Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that film tax relief will be extended for four more years until the end of December 2015. It had been due to expire March next year. The UK tax break is worth 16% of the budgets of Hollywood movies shooting over here, and 20% of the budgets for local films. The news is designed to re-assure Hollywood that the UK is still the place to shoot big-budget movies. Recent Hollywood productions that have shot at Pinewood Studios include Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Snow White and the Huntsman. The tax break has been worth $151 million to producers over the most recent financial year, supporting over $1.6 billion spent on 208 UK-qualifying films.

Josh Berger, president and managing director Warner Bros UK, welcomed the news: “In the last year alone, we’ve produced six major feature films here, released the final film in the UK-produced Harry Potter movie series and committed £100 million to create our permanent production home, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.” British Film Institute chairman Greg Dyke added: “This announcement will be greatly welcomed across the film industry and will give confidence, particularly amongst independent filmmakers, at a time when access to finance is increasingly difficult.”

The BFI meanwhile has announced a $319,000 Film Export Fund to support British films at the big international festivals and markets. And, in a separate development, BFI distribution head Pete Buckingham is stepping down after nine years of overseeing state funding for film releases. He first joined the now-defunct UK Film Council in 2002.

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