Film London Gets Cash Infusion

Film London Gets Cash Infusion

Capital city aims to attract more high-end TV and animation projects

LONDON — With new U.K. tax relief for high-end TV and animation approved by the European Commission last week, London mayor Boris Johnson has announced £2 million ($3 million) in new investment in film and media agency Film London.

“We are at the dawn of a golden age of TV production in London,” said Johnson, speaking Thursday at the capital’s Ealing Studios. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to grow this exciting sector to deliver jobs, produce more world class British drama and, above all, make London the city of choice for TV and animation production. Let’s make sure that all future ‘Downtons’ are filmed on our turf.”

Ealing is home to Julian Fellowes’ “Downton Abbey” and Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish’s performance-capture studio The Imaginarium (pictured above).

Film London is charged with bringing in $303.3 million of extra production expenditure from TV and animation and creating 1,000 new industry jobs in the capital. The investment includes $1.14 million to promote the development of the TV and animation sectors.

London is already the third busiest city for film production in the world, behind L.A. and New York, attracting major Hollywood productions recently including “Fast and Furious 6,” “All You Need is Kill,” “Jack Ryan” and “Maleficent.”

Warner Bros. opened its Leavesden Studios last year while Marvel Studios, which based “Captain America: The First Avenger” and the upcoming “Thor: The Dark World” in London, is in pre-production on “Guardians of the Galaxy” and will base the second “Avengers” film at Shepperton Studios.

The city is home to approximately 75% of the U.K. industry. Film London generated $1.17 billion in production investment over the past four years and has been collaborating with the mayor’s office since 2003 to boost jobs, support U.K. talent and attract high-end productions to the capital.

“Having worked with the mayor’s office for the last 10 years to transform the capital into a film friendly city, we now welcome the same task for high-end TV and animation,” said Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission.

Filming volume in London grew 21% in 2012 with 17,604 filming days, making it the busiest year on record for production in the capital. Features accounted for 1,778 filming days, up 42% on 2011. The film tax credit is estimated to have provided $227.5 million between 2010 and 2011 to support London’s film industry. The new high-end TV and animation tax relief came into effect April 1. High-end TV dramas with U.K. budget spends exceeding $1.5 million per hour will be able to claim relief on up to 25%.

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  1. Jennah Dean says:

    Although this initially seems like good news, it’s their use of the world ‘high-end’ that worries me. More often than not high-end is used to refer to big budget productions, because often that is what you need to create high-end media.

    It would be great to see the money put towards the state run skillset colleges because, speaking as someone who studied at one of these, they really do need extra funding because the facilities and quality in education just aren’t there anymore; especially with such big cuts throughout the arts.

    It would be nice to see some grants going to final year film students again (the British Film Council used to do this) so that they can produce something spectacular in their final year and really show off the skills they’ve acquired, and the talent they possess. If not, at least more equipment such as cameras, lights, etc… in particular the more niche skills like using a steadicam should also be taught, as well as dual editing systems, FCP and Avid.

    Also, worth noting is the restrictions that most London borough film offices impose on smaller production companies and particularly independent film makers. To gain simple shots on the tube, or in central London locations is either very expensive or not available at all.

    Hopefully we’ll see a large amount of this money going towards education and training within the industry, and also supporting the ‘low-end’ productions to achieve a ‘high-end’ outcome.

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