An introduction to British Cinema

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Brief outline of how the British Film industry works including funding. Used as part of a WJEC Film Studies course

Text of An introduction to British Cinema

  • What is a British Film?
    • Diversity makes a defining a British film very challenging.
    • Some UK Film Council definitions:
      • Films principally shot in the UK, using a British crew/cast
      • Films financed from within the UK
      • Films that are set in the UK
      • Films that address British Identity and Society
    What is a British film?
    • Range of definitions 32 in total, but to qualify as a British film only 16 must be met.
    • One is that the film represents/reflects a diverse British culture, British heritage or British creativity (so we dont just make lots of imitations of American films)
    UK Film Council Cultural Test
    • Yes:-
    • Director Paul Greengrass is British
    • Large section is filmed in London , some studio work at Pinewood
    • Largely British crew
    • No:-
    • Doesnt reflect British themes or concerns
    • Lots of other locations
    • Produced by Universal Frank Marshall and Doug Liman are American
    • Universal are American owned company
    Is The Bourne Ultimatum a British film?
    • Yes:-
    • Director David Yatesis British
    • Large sections is filmed in England and Scotland ,
    • Largely British crew including producers
    • Largely British Actors
    • Based on the work of an British Author (Rowlings)
    • No:-
    • Produced/Distributed by Warner Bros they are American owned company
    • Some key personnel were not British eg Portuguese Cinematographer
    Is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a British film?
    • UK Film Council- British Film Institute
      • fund script development, film production, short films, film export and distribution, cinemas, film education, culture and archives, festivals and audience support schemes
      • Film Fund 15 mil per year (90% of applicants will be rejected) and money from Lotteries
      • Innovation Fund to help move to the digital age esp in rural areas
    • Co Production deals which BfI can help set up
    • Tax Breaks
    Funding for British Films
    • Harry Potter and the DH was funded all by Warner Bro but the first one was a co production.
    • The Kings Speech
      • The UK Film Council awarded The Kings Speech 1,021,080 of Lottery funding. The UK Film Council stands to recoup 100% of its investment plus significant net profits
      • Londons Prescience Film Finance stepped in to provide two-thirds of the films 9 million ($14.5 million) budget using its 25 million Aegis Film Fund
    • Four Lions
      • Film 4 finally ended up funding this (rejected by BBC and Channel 4) along with Warp Films (2.5 mil)
    Case Studies
    • Very different to the US set
    • Govt support
    • Independent Film Production Houses
      • Working Title, Warp Films, Ealing Studios
    • Need to team up with a distribution company
      • British Distribution Companies
    • Can be very hard to get films made in Britain and they are not necessarily very profitable (Harry Potter/James Bond)
    • Need to be distinctively British.
    Producing British Films
    • How are images of the British used to market films?
    Possible Questions
    • Do British films have to say something to their audience about the British experience to be a success?
    Possible Questions
    • What obstacles or problems do you think a British studio would face in trying to find an audience for its films? What might stop that film from being a success ?
    Possible Questions
    • How important for the British Film industry is the use of UK 'talent' in films financed outside Britain?
    Possible Questions
    • What strategies do you think can be used to create a successful British Film Industry?
    Possible Questions
    • Why is the film industry dominated by US film and what chance does the British Film Industry have?
    Possible Questions
    • How important is it for the British film industry to have internationally recognised stars?
    Possible Questions