The business of film
The business of film

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The business of film

2.3 Should we protect home-grown production?

Alex Hamilton is Managing Director of a film distribution company, and you'll see much more of him during the course. In this video he argues that there is a natural capacity limit for British film-making that is purely home-grown. There are only so many resources and so much money available.

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Transcript: Video 4 Alex Hamilton talks about inward investment

ALEX HAMILTON
Inward investment we always just should assume it's something of a double-edged sword. It's great that you can encourage inward investment into the UK from the studios, and that there a means in which to do that, but you have to accept it the indigenous industry, as it were, is only a thing of a certain size. If it takes a lot of inward investment from the studios, it inevitably constricts the space within which the indigenous industry can promote and produce homegrown films. It's a perennial debate. The notion that Gravity is a British film and it qualified as a British film. Now it's a very high end top quality studio product, which benefited from the welcoming context for inward investment.
 It actually should be indigenous, homegrown, film industry be supported and made wider. Is that something that- is film greater than the sum of its economic parts? I think you'd get a lot of people would say, that yes any industry, and film is no different from any other, is greater than the sum of its economic parts because it has a cultural impact, a social impact. It's not simply about the primacy of the economic narrative. I think that's the double-edged sword of inward investment. It's great that we're making Star Wars and Marvel and other big, big movies in the UK.
 It keeps a lot of people in work, generates real jobs, but we also want to be creating the Billy Elliots, the Full Monty, the Trainspottings. I'm trying to think of more recent examples, actually and just suddenly struggling, but very successful British films.
End transcript: Video 4 Alex Hamilton talks about inward investment
Video 4 Alex Hamilton talks about inward investment
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The fiscal incentives offered in the UK to film production are generous. In order to qualify for such tax relief, a film is scored in a test designed to see whether it qualifies as being a British film.

You might think that it is obvious what is meant by a ‘British film’, but it’s not as simple as that. The term encompasses a much wider range of films than you might imagine.

A film such as Gravity qualifies as British, despite its global, US studio credentials, because UK post-production played a significant part in its production. In addition to UK-specific criteria, the test is heavily influenced by European Union (EU) regulation and therefore, in certain aspects, is not just about the UK.

There is a broader cultural measure: subject matter and lead characters can be British, or from any country from the EU. Similarly, a film can qualify on the basis of its language – any EU indigenous language qualifies, including English.

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