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With a £5 billion a year turnover, the UK rightfully claims its place as the third largest film industry in the world.
The UK?s position as an international leader in film was echoed recently by the UK?s Minister for Creative Industries, James Purnell, who announced his intention to see Britain become known as the world?s creative hub and within that vision, film as a driving force.
Britain already has a head start in that direction. Outside the US, the UK is the leading film nation in consistently making films that are watched by international audiences. In addition, while the revenues from the box office in the US are declining, international audience figures are continuing to grow, presenting greater opportunities for British films and the talent involved in making them.
So what accounts for Britain?s success and innovation in filmmaking? International filmmakers consistently point to Britain?s key assets being its pool of talent, its highly creative and skilled technicians, its high-calibre production and post facilities and its ?can do? attitude. Increased investment in skills, technology and facilities, continues to position ?UK film industry plc?, as a leading film production partner.
|Outside the US, the UK is the leading film nation in consistently making films that are watched by international audiences|
Britain?s studios including Pinewood/Shepperton, Ealing, Leavesden and Elstree are investing in their facilities and services and leading visual effects houses such as Framestore CFC, Cinesite, Moving Picture Company and Double Negative are showing their creative and technical excellence on screens round the world in films such as the Harry Potter franchise, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride, The Hitchhiker?s Guide to the Galaxy, Pride and Prejudice, Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Troy and Alexander.
It?s not only in our facilities, however, that investment is being made. A key part of the UK?s long-term strategy for developing film is investing in our talent, both in front of and behind the camera, in order to maintain and increase our competitive edge. The UK Film Council contributes £6.5 million a year to train people and to attract the brightest and best talent through the Skillset Film Skills Fund and this is backed up with further financial support from the industry itself.
This year the fund has helped to create the UK?s first-ever network of seven screen academies including the first film Business Academy at the world-renowned Cass Business School, across the UK to educate and train new film talent. Through Skillset we also sponsor the Berlinale Talent Campus at the Berlin Film Festival, providing greater networking and promotional opportunities for 500-plus rising creative talent from around the world.
Building international business alliances from production and film financing through to film distribution and talent development is vital to the future commercial success of the UK film industry and therefore a priority for the UK Film Council?s international and export promotion strategy. We are actively exploring relationship building with key emerging markets such as India, China, South Africa alongside initiatives with Europe and North America.
Our international activities range from work to modernise the UK?s co-production agreements, supporting UK sales companies taking British films into new markets through to working with our fellow European Film Agencies from the other member states on common aims for nurturing our film cultures and industries.
The UK Film Council has also created international initiatives to support sales companies including a support fund for British films at international film festivals and markets, and a major annual London showcase for British film, the London UK Film Focus. Film Focus this year attracted 198 international buyers, a 30% increase on last year, to view 45 films, 17 of which were premieres.
Creating and supporting initiatives for audience development is also key to the UK film industry?s long-term success. In a ground-breaking ?world first?, the UK Film Council has launched the world?s first Digital Screen Network, which will enable audiences to see a wider range of films right across the UK So possibly the next time you go to the cinema, without knowing, you may be watching a film that has British crew or talent, or has used UK studio space or post-production services, or is part of an international co-production deal including British producers.
From all angles, Britain?s infl uence in the international film industry is widely felt and by continuing to share its skills and take the lead on innovation it will remain a significant part of the global industry.