reasoning for the industry beginning to build.

If a film that was had any British input passes the 'cultural test', then they qualify as a British film and this means they are in order for tax relief. The films that cost under £20million to make, are guaranteed at getting over 20% of the back, however films that cost more than £20million to make are only entitled to around 13/14% of the money spent. By the UK offering this out to production companies, the UK benefit as for every £1 they give out, the company spend £12 more. This is a fantastic ratio, because the UK are handing money out, but getting it back in a much greater amount.

The British film industry's hope is that such tax credits, will mean that British film spreads to other creative industries and the country will be the 'Global content Hub of The World'.

Wooton wants it to be the place where everybody comes to make movies, like Hollywood stereotypically is now. He thinks the UK have the opportunity in front of them to really become a World leader.

The system proves to be great, because films like the latest 'Avengers' movie and the brand new 'Star Wars' film was chosen to be made partly with the UK's help. Without it, the films couldn't have been made so well.

International companies bottom line are in love with the talent that the UK has to offer. Together with the infrastructure and system, the British film industry is looking to have a positive and promising future.


Mainstream: Unlikely to ever view anything other than major 'Hollywood' style blockbusters.

Mainstream Plus: Generally mainstream, but apt for less mainstream films on the odd occasion.

Aficionados: Tend to view a mix of films, including major foreign language titles, and can be encouraged to become even more adventurous in their viewing choices.

Film Buffs: Eschew mainstream films in favour for more extreme, esoteric, challenging and difficult subject matter films.

In my opinion, I think a mainstream audience would be interested in blockbusters such as the new 'Star Wars' film, because of the amount of screens it will be distributed across and also the amount of good reviews it has been getting from the public and media. Based on attractiveness, it looks like the leading success- so mainstream audiences would go to see that film. Compared with the say, 'Aficionados' who would have chosen to see things like 'The Suffragettes' and 'Ex_Machina'. All these films were produced in the UK and had a large amount of British involvement.

Why have a British Film Industry?

Without a film industry here in Britain there would be a limit to how films are made and what films are about. Production companies enjoy the talent that the UK have to offer and in order to get the most successful media product.

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