You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Some European Film Players Shrug at Brexit

PARIS — British voters’ decision to leave the European Union has sent political shock waves through the region. But within the film industry, several players in Continental Europe said they didn’t expect much of an immediate impact on deal-making and co-production opportunities.

In France, Europe’s second-biggest film market, Xavier Lardoux at the National Film Board greeted Britain’s referendum result with something of a Gallic shrug.

“The co-production treaty between France and the U.K. will be unchanged because it’s a bilateral agreement which isn’t officially related to the European Union,” said Lardoux, head of film at the film board. He said only three or four films per year were co-produced with the U.K.

“The business model of Europacorp is not impacted by Brexit. Our decision centers are in Paris and Los Angeles. The U.K. represents a market like any other for the distribution of our movies,” said Edouard de Vesinne, the deputy CEO of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp (“Lucy,” “Taken,””Valerian”).

David Grumbach, president of Bac Films — the Paris-based production, distribution and sales outfit which just announced a new mandate to ramp up English-language projects — said his company would learn to adjust to the new reality. It will take at least two years of negotiations before Britain is completely detached from the E.U., during which time the industry can prepare for the coming changes.

“The U.K. will no longer be part of the European Union, but what will remain is an economic union, a business relationship. We’ll co-produce with the Brits the way we co-produce with countries like Norway, Switzerland and Canada, which aren’t part of the European Union either,” Grumbach said.

He added: “It’s undeniably a sad day for the British people and for the idea of a big and strong Europe with a capital E. But business-wise, it was already complicated to work with the U.K. so it won’t get worse.”

In fact, Britain already operated outside of E.U. institutions to some degree. Although it received funds through the E.U.’s Media Program, it was not eligible for funding from Eurimages, one of the E.U.’s biggest sources of public money for film and TV productions.

“The U.K. industry was not very integrated within the European funds system. They did not belong to Eurimages,” said Andrea Occhipinti, head of Italian distribution outfit Lucky Red and president of Italy’s distributors. “What I think is significant is that there is lots of anti-Brussels sentiment, because they are bureaucrats. This is a political consideration, but one that we all need to think about.”

Britain’s exit from the E.U. — or Brexit — could even prove an opportunity for some industry players because of a plunge in the value of the British pound, which flirted with 30-year lows against the dollar Friday.

“As sales agents, we are sensitive to currency fluctuations,” said Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, co-founder of Films Distribution (“Son of Saul,” pictured above), which just co-launched the London-based finance/sales outfit Film Constellation. “You want to buy in the weaker currency and get paid in the stronger one. If the pound remains weak, we will be able to invest in British movies with an advantage as long as we sell in dollars or euros after.”

Veteran Italian distributor Valerio De Paolis, who will be releasing Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner “I, Daniel Blake” in Italy, said: “All the British directors and talents continue to be top notch, Brexit or not. They will continue to work in U.S. movies, just like they always did. I think the U.S. [studio] investments in the U.K. will continue.”

But in Germany, Martin Moszkowicz, the boss of Munich-based Constantin Film, said he was “shell-shocked” by the referendum result. He said it would “have massive effects on the U.K. and European film and TV business. It is difficult to predict the exact consequences but I am afraid none of them are good.”

Nick Vivarelli in Italy contributed to this report.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content