Hmmm. We’ve been a bit slow to pick up on this, but we thought it was worth a mention. Remember the changes to the UK tax rules on British films? Well, the new system has now been announced. They state that if a film is classified as a British film, you can get 16% relief for large budget films and 20% for smaller budgets. As the Red Dwarf Movie budget is under £20 million, it would quality for the full 20%.

Oddly, though, in order to qualify, the Movie would have to pass a “Britishness test” – which sounds worryingly like the kind of thing people who bang on about immigration talk about. From Creative Industries Minister James Purnell:

“The new test operates around a points system that will focus on cultural content, cultural hubs and cultural practitioners… Films which score at least 50% of the total points available will be certified as British.”

Well, if anyone can tell me how that is supposed to work in any way fairly, let me know – seeing as “Britishness” can’t be tied down on paper. On the other hand, all this could perhaps work to Dwarf‘s advantage – the old system states that 70% of a film’s production costs has to be spent in the UK. If Dwarf can prove itself sufficiently British, then the production can bugger off to Australia, get more bang for their buck, and everyone’s happy.

How in Chist’s name you could work out the nationality of Kryten or Cat is anyone’s guess, mind you – and obviously the film won’t be mainly set in Britain. But who knows how much of Earth (and Britain?) we get to see in the Movie’s opening stages – and I can’t see that the film could be anything other than culturally very British indeed. But we might find a situation where in the Re-mastered series, elements were changed to appeal more to an American audience – but for all we know, the Movie script might be tailored slightly to be more British!

And, yes, this is a report based on complete ignorance. But when we last mentioned the changes to the tax breaks system, I said I didn’t know if it was relevant – it turned out from Doug’s DJ speech that it caused the funding for the Movie to fall through. So, I just thought I’d mention it…

27 comments on “New Film Tax Credits Announced

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  • I was always under the impression that the ‘nationality’ of a film depended on the studio producing it or the nationality of the funding source. e.g. Harry Potter, though filmed entirely in Britain and its cast comprising 90% of British actors (pedantists hold off for one second) is classified as a US production as it is produced by (and I’m pretty sure partly funded by as they own the rights) Warner Bros. I could be wrong but…*shrugs*.

  • “Britishness” is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It reminds me of those people who claim something is “Pythonesque,” despite the fact that they don’t know what esque means, and the only Python they’ve ever seen is The Holy Grail, after which they couldn’t stop twittering inanely on about how funny the coconuts were.

    I think the only way films should be able to qualify at all is if the script is actually any good. Trying to quantify “Britishness” is not a good idea.

  • Anything that brings things a step closer to a point where I can take a 1500 kilometre drive and stand outside some studio lot desperately hoping for a glimpse of one of the casts cars going past is good news indeed.

  • Not speaking for the Dwarf movie, but just in general – points systems usually work out simple enough. British lead actor? Writer? Director? All worth major points. Then it’s DP, composer, etc., other crew, other cast. All count for points, as will what percentage of the film you shoot in a UK studio, and what percentage you shoot in UK locations.

    Sounds like this has the extra weirdness of insisting on UK settings and characters WITHIN the diegesis. Which makes sense from a ‘promoting Britain abroad’ POV, and for encouraging filmmakers to side-step the old ‘generic city, but plenty of American accents’ thing.

    It has huge long-term benefits for the industry – we should be making mainstream movies, and the world should accept a British picture with the same ease as an American one. This’ll help; but in the sort-term a lot of people are going to have to decide if the tax break is worth the risk when they could, instead, hire Julia Roberts of Sam Jackson and guarantee a better international financial return.

  • I suppose you’re right, Andrew. I just hope it doesn’t lead to any sticky problems where something obviously deserves funding, but won’t get it. Admittedly, this could happen under any system – these things have to be defined somehow.

  • Sounds like this has the extra weirdness of insisting on UK settings and characters WITHIN the diegesis. Which makes sense from a ‘promoting Britain abroad’ POV, and for encouraging filmmakers to side-step the old ‘generic city, but plenty of American accents’ thing.

    And so the Red Dwarf Movie earns some flashback scenes in Liverpool, and a strange artificial reality section of the ship which seems *just* like a British town… ;)

  • I can’t see how they would do flashback to Liverpool because I’m sure it would look different in 200 years time or whatever. The budget would be massive to futurize it up, like how Hill Valley was cheesily futurized in Back To The Future 2.

  • “some flashback scenes in Liverpool,”

    Would have to be with Pete Best to be authentic though. Or before that, even.

  • Does anyone know whether there’ll be a box set of Wallace & Gromit stuff shortly after the Curse of the Were-Rabbit DVD comes out? Hope so. The one with the three shorts on is rubbish at the moment. And the sound is redone in some bits on The Wrong Trousers.

  • > And the sound is redone in some bits on The Wrong Trousers.

    That won’t change due to the rights issues.

  • ‘Happy Birthday to you’ has been replaced with ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’.

    ‘How Much is that Doggy in the Window?’ & ‘Happy Talk’ have been replaced with generic organ music.

    The BBC are clearly not willing to pay the rights to these tunes for a DVD that is clearly ‘just for kids’. Twats.

  • >I think you *could* do it, anyway. A matte painting here, a bit of CGI there, setting it in an older part of town…

    Or just do it indoors, like with the Aigburth Arms scenes in Ouroboros…

  • “Let’s go outside!”
    “No! You can’t!”
    “Why not?”
    “Erm… There’s a harmful toxin in the atmosphere. You’ll die instantly!”
    “What about all those other people walking about?”

  • Futuristic Liverpool wouldn’t be that hard fitting in with what we have seen of future Earth.

    In Timeslides both the pub and alterna-Listers mansion (and limo) look very present day. Just put a few futuristic vehicles on the road, a few extra skyscrapers in the background and there you go.

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