×

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'David Foster: Off the Record' Review:

    Toronto Film Review: 'David Foster: Off the Record'

    By the early 1970s, as the counterculture was dissolving and reconfiguring, there were new pop-star archetypes on the horizon that we still tend to think of — the glam rocker, the sensitive singer-songwriter, the hair-band metal strutter, the prog-rock wizard, the belting pop chanteuse, the punk rocker. But there was another figure of the era [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Would Have Combined Disney With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

    Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths. In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in “Vanity Fair,” Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I [...]

  • Aaron Janus Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Names New Senior Vice President and Vice President of Production

    Lionsgate appointed Aaron Janus as its new senior vice president of production and  Meredith Wieck as its new vice president of production. Both Janus and Wieck will report to Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s president of production.  Prior to Lionsgate, Janus served as Platinum Dunes head of development where he oversaw filmmakers Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and [...]

  • Ang Lee Reveals First Look at

    Ang Lee on 'Gemini Man' and De-Aging Will Smith

    On paper, Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” is a standard-issue, shoot ’em up with Will Smith playing a deadly assassin who must battle a younger clone of himself. The explosions and gun battles aren’t what drew Lee to the project, even if they’re the reason that most people will show up at theaters when it opens [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Sean Clarke Aardman Staff Photography Bristol.Pic

    Aardman Appoints Sean Clarke as New Managing Director

    Aardman, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind “Chicken Run” and “Early Man,” has appointed Sean Clarke as its new managing director, replacing co-founder David Sproxton, who is stepping down after 43 years. Clarke has worked at the British studio for more than 20 years, including heading the international rights and marketing department for over a decade. [...]

  • The Antenna

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Antenna'

    Jump scares, creepy noises and the tease of hidden-from-view dangers are all fine. But a truly frightening horror film unsettles with more than its crafts, but instead through the vulnerability of defenseless people stuck with bad options only. First-time writer-director Orçun Behram’s highly stylized and mildly disturbing “The Antenna,” a metaphor on Turkey’s current ruling [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content