Chancellor announces plans to replace parts of EU funding pot for UK films

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A budgetary outline has been announced by the government that will shape the future of the UK’s independent film production sector.

Following the Chancellor’s major spending review announced this week by newspaper leak and in the House of Commons, details have emerged as to how the UK will replace the MEDIA funding pot that exists for creators of film, TV and video game projects, following the completion of Brexit at the year’s end.

In the past, media companies have been able to apply for a share of such funding, with £14.5m, going to the UK in 2018, according to The Hollywood Reporter. For the UK film industry, that funding can be used in a variety of ways, including aiding the exhibition and distribution of UK films around Europe. However, with the country exiting the EU this year, access to MEDIA funding will cease.

Instead, the government has announced the creation of a Global Screen Fund, committing to an initial £7m pot of funding for creative initiatives, including film projects. The cash will be administered by the British Film Institute. The BFI, mindful that the UK’s creative sector is one of the country’s most powerful, had been seeking to support it with approximately £22m, but seem to have accepted the government’s decision.

BFI CEO Ben Roberts states that “today’s £7 million for a pilot Global Screen Fund announced as part of the Government’s Spending Review is a positive result for the independent screen sector in what we appreciate is a challenging fiscal climate. Given the significant contribution of film, TV and video games to the UK economy and our position in the global market, we welcome this new funding which will enable the industry to further grow international partnerships, build on export opportunities and increase our return on investment.”

However, the funding in no way comes close to replacing the broad spread of European funding that the UK film industry has made fruitful use of up until now, with access to other funding streams soon to dry up too and no immediate plans announced to replace them.

CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, Caroline Norbury said: “confirmation of a Global Screen Fund to replace Creative Europe MEDIA is welcome news, but urgent clarity is needed on what will replace Creative Europe Culture and other EU-funded programmes”.

The years ahead will prove to be tricky, as the UK’s independent filmmaking sector, often overlooked by the government in favour of its economy-boosting blockbuster production sector, will have to navigate a new path to financial viability with less funding it seems.

Image: BigStock

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