UK VFX Houses Behind Bogus Study?

UK Government Cheese

A VFX Supervisor in the UK sent me a study that claimed government support of the UK film industry has boosted revenues, employment, and GDP way beyond the costs of the subsidies themselves. While most media outlets puppet the glowing report, it unfortunately isn’t very “spot on”.

As you have probably read from previous posts, government subsidies pose a huge risk to overseas VFX facilities due to artificial pricing and volatility of job locations for vfx workers. What makes this report incredibly dubious is the fact that it was funded by the UK Film Council. It would be a mistake to think that the very organization that needs government funding the most would release an independent study.

But, it gets worse: On the very first page, the study is supported by UK VFX houses such as Framestore, Double Negative, and Cinesite. These are the very facilities whose studio relationships depend on the subsidies the report supports.

Delving further, questionable statistics are being pulled out of thin air. For example, they claim that the UK film industry has contributed 4.5 Billion dollars to the UK GDP. I contacted the UKFC to ask for the direct source of all the numbers in their report. What was the original source of these numbers? Their response:

We are the original source.


The very films they certified as “UK Films” were actually like The Dark Knight which were financed by the US with some of the work done in the UK or passing some vague cultural test. The numbers themselves are extremely sketchy. How were productions costs calculated? Were the salaries of million dollar actors used to pad the salaries of UK employees and tax revenues? We’ll never know unless an independent study is done but why do the VFX facilities and the UKFC need to release such a glowing report now?

Things aren’t exactly tickety-boo in the UK

With a debt-to-gdp ratio that ranks as one of the industrialized world’s highest, the newly elected Conservative Party in the UK have made it clear that they vow to make huge cuts in the UK government spending. For the UK Film Council, those cuts have already materialized. They are even going after UK film investors. For the VFX facilities, the culling down or total removal of these subsidies most of them were founded upon could mean that studios would be more likely to take their work elsewhere. You live by the subsidy, you die by the subsidy.


5 Responses to UK VFX Houses Behind Bogus Study?

  1. 1-Eyed Stereographer says:

    Tenuous maybe but, the games industry was the UK government’s most recent victim.


  2. […] Jackson recently released a review of the NZ Film Commission. Unlike the UK Film Commission fluff piece, it was brutally honest. I was shocked to read the report mention this: The Treasury report refers […]

  3. […] pointed out before that some of the studies coming from the UK Film Council were completely bogus. They even released another fluff piece a week earlier as the austerity target found their backs. […]

  4. doesn't make a difference says:

    You know, it’s people like you who are the reason why so many people hate Americans. As far as you’re concerned, the only people on this planet who matter are you and your fellow Americans – your entire blog comes off as little more than a thinly veiled xenophobic soapbox, so you can whinge and whine about how other countries are “stealing” “your” work. Yeah, right. Maybe you can write to your president and ask him to invade the UK to get your work back. It seems the UK will make war with pretty much anyone these days.

    It’s quite pathetic the way you require a name to post a comment here while hiding behind a cowardly mask of anonymity yourself. Maybe people would take you and your “cause” more seriously if you actually had the balls to stick your name to your words.

    • vfxsoldier says:

      I’ve called out the subsidies in New Mexico and other states in the US. Subsidies hurt the vfx industry by artficializing the price of vfx and preventing a level playing field.

      It’s hard for me to be xenophobic when both my parents came from another country.

      I don’t require a name to post comments, wordpress does. I would get rid of it if I could. It’s much better than cgtalk which requires an account and you get banned for saying things that aren’t in line with their moderators.

      Interestingly enough a month after posting this article the UK Film Council was abolished. It wasn’t my “xenophobic” writings that caused it to be shuttered, the UK government was recognizing money being wasted and how bogus the organization was. Don’t blame me, blame the UK govt.

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