At last! Some good news for the UK film industry

Story by Jack Foley

AT LAST, some good news for the struggling UK film industry! After a difficult past 12 months, foreign film investment is showing signs of recovery, with figures for the first eight months of 2002 already surpassing levels for the whole of last year.

Over £280 million has so far been invested in the UK by foreign film companies this year, compared to the £230.4 million total for 2001, according to the Film Council, the government body responsible for promoting the UK’s film industry.

But while the figures have been welcomed by leading industry lights, they are still a long way off achieving the highs of 2000, when £539m was invested in the UK.

The slump of last year - when levels of investment from location shooting and production fell by over 57 per cent - was attributed to the dip in consumer confidence, caused by the attacks of September 11 and the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Now, however, the industry has been buoyed by the likes of Harry Potter and the new Bond film, Die Another Day, while there is ‘a growing sense of health’ beginning to emerge, with people wanting to use the world-class facilities and infrastructure provided by the UK once more.

But while foreign investment continues to improve, UK production is still giving cause for concern, particularly in light of the collapse of the film-making branch of Film Four earlier this year.

A mere 38 UK films began production in the first nine months of 2002, compared to 62 last year, a state of affairs which has prompted some of the leading names in British cinema to call for greater support for the industry.

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