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Brexit – the good, the bad and the ugly result for UK Film

Industry anxiety suggests films following in the footsteps of Ken Loach's Palme D'or-winning I, Daniel Blake may be relegated to history in a post EU world

As the UK tries to steady itself after a tumultuous couple of weeks during which 52% of the population felt more confident about the notion of the UK sitting outside of the EU structure than it did within it, the UK’s film community has begun to react vocally to the news

The overwhelming sense - apart from shock - is of extreme anxiety about what a post EU Europe might look like for the film industry. But that’s not the complete view and some commentators have pictured a more rosy future. Time will tell, and we are all holding our collective breaths as the sands continue to shift - but while we await the next steps in this dramatic world-changing process, here is a roundup of some of the industry reaction to the news so far.


Leading the field, UK trade publication ScreenDaily reports a ‘shocked and dismayed response to the news of Brexit in almost every sector of the British film industry; responses in Europe have also been extremely downbeat’.

US trade Variety identifies ‘Seven Likely Consequences for the British Film and TV Industry’ -  but finds two of the seven may be positive.

UK-based producer and data analyst, Stephen Follows, has explored the Brexit result twice this week – firstly finding 10 reasons to be worried (leading with the loss of the MEDIA funding programme) and just 4 reasons to relax headed by the devaluation of the pound making it cheaper to shoot in the UK.

Stephen Follows
returned days later with some more considered analysis to explore what a post-Brexit UK film industry might look like, after surveying 156 film professionals.

The Guardian's Ben Child also looked at how MEDIA and Creative Europe are vital for UK films, including Oscar nominees like Carol and The King's Speech.

Recognising that different parts of the industry will be affected in different ways, Steve Henderson, writing in Skwigly, suggests that without EU funding, the animation industry may face a crisis like it has not seen since before the tax breaks were introduced.

Finally it was the turn of Amanda Nevill, the BFI’s CEO, in conversation with London’s Evening Standard, to suggest that the industry is engulfed in a “cloud of uncertainty” and to warn that independent film-makers are most at risk from the loss of EU funding.


The Guardian set its bloggers off in a call to arms – and Paul Duddridge, a British film and TV producer working in Hollywood, rose to the challenge to find an opportunity in the current crisis

Duddridge was called on again during the week by US trade mag Hollywood Reporter where he theorised how Brexit might well ‘open up British Film to global equity.

A few days earlier, Hollywood Reporter had also found some positives in the Out vote for itself, specifically suggesting that the studios could come out on top while UK producers struggle with uncertainty.

Meanwhile for us at British Council’s Film department:

Here at the British Council, where our remit is, was, and forever will be, entirely based on the value of international relationships, we’ve been working with our European neighbours for over 80 years. (In some sense, we’ve been going longer than the European Union itself). Our work is about networks and connectivity, be that via educators, scientists, students, young people, or artists. Filmmakers and the wider film community – both in the UK and internationally – form a vital part of that network. Whatever happens next with Brexit, our work connecting UK film to international audiences and counterparts, now looks even more important than it was before the momentous vote.

You can see the British Council’s own official statement on Brexit here – and read an open letter to the arts sector by our Head of Arts, Graham Sheffield, here .