UK film industry facing most hostile environment in years, say insiders

August 25th, 2009 - 2:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Slumdog Millionaire London, Aug 25 (ANI): The stupendous success of Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is unlikely to be repeated, say insiders.

The ongoing credit crisis has hit independent film companies quite hard, as 59 such companies have wrapped up in past 18 months, while others are struggling for funds.

According to the report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, indie companies such as Lucky 7, which made film Modigliani about the life of the Italian artist and Palm Tree UK, behind feature films Lost in Landscape and Winter Warrior, have gone bust.

The company Stormrider Films, which had scheduled to bring out “a British sci-fi feature film like no other ever produced in the UK” with CGI effects, called Kaleidoscope Man, has also gone bankrupt.

Christian Colson, producer of Slumdog Millionaire, fears that the trend might ultimately leave Britain drained of creativity

“It will be easier to get a 100m dollars film made than a really good 15m-dollar film,” The Independent quoted him as saying.

John Woodward, chief executive of the UK Film Council, admitted that independent film companies “are facing something of a perfect storm”.

“The debt which essentially financed their films is harder to secure… and the transition to digital has prompted a rise in piracy - so there’s a real strain on traditional fund raising.”

He, however, added that despite these challenges, the best projects were “still getting financed”.

The economic downturn has discouraged banks and high-risk investors to put in their money.”Investors are more risk-averse than usual, so are either looking for more genre-driven material, more established directors, or bigger name cast before they’ll invest…,” said Andrea Calderwood, an independent film producer with Slate Films who won a BAFTA for the film The Last King of Scotland.

“Films are also taking longer to come together - either because the top talent is not available, or because financiers are taking longer to make decisions,” Calderwood added.

The PwC report stated that while big studio blockbusters were drawing huge audiences to cinema multiplexes, indie films were deteriorating.

It said: “The recession has sent hoards of consumers to the cinema and therefore large scale, expensive films such as Harry Potter remain in production and eagerly awaited. However, due to the credit crunch, sources of financing for smaller indie films have dried up - meaning many plots remain on the story board.” (ANI)

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