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18/05/2007

Main UK Film Funders Announce Agreement With Pact

BBC Films, Film4 and the UK Film Council, the three principal public funders of feature films in the UK, together with Pact, have confirmed that an agreement has been reached on giving producers an equity stake in the feature films in which they invest.
Over the past few months, BBC Films, Film4, the UK Film Council and Pact have developed and agreed a position which emphasises and promotes the principle that the benefits of the new UK tax credit should accrue to UK film production companies in order to help achieve the Government’s policy objective of creating sustainability in the UK film production sector.
BBC Films, Film4 and the UK Film Council are unanimously resolved to empower the UK independent film production sector to share in the ownership and value of the films it creates whenever an investment is made in a film. They believe this new approach will help create, for the first time, a real ability for UK production companies to hold a significant interest in their own films and, as a consequence, be able to attract commercial investment into their companies to the benefit of the whole of the UK film industry.
In practical terms, from today onwards, this means that BBC Films, Film4 and the UK Film Council together with Pact have agreed to endorse the principle that in every British film in which they participate, the net value of the UK tax credit created by the 2006 Finance Act, should be treated as the UK producer’s equity share in the film, recouping and participating, wherever possible, on a pro rata pari passu, £ for £ basis with other equity funding.
David Thompson, Head of BBC Films said: "I'm really delighted about this initiative. We really hope it's going to do something positive to help build the sustainability of film production in this country. BBC Films is really reliant on the talent and competence of British producers. We have a great, great community of producers and for everyone's sake we really need them to flourish."
Channel 4 Controller of Film and Drama, Tessa Ross said: "Support for the independent production sector runs right through Channel 4’s DNA. At Film4 we need our producing partners to be strong and we hope that this initiative will boost the entire sector and allow producers to move onto even bigger and better things (with us, hopefully!). We couldn’t be more pleased with this initiative."
John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer, UK Film Council added: "This is a real step change for British independent producers. For the first time, we will all start with the principle that the net value of the tax break (around 10-18% of the negative cost of the picture) belongs to the producer, not the film's financiers. We still have to make our numbers add up, but this is a big shift in attitude and approach from the old sale and leaseback days where the tax subsidy was used solely to the benefit of the financiers to reduce their investment. For the UK Film Council this announcement is part of an on-going attempt to get sustainability into the UK production sector. The rationale is to ensure that a stream of the recoupment flows to the producer. Hardly a radical idea across the rest of Europe but it's definitely a first for the UK."
(DS)



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