×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BFI Backs Major New Fund for U.K. Film and TV Producers

U.K. producers have a new potential source of finance after the British Film Institute, Calculus Capital, and Stargrove Pictures launched a new £20 million fund ($25.3 million). The partners are looking to raise that amount to sink into six-to-ten film and TV production companies under the reworked EIS rules in the U.K. The funds are for emerging producers with a track record, but which are seeking to ramp up. They give up a minority equity stake – likely between 10% and 40% – in their businesses in return for a capital investment of between £1 million and £3 million. The government caps investment at £5 million a year.

The BFI’s outgoing CEO Amanda Nevill said that a lack of access to finance is holding back producers from scaling up and profiting from the growth in the U.K.’s growing content sector.

The EIS mechanism had widely been used in the U.K. to back individual projects, but that is no longer allowed. Investments using the scheme must now be in growth companies. In film and TV the cash invested can be used for acquiring IP, paying writers and development execs, and for overheads.

Calculus, which is venturing into the content sector for the first time, will manage the U.K. Creative Content EIS Fund with Stargrove, which has previously backed films including “Selma” and series including “The Fall.” The Fund will be managed independently but in association with the BFI, which said it would be a next step on the ladder for producers and production companies looking to move to a new level.

The partners are targeting a £2 return for every £1 invested. Calculus CEO John Glencross said that the plan is for the companies receiving investment to grow to an extent that they are either sold, list on the stock market, or are at a stage to secure much larger scale investment.

In practice, the fund offers well-known producers setting up shop, or production companies that are growing fast, an alternative to partnering with a larger content group, which will often want to take distribution rights.

The Fund was launched off the back of the BFI’s report into independent film in the U.K., but is open to big- and small-screen producers alike. The indie film business in the U.K. faces many challenges while the TV sector, fueled by demand for high-end drama, is enjoying a period of growth. Companies seeking investment will need advanced clearance from the U.K. tax authorities, which will need to be in place before any cash is handed over.

“I think the independent film landscape remains viable,” Stargrove CEO Stephen Fuss told Variety. “The streamers are picking up independent film content and I think that will continue, especially with Netflix rumored to be setting up a hub here.” He added that talks are already underway with some firms and the first deals using the new Fund are set to be unveiled this year.

Media investors are getting to grips with the new EIS regime and the likes of Great Point Media have already invested in film, TV, and games firms under the new rules.

Glencross said that the U.K.’s planned, albeit chaotic, exit from the European Union would not impact any investment plans or the U.K. companies’ ability to work at an international level, especially given British firms often target international markets outside of the EU. “I don’t really see why Brexit changes anything,” he said. “A lot of people talk it up, but in reality it’s a bit of a false fear.”

More Film

  • 'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at

    'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at Camerimage Film Festival

    “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s bid, along with director Todd Phillips, to try something “perhaps even a bit artful” won big Saturday in Torun, Poland as he took the top prize at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival. The Golden Frog for cinematography, along with the audience prize, went to his work filming Joaquin Phoenix in the [...]

  • Roberto Schaefer

    Netflix Image Enhancement Rules Take Cinematographers by Surprise

    A Netflix requirement that cinematographers capture films in HDR, or high dynamic range, has taken many by surprise, filmmakers say, but those at the 27th EnergaCamerimage festival in Poland seem increasingly accepting of the change. DP Roberto Schaefer, whose “Red Sea Diving Resort” screened at the cinematography fest in the historic city of Torun, said [...]

  • Lech Majewski and Josh Hartnett

    Lech Majewski on ‘Valley of the Gods,’ Navaho Mythology, Josh Hartnett, Keir Dullea

    TORUN, Poland – In his latest work, “The Valley of the Gods,” director Lech Majewski explores the ancient mythology of a downtrodden people and the absurd wealth of the world’s richest man in a surreal vision of modern America. The film screened at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival as part of special showcase honoring Majewski, [...]

  • The Red Sea Diving Resort

    Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer on Gideon Raff's Thriller ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’

    TORUN, Poland – While Gideon Raff’s Netflix thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort” shot largely in South Africa and Namibia, the project was a welcomed opportunity for cinematographer Roberto Schaefer due to his own memorable travels through Ethiopia. The film, which screened in the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section, is loosely based [...]

  • Film director and scriptwriter Vojtech Jasny

    Vojtech Jasny, Award-Winning Czech Filmmaker, Dies at 93

    Czech filmmaker Vojtech Jasny, director of “All My Good Countrymen,” which won the best director prize at Cannes in 1969, has died. He was 93. According to the Associated Press, Slovacke divadlo, a theatre he frequently visited, said that Jasny died Friday, and a family representative confirmed his death to the CTK news agency. Jasny [...]

  • Noelle Anna Kendrick

    Film Review: 'Noelle' on Disney Plus

    What do you get when you toss together Christmas cheer, Christmas kitsch, a fish-out-of-the-North-Pole setup swiped from “Elf,” and a plot that turns on whether Kris Kringle’s daughter, played as a perky naïf by Anna Kendrick, has what it takes to step into her dad’s snow boots? You get a plastic icicle like “Noelle,” Long [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content