1.4 Why there is public funding: the economy
Tax incentives are very important elements in the financing of independent film. In the first week of this course, Ben Roberts described some of the direct benefits to the film industry of the inward investment that such incentives help foster. It's time to consider this in some more depth.
The creative economy is big business. Within its role in the entertainment media industries, film is particularly attractive to economic development targets because it is perceived as creating knowledge-intensive jobs and bringing additional benefits to the economy, in the form of tourism and image. A film may help market the region or town where scenes were shot.
Because film activity is highly visible to the public, it appeals to policy makers who want to be seen as taking action to improve their local economy. Economic development initiatives aimed at attracting entertainment media are very different from those whose intention is to foster a ‘creative class’ or improve the local quality of life through cultural initiatives.
The global market for media entertainment products in general has continued to expand. Furthermore, there have been major changes in how media products are financed and produced. Producers can find locations globally which have excellent studio facilities and skilled production crews and where they may benefit from low-cost labour. Policy measures in European countries have transformed a film industry once based on protecting the expression of cultural distinctiveness, into one also oriented toward attracting global productions. National or regional subsidies, once reserved for culturally distinct productions for national or international niche markets, now finance films aimed at a broader audience.