The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will have a majorly negative effect on British film and TV, an industry expert has claimed.
Michael Ryan, the chairman of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), the group which represents the companies behind independent film and TV around the world, has described Brexit as ‘likely devastating’ for the creative sector.
In a statement to Variety, he described how the inherent risk and expense in filming movies and TV may dissuade financiers from backing projects in the UK, threatening the jobs security of all involved.
Mr Ryan said:
The decision to exit the European Union is a major blow to the U.K. film and TV industry. Producing films and television programs is a very expensive and very risky business and certainty about the rules affecting the business is a must.
This decision has just blown up our foundation — as of today, we no longer know how our relationships with co-producers, financiers and distributors will work, whether new taxes will be dropped on our activities in the rest of Europe, or how production financing is going to be raised without any input from European funding agencies.
There’s still a large degree of uncertainty surrounding what will happen in the future now we’ve left the Union, but it goes without saying that the UK’s creative industry was stronger in than out.
Take HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones as an example. The show currently receives a substantial amount of money from The European Regional Fund which allows the show to film in Europe and base itself in Belfast.
If that money is cut off or not renegotiated for the whole show, which brings in over €140m to the local economy and employs actors, cameramen and all sorts of production staff, then GoT could be forced to move elsewhere.
Funding aside, there will be issues concerning visas and logistics making filming on the continent all the more difficult for British productions, including Doctor Who and Top Gear.
Netflix and chill fans may want to stop reading now too, as there may be difficulties with streaming services. Currently the UK has a seat at the table when the EU is deciding on issues like Digital Single Market strategy.
While this sounds boring, what it actually does is try and end geo-blocking across Europe – that irritating thing which makes our Netflix worse than the American version.
However, it’s not all bad news – the pound’s lowered value against the dollar and the euro will make it cheaper for Hollywood and European productions to film in the UK.
The flip-side is that the weakened pound will make life difficult for cinemas as distribution across the UK is set to become more expensive and therefore the cost of cinema tickets may rise. And we don’t even want to think about popcorn prices.
But as we’d no longer be bound by ‘State Aid’ – which rules on how government subsidies and other incentives are applied to the film and TV industry – we could attract even more filming.
Industry insiders, however, are dead against the move with 300 artists, actors, writers and musicians also signing a letter backing the Remain campaign.
The letter read:
Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.
Leaving Europe would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people across the UK who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the growth and vibrancy of Britain’s cultural sector.
Take all this with a pinch of salt – as we mentioned earlier there’s an awful lot of uncertainty surrounding the decision.
But we can say one thing for certain – film and TV will never be the same again.