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‘Brit’ pix come into focus

Gov't defines local genre

LONDON — The U.K.’s new rules on what constitutes a “British” film have become official.

There are now two key criteria for a production to qualify as a Brit pic: 70% of a film’s budget must be spent in Britain, and 70% of the money allocated to labor must go to either European or Commonwealth citizens.

The latter is flexible to make allowances for expensive foreign talent.

The changes will be phased in over the next 12 months, during which both the old and the new criteria will apply.

A pic like “Little Voice,” for instance, now qualifies as a Brit pic. Last year, the American songs sung by Jane Horrock’s character precluded the film from homegrown status.

Tax breaks introduced in 1997 allow producers and buyers of films deemed British to write off 100% of a project costing up to $24 million over one year. Bigger budget movies can be written off over three years.

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