BFC celebrates UK film industry at Cannes

The influence of the UK’s film industry on global production has been highlighted by a series of events from the British Film Commission at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival.

On Sunday evening, Samantha Perahia, Senior Production Executive for the BFC hosted the “Filming Around the UK” panel at the UK Film Centre. The panel invited filmmakers to talk about their experiences filming throughout the UK, and the locations, incentives and infrastructure available.

Perahia was joined by producer Gabrielle Tana, who recently produced the critically acclaimed Philomena, shooting in Northern Ireland and London and well as other English locations, as well as The Invisible Woman and The Duchess, which both shot throughout England. Also on the panel were Producers Teun Hilte and Alex Boden. Hilte worked on upcoming period drama Miss Julie, starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell, which shot entirely in Northern Ireland; while Boden is producer of Warner Bros.’ stunning sci-fi Cloud Atlas – a German and British co-production starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry which filmed in several Scottish locations.

Speaking about bringing crew in from the film’s German production base while also utilising Scottish crew, Boden said “Our crew, when they finally had to leave Scotland, didn’t want to because they’d really bonded with the Scottish filmmakers…everything we shot there looks absolutely brilliant.”
He was also effusive about the local screen agencies’ and councils’ assistance with street closures for scenes which doubled Glasgow for San Francisco: “The city councils were absolutely incredible in terms of what we were able to do, we’re talking about main roads going through the city centre…the impossible was made possible”.

Hilte was equally enthusiastic about his experience filming in Northern Ireland, noting the production infrastructure that has emerged there: “Game of Thrones in particular has really given [Northern Ireland crew] a boost of skills and experience over the years, which are now being utilised on other films”. Meanwhile Tana was keen to talk about the unique locations available in the UK: “They’re true locations, we didn’t have to build anything, we didn’t have to dress that greatly…there are not that many places in the world where you can do that”.

Tana also highlighted the incentives and infrastructure available, saying “Amazing support, amazing teams, great location scouts, great production designers, great crew all around [and] we had amazing support across the board in terms of funding”.

International networking

On Monday evening, the BFC co-hosted the UK Reception with Screen International, Film London and Sargent-Disc. The event gave UK production industry figures an opportunity to network with their international counterparts.

Elsewhere the BFC held a series of one-to-one meetings with filmmakers, giving members of the international production community an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of the UK as a filming destination, as well as receiving advice on setting up their projects in the UK.

Additionally, the BFC took part in The Global Community panel, co-hosted by Variety, the Production Guild of America, EP Financial Solutions and the Association of Film Commissioners International. The panel discussed production incentives and film financing available globally, and was hosted by Joseph Chianese, EVP of EP Financial Solutions. Panellists included Hawk Koch, President of the Production Guild of America as well as representatives from Film London, Creative BC and film financiers FilmNation Entertainment. It allowed the BFC to emphasise the benefits of the UK Film Tax Relief, including the recent changes which have made it even more accessible and generous than before.

The BFC rounded off its Cannes activity with a reception co-hosted with Coutts, who provide specialist banking services to the entertainment industry, attended by a host of international production clients as well as BFC Chief Executive Adrian Wootton. The event provided an opportunity for networking, as well as a celebration of the success of inward investment into UK film.

The “Global Community: A Focus on Production Incentives and Film Financing” seminar will be available to watch online at 19.00 BST on 22 May 2014. More information can be found here.