Some of the U.K.’s top movie moguls, including the producers behind James Bond pics, Hollywood blockbusters and Oscar-winning films, have urged the British to vote to remain in the European Union in Thursday’s referendum. A letter released Tuesday, signed by more than 20 of the country’s most successful producers, claims that E.U. membership has “helped ensure that the U.K. has the fastest-growing creative industry sector in Europe,” generating $123 billion in 2014.
The statement, which is backed by “Kingsman: The Secret Service” filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, “Spectre’s” Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and Working Title duo Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, whose credits include “The Danish Girl,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Hail, Caesar!,” argues that “being in the E.U. means that our feature films, our television programs and our games can travel far more easily across borders because they are not subject to quotas or taxes of any kind in Europe. This significantly increases the earnings of U.K. audiovisual companies helping them to grow their businesses and to employ far more people.”
The movie producers point out that “British film and television crews, actors, vfx artists, games programmers, writers and directors can all work in other European countries without a work permit and all equipment travels “carnet” [a “passport” for goods] free… All of this would be at risk if we were to leave.”
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The statement also says that E.U. money “helps ensure that audiences across Britain can enjoy a rich and varied diet of films at the cinema and on the small screen, which they might not otherwise see.”
Among the producers who signed the letter are “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’s” Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Christian Colson, “The King’s Speech’s” Iain Canning, “Brooklyn’s” Finola Dwyer, and Rebecca O’Brien, producer of Cannes Film Festival winner “I, Daniel Blake.”
Also backing the statement are “Trainspotting” and “Ex Machina” producer Andrew Macdonald, “Saving Mr. Banks” producer Alison Owen, “The Crying Game’s” Stephen Woolley, and Elizabeth Karlsen, who produced “Carol” with Woolley.
The statement in full:
When it comes to such a huge issue as this week’s Euro referendum, there are any number of personal fears and ambitions that determine which way one votes. It’s not for us to attempt to answer any of them but we would like to set out our reasons as to why we believe staying in Europe is the right thing to do for our industry and for the future jobs and opportunities that come with it.
So, in the hope we can persuade you to support our current, thriving creative industries, here is our “pitch.”
The U.K. is part of the E.U.’s MEDIA/Creative Europe Program which provides significant funding to our film, television and games industries each year. Between 2007 and 2015 our industry benefited from almost €130 million ($146 million) provided by this program. Without this, many of the regional production funds across the U.K. would not have the resources they currently have. This money has helped to support thousands of highly skilled creative and technical jobs and film and television companies nationwide. This money also helps ensure that audiences across Britain can enjoy a rich and varied diet of films at the cinema and on the small screen which they might not otherwise see.
Being in the E.U. means that our feature films, our television programs and our games can travel far more easily across borders because they are not subject to quotas or taxes of any kind in Europe. This significantly increases the earnings of U.K. audiovisual companies helping them to grow their businesses and to employ far more people on film and TV sets, in special effects houses, in games development, in cinemas and right across all of our industries.
At present, British film and television crews, actors, vfx artists, games programmers, writers and directors can all work in other European countries without a work permit and all equipment travels “carnet” free. (For those of us that remember the horror of carnets the idea of having them back in our lives is a terrifying thought!). All of this would be at risk if we were to leave.
Having a seat at the table in Europe enables us to help ensure that E.U. policies make a positive contribution to jobs in the film and television sectors and across all the manufacturing and service industries which support them. For example, having a voice at the negotiating table is helping the U.K. to prevent changes in copyright law, which could have a detrimental effect on the ability to finance films and television programs.
All of these benefits have helped ensure that the U.K. has the fastest growing creative industry sector in Europe. The number of jobs in the U.K.’s Creative Industries increased by 5.5% between 2013 and 2014 to 1.8 million jobs and the sector was worth £84 billion ($123 billion) to the U.K. economy in 2014.
Hopefully some of this information might be useful for you to consider voting “in” and continue the great work that, for the past 20 years, both Conservative and Labour governments have done to help build our industry into the global powerhouse it currently is.
Yours very sincerely,
Michael G. Wilson