UK Film Council’s investment winners and loosers

Figures recently released to the UK parliament by the culture minister, Ed Vaizey, reveals that the council allocated money to thirty three film productions between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2011 that have so far received “recoupment income”.

Recouped income primarily happens when films are distributed and they make money abroad. Then these funds are then entirely reinvested in new productions.

The King’s Speech, winner of three Oscars a Hollywood-backed film starring Colin Firth, was a big success for the UK Film Council. It returned 95% of the £1m lottery money invested. Another film also featuring Firth, St Trinian’s,(2007) a comedy set in an all-girls school, that was the council’s biggest recent success, returning a slight profit  £1,440,017 on the £1,432,000 invested.

Other successes included a documentary on French wire-walker Philippe Petit’ Man on Wire, a look at the daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City’s World Trade Center’s twin towers in 1974, it returned 101% of the £385,000 invested. Nowhere Boy – Sam Taylor-Wood’s John Lennon biopic, returned 87% of the £1.2m invested despite only grossing £5m worldwide at the box office. Jane Campion’s Bright Star made an 81% payback from just £8m in box office. Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenham has already returned 80% from a £9m box office take. All earned their money from strong foreign sales.

Not all investments were successful Brideshead Revisited, based on a novel by the English writer Evelyn Waugh, a emotional story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence prior to the Second World War., (directed by Julian Jarrold he also directed Becoming Jane here in Ireland in 2006) It has returned a mere 1% of the £1.4m it was handed out.

The UK Film Council has spends about £15m a year of lottery money on independent UK-made films this function has now been transferred to the British Film Institute.


Categories: Film and TV

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