‘Harry Potter’ Among Warner Bros Movies To Land At ITV
ITV announced that it has acquired free-to-air broadcast rights to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince along with other movies as part of a wide-ranging multiyear deal with Warner Bros. The pact was unveiled today by Warner Bros International Television Distribution president Jeffrey Schlesinger and ITV’s Angela Jain. Other films in the package include recent titles 300, I Am Legend and Body Of Lies as well as library fare like The Matrix trilogy and Mystic River. ITV was already home to the previous Harry Potter films.
British Culture Minister In Town This Week; BFI Adds To P&A Fund
Ed Vaizey, the UK’s minister for culture, communications and creative industries, arrived in Los Angeles on Monday for two days of powwows with studio and indie execs. Joining Vaizey is British Film Commission CEO Adrian Wootton as the duo aim to further develop relationships in town and boost the number of U.S. productions shooting in Britain now that the UK’s tax rebate system has been extended to at least 2015. The sojourn will also give Vaizey a chance to peruse the U.S. biz ahead of the publication of a comprehensive film policy review. Meanwhile, the British Film Institute today announced it would devote an additional £1 million to its P&A Fund in order to help get films like Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus out to wider audiences. READ MORE »
Britain’s Culture Ministry just handed leadership of the industry back to the British Film Institute. The organisation will take control of and devise strategy for £15 million (£23 million) of lottery funding each year, and administer the £100 million tax incentive. Ex-BBC boss and now BFI boss Greg Dyke was understandably ecstatic. He immediately announced that the BFI hopes to increase lottery funding for film to £18 million in 2011/2012 – an increase of 20%. Dyke told me the BFI will take over movie funding in April next year. “This decision is a great vote of confidence in the BFI. It is a bold move to create a single champion for film in the UK and we welcome it. We want to achieve greater coherence across the whole film sector and to strike a balance between cultural and commercial. We see an opportunity to reduce overhead costs which in turn will allow us to put more of the lottery funds into frontline activities.”
The culture minister underlined that the film tax credit – so crucial for attracting U.S. investment — is here to stay. Overseas filmmakers injected £780 million into the British economy last year. Vaizey said: “Some people think there are two British film industries — one indigenous and the other supporting big American movies. I don’t agree. Hollywood investment promotes both British characters and British storytelling.”
Film London will take over promoting the UK as a moviemaking destination from the British Film Commission. Vaizey called this a “public/private partnership” – in short, the government is asking the private sector to cough up if it wants an office whose job it is to attract Hollywood to Britain. Studios such as Pinewood Shepperton and VFX houses such as Framestore would, after all, have the most to gain.
And Film London and BFI will also work with BAFTA and BBC Worldwide on how to increase the number of UK films being released abroad – the role which Unifrance performs for the French film industry. The organisations will also showcase the work of British filmmakers in Hollywood. The BBC already runs showcases in China and in Latin America.
Vaizey also announced he was setting up a ministerial roundtable that will meet every 6 months to address film industry problems.
Vaizey said he would consider proposals from industry organisations such as the British Screen Advisory Council and the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television to help create “a sustainable film industry”. Vaizey expects to implement these proposals by spring 2012. What was interesting was that he used the word “sustainable”. This phrase has become a shibboleth for British film policy makers. Creating a sustainable British film industry was the original mission statement of the UK Film Council – until it quietly dropped it as unworkable. “The ‘sustainable’ word is back,” Dyke observes. “The Film Council wanted to do it but they just couldn’t live with it.”
Today’s announcement from a Tory government was surprisingly well-received by the traditionally left-of-centre British film industry. It was amusing to see the jockeying for position already within this new world order. It was almost as if the UK Film Council had never existed. How quickly the waters close over one’s head. “There’s an irony in that a year ago the government was forcing the BFI to merge with the Film Council,” Dyke tells me. “Fine, we said, but it’s got to be on the right terms. Today we got those terms.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ed Vaizey, the British culture minister, hosted a meeting at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport this morning to thrash out who should administer UK’s lottery film funding. He tells me that the government has drawn up … Read More »
This morning’s Times of London reports that the film agency has hired political lobbyists Portland, the PR firm founded by a former adviser to Tony Blair. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to John Woodward, CEO of the Film Council, … Read More »
Ed Vaizey, the UK arts minister, has written a stern letter to UKFC head John Woodward demanding to know whether the agency has been spending public money on campaigning for a reprieve. Vaizey wants to know whether the UKFC has … Read More »
UPDATE: I’m hearing that a march is planned for London protesting against the scrapping of the UK Film Council. The Save the UK Film Council petition now has nearly 22,000 signatories, while the Facebook page has 42,000 people who’ve signed … Read More »
UPDATE: UK culture minister Jeremy Hunt and arts minister Ed Vaizey have rowed back transferring the £15 million ($19 million) lottery film cash to the British Film Institute. Nor are they going to ask BBC Films and Film4 to split … Read More »
UPDATE: Reactions to the UK government closing down the £60 million-a-year ($94 million) state film agency have formed into two distinct camps.
Many producers I’ve spoken to say the UK Film Council never did anything for them and will not be … Read More »
UPDATE: I’ve been told that the decision to get rid of UK Film Council was Ed Vaizey’s alone, and not, as has been posited, by his boss Jeremy Hunt having a gun pointed at his head. What the government ministers … Read More »