opinion column uk

UK filmmakers need to think outward for success

chinese-uk-film-treaty-2014
The UK film industry is one of the most robust in the world at present with an influx of foreign investment, strong tax incentives and a highly skilled workforce, however, there are certain changes that need to take place in order for UK filmmakers to capitalise on the momentum.

One of the important areas is storytelling and how those stories can encapsulate audiences, not just in the UK but abroad. Culturally the UK has a diverse population but it also has a challenge to share values across borders. This year, the UK Government signed a co-production agreement with China opening up a huge, foreign market to UK based filmmakers. Some complain in the industry that Hollywood has taken the initiative and that there are no home-grown films big enough to make their way internationally. While there may still be significant export hurdles for UK film producers, the opportunity to reach new markets like China and produce stories that have a bigger audience is there for the taking.

Traditionally British films are not often the blockbusters we see dominating box office charts around the world, but if we look back just two years, Britain showed the world its humour and cultural standing at the Olympics and made a big cultural impact on TV screens around the world. Why can’t this be replicated? British humour and culture is popular not just at home, but abroad. It’s time to look at the bigger picture, understand more about international audiences, so that films in the UK, can also appeal outward.

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill released this statement earlier in the year regarding the new treaty:

“The co-production treaty with China, which has the largest growing film industry in the world, is hugely significant for UK film as it will open the door for our filmmakers to collaborate and contribute to each other’s success. An appreciation of each other’s filmmaking culture is the foundation for commercial success and it is fantastic that through the treaty and the landmark events that we have set up here in China and which will continue in the UK throughout 2014, that we are starting to build an even closer collaborative relationship between our two industries to enable them to flourish.”

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