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12/01/2004

Record 'double-take' of £1.17bn for UK film industry

Several top-drawer big-budget films including the latest Harry Potter, a Bridgit Jones follow-up and a remake of 'Alfie' helped the UK film production industry towards a record year.
Figures produced by the UK Film Council have revealed that the UK film industry attracted £1.17 billion in film investment in 2003 - more than double the previous year's UK film production total of £550.45 million.
Among the major films are 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' and 'Troy' - part of which was shot in the UK, 'Bridgit Jones: The Edge of Reason' added to co-productions pushed the total number of films made in the UK last year to 177, up from 119 in the preceding year.
British Film Commissioner Steve Norris, Head of the UK Film Council’s International Department which compiled the figures, said: “These figures show that the wealth of talent in the UK film industry, together with our outstanding studios and facilities and our fiscal incentives, reaped record creative and economic rewards in 2003.
“The increase in domestic features, which reflect the people and culture of the UK, together with the boost for inward investment films and co-productions, combine to show the major cultural as well as economic contribution made by the UK film industry.
“The UK continues to be recognised by international filmmakers as one of the best places in the world to make a film.
“In 2003 the UK was involved in film productions ranging from big budget international productions, European co-productions, to mid and lower budget feature films. The high numbers of co-productions highlight the truly global nature of the film industry and the key, and increasing, role that the UK plays within it.
“If we are to make the most of this success we need to ensure that we continue to offer the skills and infrastructure necessary both to attract overseas filmmakers to use them, and we need to improve distribution to ensure that more British films are able to be seen by audiences at home and abroad.”
The numbers of overseas productions attracted to the UK climbed by 85%, reversing a downward trend seen in the past two years.
Commenting the figures Films Minister Estelle Morris said: "The international film industry has harnessed UK talent to make some of the box office hits of 2004. This is a tribute to the wealth of expertise we have to offer both behind and in front of the camera. Today's report proves what a huge contribution our film industry makes to the UK economically as well as culturally."
The analysis of films with a spend of more than £500,000 covered indigenous UK film production, inward investment productions - films originating overseas but filmed mainly in the UK - and UK co-productions filmed both in the UK and abroad using UK crew and expertise.
(SP)
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