×

BFI’s Roberts looks into recoupment

Producers will keep more coin than under UKFC system

LONDON

The new director of the BFI Film Fund addressed producers’ concerns about recoupment compared to the system under the former U.K. Film Council in an interview that opened the two-day Film London Production Finance Market on Wednesday.

Ben Roberts said, “At the Film Council the recoupment expectation was too high. There was a 50% target for the Premiere Fund.”

This meant the UKFC aimed to take back half of the original sum awarded to invest in other projects.

Roberts added, “The current target is somewhere between 20% and 25%, and recouped monies will flow into locked boxes for the benefit of the producer” who can tap that coin rather than come back to the BFI for handouts.

“In theory, it should free up funds for younger, emerging filmmakers and producers who hadn’t received funding in previous years,” Roberts told an audience of U.K. and international producers.

Roberts discussed his career in a Q&A with PFM project manager Angus Finney, talking about his experiences at U.K. distributor Metrodome, in international acquisitions at Universal and as CEO of sales company Protagonist Pictures. He also outlined his vision for the BFI Film Fund. “I’d always wanted a go at that job. I’m drawn to the public sector,” said Roberts. “It’s an enabling role.”

He admitted the government body had probably failed to do enough for emerging filmmakers in recent years. “We would acknowledge that we probably haven’t been as focussed on development and talent development as we would like to have been. It’s important that we’re supporting new talent.”

He also highlighted the need to redress the balance in terms of those from more privileged backgrounds afforded more opportunities in the industry in the past.

“It’s important we look at those who are disadvantaged, who come from different backgrounds, uncovering talent that doesn’t have the same opportunities,” Rogers said. “That could mean even just bringing a filmmaker from Glasgow down to London for a meeting, that’s a cost.”

With international producers in the room, Roberts gave little away about plans for the International Fund but admitted co-productions were “hamstrung by the specifics of the U.K. tax credit” that requires 25% of a film’s activity to take place in the U.K.

“We have to come up with other ways to be helpful and welcoming to the international industry,” Roberts said.

“One of the first things we could do is allocate part of the Film Fund budget for minority co-productions.”

“If a strong filmmaker coming from somewhere else wanted to work in the U.K. or if one of our filmmakers wanted to go and work somewhere else we thought it was important we could be flexible in supporting those,” he added.

Now in its sixth year, PFM connects international producers, financiers and sales companies. The event facilitates 800 face-to-face meetings and 300 financier-to-financier meetings over two days. This year’s edition has attracted more than 52 producers presenting projects with €305 million ($394 million) of production value, up from $317 million in 2011. The 54 attending financiers include private equity firms, tax-structured financiers, sale companies, distributors and broadcaster representatives. The high demand for a place at the event saw 70 production companies turned down for a place this year, according to Finney.

More Film

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor

    Natalie Portman Returns for 'Thor: Love and Thunder' as Female Thor

    Natalie Portman is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she’s no one’s love interest this time around. The Oscar winner will play a female god of thunder in the fourth film from the Chris Hemsworth series, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Portman hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to great [...]

  • Fantastic Four

    New 'Fantastic Four' Movie in Development at Marvel

    Marvel is going back to the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced that a new movie based on the superhero group is in the works at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Further details, however, including a release date, were not revealed. It marks the first Fox property for Disney to mine since the [...]

  • Mahershala AliMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Mahershala Ali to Star in Marvel's 'Blade' Reboot

    Marvel is rebooting the “Blade” series, and has cast Mahershala Ali to star. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced the news at Comic-Con on Saturday as the panel’s big ending surprise. Ali also took the stage at the announcement to massive applause, donning the Blade baseball cap. Wesley Snipes previously played the half-vampire superhero in [...]

  • Doctor Strange

    'Doctor Strange' Sequel Billed as First MCU Horror Film at Comic-Con

    A sequel to “Doctor Strange” was announced as expected on Saturday at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel — what we didn’t see coming was the tone. Director Scott Derrickson said the film, titled “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” will mine the original comics and play up “the gothic, the horror.” Derrickson said it will lead [...]

  • Simu Liu Shang-Chi

    Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' Finds Its Lead

    Marvel has found its next superhero. The studio announced that Simu Liu has been tapped to star in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” during its Hall H presentation at Comic Con, joining cast member Awkwafina, who was also announced during the presentation. Additionally, Veteran actor Tony Leung has joined the film as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content