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Brits woo gov’t for H’wood tax breaks

A new campaign designed to encourage Hollywood to form partnerships with British filmmakers in return for tax breaks has been launched by independent producers.

The Initiative for Motion Picture Arts Commerce and Technology (IMPACT), supported by 300 leading producers, directors, actors and writers, is calling on the government to create a legislative framework aimed at revitalizing Britain’s film industry.

The lobby, spearheaded by the Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), is timed to coincide with a widespread feeling within the U.K. film community that ministers are about to announce new financial incentives for filmmakers.

Banging down the door

“We are banging on a door that might open,” said John Woodward, PACT’s chief executive. “I think the timing is right for the American studios to think very carefully about the U.K. as an ally in Europe. In the past there hasn’t been sufficient incentive for the studios to work out of the U.K. on a regular basis.”

IMPACT’s agenda aims to regenerate U.K. film production on a market-led basis and to establish Britain as a key supplier of commercial flicks to a worldwide audience.

IMPACT is calling on the government to “provide for the reform of the existing foreign entertainers withholding tax provisions in such a way as to encourage the making of big budget ‘star-driven’ movies in the U.K.”

Taking it to Hollywood

The campaign will take its arguments to the Hollywood studios to explain the reasons for the lobby and the benefits to the studios.

Richard Attenborough and David Puttnam, two of IMPACT’s supporters that also include Kenneth Branagh, Sean Connery, Phil Collins and George Harrison, have already predicted that the government will shortly announce financial incentives to aid the Brit film industry.

Puttnam Sunday said he was “absolutely confident” of tax concessions despite some opposition from the Treasury.

IMPACT argues that new production stimulated by tax breaks for Hollywood studios will more than compensate the Treasury for any loss of revenue in the short term.

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