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BRITISH FILM FINANCING/GRANTS


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#1 Milo Sekulovich

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 03:17 AM

Hi again,

It's me your friendly avalanche instigator
who has reappeared.

I've read all the subsequent posts and all I can say is UNBELIEVABLE.

It's as if a country has done everything it can to deconstruct
an industry.

As a man who is shooting a feature on 35mm with
cobbled together money (sans any sort of arts grant) I simply cannot fathom why a country would make
the route of film financing from private sources (i.e.relatives,friends,investors)
illegal as Phil stated.

I've never heard of such bullshit as being asked what "ethnicity"
one is when applying for a film grant.

The Eady Levy was a brilliant concept. Can someone enlighten me as to why Mrs. Thatcher
did away with it?

I can easily see why one would have an easier time in the US making a feature "independently"
as compared to the UK. The cost of things in the UK is a prime example. I visited the
UK in the summer of '95 (abnormally hot summer!) and found out very quickly how
expensive things were. I also rented a car and drove from Gatwick to London. Yes, I actually drove a car
around London. Although I stayed in a reasonably priced B&B near Hyde Park, I was mortified by the cost of things.

Tony Brown is indeed a lucky man to have come up in the era that he did!

My condolences to you brave souls there in the UK who admirably trudge away
despite a grim infertile film industry.


All the best,
Milo
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 04:47 AM

It's only that grim in Phil's world.

Fact is that the UK film business is doing just fine. There's plenty of work and tons of major, and minor, films are being shot here. Pick any massive American-funded upcoming film and chances are a lot of them are shot here. Pinewood, Shepperton, Leavesden, Twickenham, Ealing, 3 Mills, Black Island - all busy studios.

This is the film production centre of Europe, no matter what everyone moans about. If you want to make big American movies without moving to Hollywood, this is the place where you can get a shot at that. It's not for everyone, and it might take hard work, but that's the bottom line.

BTW, I'm sick of all this moaning.
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#3 Jon Kukla

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:20 AM

You said it, Adam. I'm tired of Phil polluting the board with massive misinformation to suit his own ego, and am a hair's width away from requesting that the board admins censure him on the grounds of bad faith postings.

As far as London being expensive - yeah, it's not the cheapest city in the world, but at least those of us who live here get paid in pounds! Personally, for the cost of living, I find it preferable to what many of my NYC friends are doing to scrape by.

I myself am leaving London sometime in the near future, but not by choice. Unfortunately the Home Office has decided to trim out as many of us expats as possible, and I will not be able to renew my visa this time. It's a shame, since I've finally started to get into a comfortable working pattern of good jobs, excellent network of contacts, and so on. But that's an immigration gripe - were it not for that, I'd be first in line for getting a path to UK citizenship.

Btw, Milo, please do not title your threads in all caps - it's considered shouting and regarded as impolite. Thanks.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:21 AM

"As a man who is shooting a feature on 35mm with
cobbled together money (sans any sort of arts grant) I simply cannot fathom why a country would make
the route of film financing from private sources (i.e.relatives,friends,investors)
illegal as Phil stated."

You'll have to elaborate on this? You can't use private funds, HUH? Or EH?, as we say here.

R,
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#5 John Holland

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:29 AM

So john where is home ?
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#6 Jon Kukla

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:30 AM

Believe it or not, America!
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#7 John Holland

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:34 AM

well strange but cant work the immigration laws here at all.
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#8 Jon Kukla

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:36 AM

So much for our two countries' "special relationship"...
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#9 John Holland

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:39 AM

Yes , but to be fair unless i married an american women i cant work over there .
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#10 Jon Kukla

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 12:11 PM

Yes, exactly.
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#11 Mark Williams

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 12:20 PM

It's only that grim in Phil's world.

Fact is that the UK film business is doing just fine. There's plenty of work and tons of major, and minor, films are being shot here. Pick any massive American-funded upcoming film and chances are a lot of them are shot here. Pinewood, Shepperton, Leavesden, Twickenham, Ealing, 3 Mills, Black Island - all busy studios.

This is the film production centre of Europe, no matter what everyone moans about. If you want to make big American movies without moving to Hollywood, this is the place where you can get a shot at that. It's not for everyone, and it might take hard work, but that's the bottom line.

BTW, I'm sick of all this moaning.


No it isnt It may be fine for some but here in rip off britain only those who are allowed get to make film and thats through grants etc. Film here is way expensive and developing costs unless you risk sending it off to germany or america. Your right many American films are shot here because Americans finance them utilising British skills often people trained by the BBC or companies contracted to the BBC. Another closed organistion who again have strict policies of who they employ. Of course the UK consists of more than londoners friends and other ways in that are mapped for those favoured. The British public unfairly forced to pay the BBC Licence fee or go to prison are paying for them to have a god like status rejecting most britains in favour of their own agenda THE BBC is and has been outrageously biased in its lefty leanings.

As for those in this country who want to make films and progress they dont have a chance. They may get the odd spot on channel 4 or a few crumbs here and there but really you have to fund your own and with costs so expensive equipment out of reach and a criteria that must be met the effect is those not in the fold are stuffed.

I wonder how much good stuff has been made that because the powers that be, producers distributers TV bigwigs have been basicly hung out to dry?

I wouldn't mind guessing quite a fair amount.
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#12 Jon Kukla

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 01:51 PM

I'm sorry but the film industry no longer comes from the BBC guys anymore. That's a much older generation. All of my colleagues have either always been freelancers or got their start as in-house runners at miscellaneous production companies in town. The idea that the BBC is the only way in has been a fallacy for many many years now.
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#13 John Holland

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 01:55 PM

Yes john that is right the BBC years ago had their film dept. at Ealing Studios they gave that up sp many years ago made all their film camerman redundant and its been freelance ever since.
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#14 Mark Williams

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 03:11 PM

I'm sorry but the film industry no longer comes from the BBC guys anymore. That's a much older generation. All of my colleagues have either always been freelancers or got their start as in-house runners at miscellaneous production companies in town. The idea that the BBC is the only way in has been a fallacy for many many years now.

Yes thats why I said

QUOTE
British skills often people trained by the BBC or companies contracted to the BBC. Another closed organistion who again have strict policies of who they employ.

The BBC Contracts production companies to make their programs The BBC choose those prodution companies that support or are part of its biased view of the world read robin aitkins book can we trust the BBC. The BBC also tries to sway public opinion to its own. It frequently breaks its own rules and has its own agenda. Many BBC people have migrated over to the Blair government and after the sacking of greg dyke have been the government mouthpiece for their propaganda. AND its really not surprising considering the BBC are at the mercy of Blair and his band. ANY way I'm going off topic.

The bottom line is the industry is controlled and there is a brick wall for anyone who wants to be independent and is not part of the in crowd AND thats not fair.

I accept the BBC does make excellent programs sometimes but it also turns out a fair amount of dross. Eastenders and the ilk, even neighbours has taken a dive into the gutter. They influence public mood and society in general. Always given to labour bias and always putting minorities before the people. The only way we will say fair play in this country "UNFORTUNATELY" and I dont want this. BUT there is no other way. The BBC is incapable of playing fair. Scrap the licence fee, open up the industry so those who make popular programs are given a fair go AND on their merits.

Edited by Mark Williams, 05 April 2007 - 03:14 PM.

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#15 Matthew Buick

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 03:35 PM

Please, Milo. Stop these threads!! You're killing us all.
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 04:38 PM

> I simply cannot fathom why a country would make the route of film financing from private sources
> (i.e.relatives,friends,investors) illegal as Phil stated.

It's not illegal if you do it correctly; there's just a very big, expensive legal framework you have to set up. The law is designed to prevent unscrupulous people scamming others by making unreasonable promises about return on investment, but it affects anything from large scale white-collar investment bankers to indie features. As is so horribly common in the UK, the cost of setting up to do it properly is so high as to bar entry to anyone except very large companies.

Yes, as a practical matter, rich kids get given money by their parents all the time, and nobody seems to worry too much, but it's generally felt that because filmmaking is so unlikely to be profitable, there's almost no circumstances where it could be seen as an "investment", so anyone asking for money to make a film with the idea of it being profitable is skating on extremely thin legal ice in the UK.

> I've never heard of such bullshit as being asked what "ethnicity"one is when applying for a film grant.

Neither had I. The UK film council prefers, among other criteria, to fund:

"films from across the UK and/or from black, Asian and other ethnic minority filmmakers"

Yes, you read that correctly. Look at the slate of films they've produced and then work out how many of them are identifiably "issue" movies.

This would of course be fine if the UK were churning out dozens of features and they were helping to support an underrepresented minority (well actually it might not be fine even then, but for the sake of argument let's assume it is.) However, the UK is not churning out dozens of features, and the result is that we are actually producing almost nothing except minority interest film.

> The Eady Levy was a brilliant concept. Can someone enlighten me as to why Mrs. Thatcher did away with it?

Because she was a raving bonkers murdering war criminal. But seriously. She's a tory. Tories like big business. Hollywood is big business. Margaret Thatcher is as close as the UK has ever produced to a Republican.

Phil
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#17 Mark Williams

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 03:26 AM

> I simply cannot fathom why a country would make the route of film financing from private sources
> (i.e.relatives,friends,investors) illegal as Phil stated.

It's not illegal if you do it correctly; there's just a very big, expensive legal framework you have to set up. The law is designed to prevent unscrupulous people scamming others by making unreasonable promises about return on investment, but it affects anything from large scale white-collar investment bankers to indie features. As is so horribly common in the UK, the cost of setting up to do it properly is so high as to bar entry to anyone except very large companies.

Yes, as a practical matter, rich kids get given money by their parents all the time, and nobody seems to worry too much, but it's generally felt that because filmmaking is so unlikely to be profitable, there's almost no circumstances where it could be seen as an "investment", so anyone asking for money to make a film with the idea of it being profitable is skating on extremely thin legal ice in the UK.

> I've never heard of such bullshit as being asked what "ethnicity"one is when applying for a film grant.

Neither had I. The UK film council prefers, among other criteria, to fund:

"films from across the UK and/or from black, Asian and other ethnic minority filmmakers"

Yes, you read that correctly. Look at the slate of films they've produced and then work out how many of them are identifiably "issue" movies.

This would of course be fine if the UK were churning out dozens of features and they were helping to support an underrepresented minority (well actually it might not be fine even then, but for the sake of argument let's assume it is.) However, the UK is not churning out dozens of features, and the result is that we are actually producing almost nothing except minority interest film.

> The Eady Levy was a brilliant concept. Can someone enlighten me as to why Mrs. Thatcher did away with it?

Because she was a raving bonkers murdering war criminal. But seriously. She's a tory. Tories like big business. Hollywood is big business. Margaret Thatcher is as close as the UK has ever produced to a Republican.

Phil

I think the bottom line is without any fair minded aproach to your talent or work then you have to work out what is wanted and go along those lines. My personal feeling is after Blair has apologised for the slave trade and even my local council wants to rewrite history to look for any ethnic impact and crank it up. Somehow thats the area to go. I guess looking realisticly at this History was never written accurately anyway. Always biased in favour of those who rule etc. The interesting thing is for most british or irish in fact ALL who were not part of the upper class were given the same treatment. Those rich elite still hold the power today the big financial institutions who are shaping our world and once again seeking to ride rough shod over everyone are at it once more and yet the majority british people are excepting the blame via our media of what they say we did while those that benefitted continue in their protected castles and lifestyles while we all pay. Its all so lefty and so secretively designed to end up with the rich ruling again.

So do you make political comment through films or do as your told by those controlling the money even though its not theirs?

Not much choice then go away be happy and do something else.
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#18 David Bradley

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 09:01 AM

Capitalism isn't all that bad, I'd rather live in the UK than communist Russia of old. Conspiracy theories of a ruling class scheme to maintain their power is frankly pretty stupid, I mean seriously do we actually think the top 5% of the country meet to discuss keeping the prolitariates in poverty? Society can not be summed up in such grand narratives, its too diverse.

Why would anyone disagree with apologising for the slave trade - it poses no threat to anyone politically, financially or otherwise and if it makes a few people sleep easier at night whats the problem?

All the compaints about society will never change the fact that Britain is a small country which makes small films. The Hollywood oligopoly with its very clever vertical integration and the synergy it can create amongst the huge media corporations they belong to is to blame for a lack of funding in the UK. Hollywood can produce huge budget mainstream films and then distribute and exhibit them later at a realtively low cost maximising the potential for profit. A well established infrastructure in the Hollywood model allows this, no such infrastructure exists in the UK. We simply can't compete.

Why would anyone fund a huge production in the UK with UK talent and a British theme. It costs far more, there are less facility houses and the lack of competition allows them to charge extortionate rates. Then what is the likelyhood that the film will ever become profitable. We should just focus on what were good at, low budget, niche market films and move to LA if you want to work on $200 million + production. Defeatist? perhaps but to my mind its just a rational outlook on the current scenario in UK/US film making
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#19 NathanCoombs

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 09:43 AM

I mean seriously do we actually think the top 5% of the country meet to discuss keeping the prolitariates in poverty? Society can not be summed up in such grand narratives, its too diverse.


More or less. Conspiracy is the wrong concept. Tacit agreement among the ruling class is closer to the mark.

In the past twenty years the amount of journalists educated privately has doubled. You now need a Masters from Oxbridge and two years UNPAID experience to have a shot at it. Obviously that requires mummy and daddy to have some pretty deep pockets.

The tv companies and gatekeepers to content in the BBC are also a funny mix of privately educated, Oxbridge, establishment elites and positively discriminated 'minorities' - usually also privately educated elites!

This elite pro-actively pursues policies which keep increasing inequality and screwing the guy at the bottom.

but anyway.....

...in reagrd to film production in the UK - the pessimists have a point. I'm not even sure how one breaks into film production in the UK. Even producing tiny segements for television seems to be near impossible, unless you are a favored insider.

...someone please enlighten me.
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#20 Mark Williams

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Posted 07 April 2007 - 10:20 AM

Capitalism isn't all that bad, I'd rather live in the UK than communist Russia of old. Conspiracy theories of a ruling class scheme to maintain their power is frankly pretty stupid, I mean seriously do we actually think the top 5% of the country meet to discuss keeping the prolitariates in poverty? Society can not be summed up in such grand narratives, its too diverse.

Why would anyone disagree with apologising for the slave trade - it poses no threat to anyone politically, financially or otherwise and if it makes a few people sleep easier at night whats the problem?

All the compaints about society will never change the fact that Britain is a small country which makes small films. The Hollywood oligopoly with its very clever vertical integration and the synergy it can create amongst the huge media corporations they belong to is to blame for a lack of funding in the UK. Hollywood can produce huge budget mainstream films and then distribute and exhibit them later at a realtively low cost maximising the potential for profit. A well established infrastructure in the Hollywood model allows this, no such infrastructure exists in the UK. We simply can't compete.

Why would anyone fund a huge production in the UK with UK talent and a British theme. It costs far more, there are less facility houses and the lack of competition allows them to charge extortionate rates. Then what is the likelyhood that the film will ever become profitable. We should just focus on what were good at, low budget, niche market films and move to LA if you want to work on $200 million + production. Defeatist? perhaps but to my mind its just a rational outlook on the current scenario in UK/US film making

Well I dont agree with you. Many times American productions come here to make their films because their trusted to make money. They will create what the public want. Whereas HERE Control through organisations, the old british school tie and the looking down on those not as educated or born with a silver spoon are immediantly rejected in favour of the university educated arts lover or someone from a minority that will appeal to well a minority? Thats why we end up with arty farty sometimes clever or sometimes shakespeare or even opera. The best of the worst will be something written on historical fact that waxes lyrical on the brutality of the british institutions and revel in the story as seen from the clever speel to excuse a complete lack of cinematography. Of course with all this silly behaviour of Im better than you or Im british and I help those on the bottom of the scale ( Let them make films that go nowhere as evidence of my superiority and why we should control)

THOSE who have put in the hard work and who have a level of skill will be stuffed overlooked and dismissed. I really am fed up with the glass ceiling and discrimination of class. And all their funny farm control freaks round em all up and send them to india and let them survive on their skills and not our taxes.

That would sure help the people of this country.
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