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“It’s Extraordinary”: Biggest Names In UK Biz Respond To “Game-changing” Gov’t Plans For 40% Indie Movie Tax Relief

Some of the biggest names in the world of British film have showered praise on the “game-changing” new 40% British indie film relief.

Announced earlier today by UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt following lobbying from the BFI and Pact for months, the relief will apply to movies made for less than £15M ($19M). Today’s move was coupled with a 5% increase in tax relief for UK VFX costs in film and high-end TV, and business rates relief of 40% for major studios.

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Sixteen Films producer and Ken Loach collaborator Rebecca O’Brien joked that the “genuine game changer” has prompted her to rethink whether to stop making movies.

“It’s extraordinary,” she told Deadline shortly after the credit was announced. “It just gives me confidence and means if I can raise the money more easily, I can spend more time helping the production and making a good film rather than spending all my time on Zoom trying to sort out the money. It actually helps me be a better producer.”

O’Brien said she had hoped Hunt would lend a portion of his budget speech to announce new measures for the UK indie sector, but could never have imagined a 40% relief.

“We needed a proper solid intervention, and I was fearful that a watered-down version might not do the trick,” O’Brien added.

The veteran producer behind features including I, Daniel Blake, Sorry We Missed You, and The Old Oak added that the new relief gives “incentive to keep going for a few more years.”

“A thought that came to my mind was that I’m old enough to give up, but maybe I won’t,” she said.

Broccoli, Nolan & co heap praise

Other huge names heaped praise on the relief.

James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli said it will “ensure that our screen industry will continue to thrive by giving opportunities to a diversity of new talent both on and off the screen for future generations of filmmakers.”

Oppenheimer helmer Christopher Nolan added: “Independent and lower-budget filmmaking is where we had our start and where new voices and innovations vital to the entire industry are born. This enhanced tax relief builds on the incredible work already being done by British filmmakers and will create new opportunities for British crews, filmmakers, and cast members for years to come.”

Ridley Scott, Gurinder Chadha, Idris Elba and Mike Leigh also weighed in.

“Without the support of public funding, it simply would not have been possible for me to make films such British films as Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice,” said Chadha, who revealed recently she is making a Christmas film about an Indian Ebenezer Scrooge.

Napoleon’s Scott said the move has “never been more vital,” while Leigh, who has made almost 30 British indie pics, floated that “getting independent films made has always been hard, and it’s getting harder.”

Elba added: “Independent films are a training ground for talent and an opportunity to show the world who we are. We have some of the best-loved filmmakers out there but these films are becoming almost impossible to make and we risk losing them completely – so this support is great news, and will have a massive impact on our British film culture.”

The relief will come into place from April 1, which O’Brien said is just too late for her next feature, Harvest, directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari and starring Caleb Landry Jones.

“I’m still missing a chunk of money to get that film finished. I could have really used this money,” she said, adding that, moving forward, further public money should be directed towards film development, which she described as the “most expensive part of getting films into production.”

“Developing a screenplay, for example, is expensive,” she said. “But again, bringing more tax credit to the table means that there’s a chance British producers can be investors themselves. So we’re recouping money and then can invest in projects. It just gives us a better business footing.”

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