Call me a cynic but usually when a vfx company starts boasting about how great things are it’s usually preparation for some bad news. I sort of had the same feeling when UK VFX houses boasted in Variety how great things are going:
Thank God, the major studios don’t see the U.K. as a risk any more,” Hunt says. “Over time, they have seen that, given the opportunity, London can always respond in economies of scale, in price and in quality of work.
Perhaps my suspicion is misplaced but then you read Tim Adler suggesting the UK film industry may have peaked and added this tidbit that was a surprise discovery to me:
the European Union wants to clamp down on the local 20% tax break designed to tempt Hollywood to UK shores. It’s all part of the EU’s drive to stamp out competition between European countries in favour of the single market.
I thought if anyone had a legitimate issue with international film subsidies, it would be the WTO which strictly prohibits the practice, but the EU? I looked up some info and indeed Tim Adler is correct. In fact the subsidies in the UK have an expiration date of March 31, 2012:
Yesterday, the European Commission has finally given its greenlight to the new UK tax incentives after months of negotiations that have led to a revision of the Cultural Test for British fims. The scheme has been approved until March 31 2012.
It took therefore several months for the UK Government to rewrite its copy with the Commission to ensure that the revised test does meet those requirements which allow EU member states to subsidise commercial films for cultural purposes to protect open competition between member states.
Will the EU take the training wheels off of the UK VFX industry and let the subsidies expire? Who knows, only then will we really know if UK filmmaker Alan Parker was right or wrong when he said:
I mean what is the British Film Industry anyway? Just a bunch of people in London who can’t get Green Cards.