BFI International Fund
In 2011, global box office receipts for UK film reached $5.6 billion, 17% of the global theatrical market. Two thirds of the box office revenues of independent UK films are earned in overseas markets, with other media such as DVD and television also delivering very significant returns internationally. These activities – export sales and inward investment – are crucial to the cultural and commercial success of UK film. Likewise, UK talent makes a huge impact internationally, UK film archives play a leading role on the international stage, and British film plays a key role in helping to attract tourists to the UK.
The strength and vitality of creativity in British film is dependent on our capacity to absorb a wide variety of cinematic influences from across the world. Our film culture has been shaped by international influences since the birth of cinema. From The Lodger to Slumdog Millionaire, from Powell and Pressburger to Bevan and Fellner, the creative and cultural impact of international cinema upon the UK is readily apparent.
In partnership with Government, the industry, trade associations and public sector agencies, we will harness collective expertise, cultural capital and financial resources to maximise future growth. Our focus will be on working with partners around a small number of priority territories and in particular maintaining our trade partnership with the US, while seeking to diversify our overseas markets by growing, for example, trade with Brazil and China.
We will champion UK film skills and talent internationally, boost co-production, help sustain and grow the UK’s inward investment and export sectors, and recognise the value of exchanging cultural assets, such as collections of films and curatorial skills, in building new trading relations. We will continue to support the MEDIA Desk UK, and gather and make available related market intelligence and work to ensure that the European Union’s audiovisual policy framework works for audiences and film in the UK.
We will take a leadership role in implementing a jointly-owned international strategy for film stimulated by the targeted use of Lottery and Grant in Aid funding. To underpin the international strategy, we have created a £1.2m International Fund with specific support for inward investment and film exports.
UK inward investment films are culturally British films that are substantially financed and controlled from beyond our shores but which feature UK cast, crew, locations, facilities, post-production, visual effects and are often based on UK source material. On average, they account for three quarters of total film production spend in the UK and in 2011 this UK spend associated with inward investment features was £1 billion. The promotion of the UK is crucial in providing work for UK talent and UK film companies and is led by the British Film Commission (BFC) in partnership with Creative Scotland, the Film Agency for Wales, Northern Ireland Screen and Creative England. The BFI will provide additional funding for two key areas. First, to enable the BFC to maintain its activity in the US. This additional funding will help restore BFC core funding to 2010/11 levels. Secondly, to investigate opportunities to win new business from other priority territories, in partnership with UK Trade and Investment and the industry. Applications will open in 2013.
Film exports of UK films help ensure that audiences around the world enjoy a full range of British film culture and they are a critical part of the financing landscape for UK film.
UK producers and sales agents need relationships and opportunities to enable them to work globally if they are to successfully understand the global imperatives of the film business, while UK directors need exposure internationally to build on early success and to increase the profile and value of their subsequent career. We recognise the value of the initiatives in recent years and the support through Film London from the Mayor’s office and want to look again at how we strengthen exports.
We will put in place increased funding for film exports to support the promotion of British films and film talent at priority film festivals and markets. The fund will strengthen opportunities for producers and sales agents to engage with prospective international partners at markets. Applications will open in 2013.