Rise of UKIP Poses Challenges for British Film and TV Folk

Rise of UKIP Poses Challenges British

If UKIP leader Nigel Farage takes Britain out of the European Union, U.K. film and TV companies would lose access to $1.99 billion in funding

LONDON — The surge in support for the U.K. Independence Party — demonstrated at the European Union election last week — may have major consequences for the British film and TV industry.

UKIP, which advocates an exit from the European Union, took first place among British parties in the EU election, the results of which were just announced. It is the first time a party other than the Conservatives or Labor Party has come first in a national election for 100 years.

The UKIP vote surged 11% to nab 27.5% of the votes cast, compared with 25.4% for Labor, and 23.9% for the Conservatives, which forms part of the coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, whose support fell 6.87%, leaving it with just 6.87% of the vote.

There is a double threat to EU membership posed by the UKIP surge. First, if UKIP wins next May’s general election, then the U.K. will definitely leave the EU. Second, if the Conservatives win then they are committed to holding a referendum on membership of the EU, and based on last week’s vote there is every chance that British will vote to leave the EU as many Conservative voters are also in favor of a EU exit.

That said, the Scots have their own independence vote next year — on an exit from the U.K. — which could mean they rejoin the EU while the rest of the U.K. heads the other way.

The reason this matters to film and TV folk in the U.K. is that EU membership gives them access to substantial funding. For example, the EU’s MEDIA Program granted a total of Euros 100 million ($136 million) to U.K. films and film companies over the past seven years.

Development funding from the MEDIA Program backed both U.K. films in competition in Cannes this month, Ken Loach’s “Jimmy’s Hall” and Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner,” while its distribution scheme has backed the theatrical release in Europe of many U.K. titles, like “The King’s Speech,” “The Iron Lady” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

U.K. distribs also received funding from the MEDIA Program to release European movies, like Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet,” Michael Haneke’s “Amour” and Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty.”

U.K.-led training programs received coin from MEDIA, such as initiatives run by London Film School, the National Film and Television School, and Power to the Pixel, among others. MEDIA also backed U.K.-based markets run by Power to the Pixel, BritDoc, Film London and Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Then there are the indirect benefits, for example the MEDIA Program funds European Film Promotion’s initiatives such as Shooting Stars, which showcases European acting talent.

Looking forward, the EU’s Creative Europe program, which replaces the MEDIA Program, has a budget of $1.99 billion for the next seven years, and a U.K. exit would deprive British companies of access to this EU treasure.

If UKIP wins at the general election, there are other ways that they could influence the film and TV landscape. UKIP support lies outside the metropolitan areas, and their supporters could be compared to the Tea Party folk in terms of their view of society and the world.

UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage, has been careful to weed out anyone with racist or homophobic views, and has supported gay marriage, for example, but its supporters are in favor of small government, are strongly anti-immigration, and have a conservative, with a small “c”, outlook.

So, how they approach the government-owned broadcasters the BBC and Channel 4 would be worth watching, especially as most right-wingers consider both organizations to have a left-wing bias. Matters such as film ratings and public funding for avant-garde movies could be scrutinized too by a UKIP administration.

When it comes to immigration, the film and TV industry relies on the free movement of labor between countries, but this is definitely not something UKIP is fond of.

So, there is lots to ponder for film and TV folk in Blighty, but not a lot of time.

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  1. Brimstone says:

    I doubt those in the media are so gullible that they fail to realise that the money they get to promote the EU comes from UK taxpayers. The UK gives the EU a considerable amount of money every year. The EU then gives us back a percentage but we can only spend it on projects the EU allows. When the UK leaves the EU we will be able to spend more on a wide variety of projects because we won’t have the EU bureaucracy creaming their cut off the top.

  2. gak says:

    Nice try. Do you really think people are so stupid you can manipulate them in how to think with rubbish like this?

  3. LuLu Vallano says:

    Maybe they’ll put those 100 million towards green energy and animal welfare. That’d be a better way to spend money, even if I work in the TV industry…

  4. kp says:

    How have you managed to get some many facts wrong in one small document? Do our actually think eu funds films? No…it redistributes part of our contributions.

  5. On the EU, film making in the UK and UKIP, you also need to interview Jonathan Gems, writer of Mars Attack, White Mischief, and longterm collaborater with Tim Burton.
    He has researched in great depth and presented papers to Parliamentary Commissions.
    He is based in London.

  6. ian wragg says:

    When funds are allocated by the EU which come from national budgets, they have to be matched by an equal donation from said recipient country. So we pay twice plus what’s lost in administration.
    The EU is a money gobbling monster. Charge more for the tickets if your short of brass.

  7. At its very finest VARIETY has the access to experts and insiders to reveal what is really going on in the business side of the movie business. It does this in both broadbrush macro and also intense accurate detail micro fashion. As such it is an invaluable guide, philosopher and trusted friend.
    However, this all breaks down when it fails to have access to experts who understand the subject Variety staff are writing about.
    As a noble first stab in the dark, this may pass further scrutiny. But the standard of writing about the EU and UK, and implications for global film making need to rapidly rise to normal Variety standards.
    You need to contact DR Richard A E North, the leading expert on the EU and indeed on UKIP. He worked for years in Brussells as an EU researcher and has spent a further decade doing the detail.
    With the London Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker he has written a detailed history of the EU.
    He has also written Flexcit, the most detailed exit plan for the UK if people choose to leave the political union and this by the way is not the same thing at all as leaving the Economic Single Market trade agreements.
    Basic error many make.
    Very very few understand the EU maze and even fewer its implications for US, UK, other film production, finance and distribution.
    But if Variety wants to lead the way, then get Dr North to analyse each development for you and at least you will be accurate.
    His contact details are available on one of his websites.
    http://eureferendum.com/Default.aspx

    Those who wish Variety well, hope that the staff will appreciate expanding their expert contact base as the EU becomes an ever bigger factor in Studio and other big budget film industry decision-making.

  8. Since exiting the EU will save millions of pounds per day for the UK, the film industry can likely get on the national government gravy train that they would have to get off of in the EU.

    • Steve Cheney says:

      “If UK is not paying substantial sums to EU coffers it will have more resources to allocate direct to its own media projects.”

      Yes, I’m sure that’s what will happen, under this government or under UKIP’s.

      Pay more attention to politics. Neither UKIP nor the Tories is a fan of arts funding, or redistribution of money in general. If you think that you or I will see a penny of those daily millions, think again; and if you think that free-market zealots like UKIP and the Tories are going to give money to Brits to make films – rather than just telling them to find investment – then you really haven’t been paying attention at all.

  9. Patrick says:

    “Scots have their own independence vote next year”

    I think you will find their vote is this year (18 September). As for the various EU programs, you will see that they involve European states that are not members of the EU (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Boznia-Herzegovina, etc.) – see quote below.

    So UK leaving EU will have very little impact in this regard, other than that they might have to pay MORE or voluntarily opt out.

    That said, the chances that UKIP will a majority at the next general election are non-existent. At most they will capture a few seats and disrupt the vote for the Tories, as an psephologist will tell you.

    – – – –

    “Creative Europe will be open to the 28 Member States, and, so long as they fulfil specific conditions, to the European Free Trade Association countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), to EU candidate and potential candidate countries (Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo) and to neighbourhood countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Israel). Non-EU countries have to pay an ‘entry ticket’ to participate in the programme. The cost is based on the size of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in relation to the budget of the programme”

  10. David says:

    I do believe that the total EU annual film project budget is less than half the annual BBC budget. I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. It’s a tiny sum compared to the money the American film giants are pouring in to the UK film industry.

  11. Lynn Murphy says:

    Hmmm. So we’ve had an average of 2 million dollars a year from Europe for the film industry? In effect, one low budget movie? And being in the EU costs us 55 million pounds A DAY in fees. I’m not a producer so I’ll need to do the maths re budget, but I think we’d cope. Regarding immigration, as I understand it UKIP aren’t against non-nationals coming in to work on a visa basis – it’s the current unrestricted movement between EU countries that concerns them. So their idea would probably be: if you want to come here solely to get free health care or unemployment benefits from a system you/your parents haven’t paid into, they’d rather you didn’t. If you’re a skilled technician etc who would add to the richness of our own workforce, we’ll look forward to welcoming you to a film set any time soon. (And hopefully I’ll be on it to welcome you too)

  12. Sam Williams says:

    If UK is not paying substantial sums to EU coffers it will have more resources to allocate direct to its own media projects.

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