The British Film Industry in undoubtably linked very strongly with the European Union and significantly contributes to the UK economy as a whole, so what are going to be the implications of Brexit?

Without meaning to fan the flames of a Brexit debate, we have done some research on how the UK’s exit from the European Union is likely to affect the TV and Film Making industry overall, and that includes both UK filmmakers looking to film abroad, and EU nationals wanting to film in the UK.

For the most part, both UK and EU nationals will face the same consequences. This article highlights the likely implications of Brexit and give you some important things to consider, particularly when coming to the UK to film.

The British Film Industry and the European Union

The UK’s membership of the EU has meant that both British and European film industries are inextricably intertwined because of the underlying legislative and regulatory framework which stems from the EU, and provides numerous mutual benefits through various initiatives.

Such initiatives include Creative Europe and the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production (ECCC), which both act to essentially preserve and support culture, creativity and diversity within the film industry and to strengthen Europe’s role as a cultural and innovative competitor worldwide. Creative Europe is in charge of allocating EU funds to production projects and plays a pivotal role in encouraging international creative partnerships, growing production companies and developing their projects.

To put it simply, being part of the European Union allows some key advantages:

  • Free movement of people and goods – meaning UK and EU nationals and production companies can easily move around different member states to film. It is estimated that inward production investment to the UK from the EU was worth approximately £249 million alone.
  • Funding for various projects – It is estimated that, between 2007 and 2017, Creative Europe gave the UK screen sectors (including TV and Gaming) an estimated £300 million to fund and support hundreds of homegrown creations alone.
  • Cross-country collaborations – helped by the EU’s free movement, creative collaboration within film helps to showcase cultural diversity.

It is clear that any production projects already signed by the UK will go ahead after Brexit even if there is a No Deal. This is great news for anyone involved in co-productions, as funding will still be available to see these projects through to 2020. However, the end of freedom of movement may have implications for these projects.

For example, despite the ECCC being governed by the Council of Europe and not the EU itself, it still requires at least 3 members to contribute creatively and financially to a co-production to qualify, and this also means that each member must allow entry to anybody involved the project. This will prove difficult to do after Brexit and there is a lot of uncertainty around this.

Free Movement in the Film Industry

The Government have already confirmed its intent to end freedom of movement once we leave the EU, and this is probably the biggest area of concern for both British and European production companies and film makers alike.

The loss of this freedom impacts everything from the transportation of production equipment across borders, the ease of which crew members can travel to different locations and the fluidity of skills, talent and ideas in general – all of which are vitally important. This ultimately means that the efficiency and costs of production projects looking to move between the UK and continental Europe will be negatively affected.

There are two main possible outcomes:

  • Anyone coming to the UK to film will need to apply for permission and receive a “European Temporary Leave to Remain” in order to stay longer than three months.
  • EU citizens wishing to stay for longer than 3 years will need to make a further application under the new skills-based future immigration system, which is likely to change in 2021.

This also means the likely introduction of tariffs on equipment and people coming in and out of the UK. This will require a visa for each crew and cast member; and lengthy, time consuming paperwork to get all your equipment across borders. These issues will no doubt impact film budgets and the level of organisation needed before a shoot, as visas and tariffs are expensive and often a lengthy process.

Filming in London Post Brexit

Although the UK Government has expressed intent to keep the UK’s Film Industry tied to the EU, coming to the UK to film your projects will require a little more research and decision making. Where will you film? Can you still film with your crew or would it be convenient to hire local talent?

At Camberwell Studios, we pride ourselves in being flexible, professional and helpful. That means, if you just want to use our greenscreen studios, you are more than welcome to bring in your own crew and equipment.

However, HMRC regulations mean that an overseas company only hiring studio space in the UK must pay VAT (Value Added Tax) at a rate of 20%. This can be avoided if you hire the rest of the production team and equipment from the UK, so we strongly recommend weighing up the pros and cons of using your own stuff when filming in the UK – particularly post Brexit! It might be easier to bring over a skeleton team and then hire anyone else you need from within the UK to escape VAT and visa costs…

We are fortunate to have a range of professional crew, cameras, lighting and specialist equipment in-house which is available to hire at competitive rates and help make your filming day more convenient and less stressful. You can get an overview of useful things we can offer by visiting our Services page and going from there.

We also have a range of production packages which we designed to keep your production costs down and save you from compromising some of your budgets – we know they can be tight sometimes! These packages have proved useful to many clients in the past and can be negotiated in most cases to suit your specific needs.

Summary

Until the UK can reach a Brexit Deal which is agreed by everyone, it is impossible to tell you the exact implications and how leaving the UK will affect coming to the UK to film. All we can do is advise you to prepare yourself for some changes which may hinder production work, and try to find a work around so that your filming projects aren’t compromised.

Ending free movement is quite a challenge to overcome, particularly as the entire industry relies on the ease of which skills, talent and ideas can be shared across borders, along with relatively simple logistics in terms of transporting lots of equipment. But it isn’t impossible to overcome… just be organised and do your research.

We recommend the following tips:

  • Save 20% VAT by hiring other production services when you choose a UK film studio
  • Research what resources your chosen film studio has in-house to save you time and money figuring out how to get it over here.
  • The UK is a great place for filming… we have great locations, well priced studios and a whole host of talent on our shores – plus, you’ll benefit from the lowered value of the Great British Pound.

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