Joint Venture Scheme

The BFI is launching a scheme designed to encourage UK distributors and producers to form strategic partnerships from the initial stages of financing a film.

The Film Fund Joint Venture (JV) Scheme will initially run as a six-project pilot and we are now seeking applications from producer/distributor teams.

Background

Despite renewed creative confidence and recent successes, the distribution landscape for UK independent films is as challenging as ever.

As release costs continue to rise and the value of new and existing ancillary rights remains uncertain, distributors want to keep the risks of upfront investment to a minimum. Producers struggle to achieve viable prices for UK rights, and in some instances are unable to secure UK distribution until the film is completed. Additionally, with the number of films released in the UK continuing to rise, squeezing available space in cinemas, producers should work strategically with distributors to ensure their projects hold the strongest appeal for the target audience.

What is it?

The JV Scheme allows a producer to invest part of a Lottery production award from the Film Fund as its contribution of up to 50% of the UK distribution minimum guarantee for the film in question. In return for sharing the distribution risk, the distributor would allow a 50% share of its net revenues to be held in a Locked Box by the BFI for reinvestment by the producer in its future filmmaking activity.

Following discussions with a task group of distributors and producers, we have drawn up standard ‘JV’ terms, which are detailed in this document.

What are we looking for?

By running a pilot phase of the JV Scheme, we will be able to understand which types of projects will derive the most benefit from a JV arrangement. To that end, we are looking to ‘test’ the model across a variety of film genres, budget levels and partnerships. Since the JV Scheme is structured as part of a Lottery production award by the Film Fund, our investment in bold, distinctive work remains a top priority.

Producers must have identified a distribution partner willing to enter a joint venture on the standard ‘JV’ terms when applying for Lottery funding, but will apply for Lottery funding through the normal Film Fund application process.

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