Working Title, See-Saw, Number 9, Lord Puttnam among signatories of letter arguing to remain in the EU.
Heavyweight figures in the film and TV business, including Lord Puttnam and Working Title boss Tim Bevan, have come together to support Britain remaining in the European Union.
Full letter below
Some 23 major producers have co-signed a letter to industry, arguing that remaining in the EU was the “right thing to do for our industry”.
The King’s Speech and Top Of The Lake producer Iain Canning, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, Big Talk’s Nira Park, Slumdog Millionaire producer Christian Colson and Monumnetal duo Debra Hayward and Alison Owen, have all signed the letter.
They highlighted that the EU’s MEDIA and Creative Europe Programme had delivered £100m to UK producers in the past 10 years, which has helped support thousands of creative and technical jobs nationwide.
They noted that one benefit of being a member of the EU was that producers were not subject to quotas or taxes and that equipment travels “carnet free”.
“Being in the EU means that our feature films, our television programmes and our games can travel far more easily across borders because they are not subject to quotas or taxes of any kind in Europe,” they added.
“This significantly increases the earnings of UK audiovisual companies helping them to grow their businesses and to employ far more people on film and TV sets, in special effects houses, in games development, in cinemas and right across all of our industries.”
They concluded that both Conservative and Labour governments over the past 20 years had helped build the TV and film industry into a “global powerhouse” and a vote to remain would allow this to continue.
The group is the latest to come out in favour of a remain vote following similar remarks from Pact, Animation UK and UK production group Argonon.
Vocal writers, actors and directors supporting the Remain campaign include J.K. Rowling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and Mike Leigh.
This week the Creative Industries Federation, whose 200 members include Fox, Aardman, Lionsgate, Channel4, NBC Universal and Disney, said that according to a recent survey of its members 96% backed Remain for reasons ranging from freedom of movement of talent to ERDF and other EU funding and the desire to be at the table for crucial IP negotiations.
Film and TV luminaries expected to vote Leave include Sir Michael Caine, John Cleese and Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes.
UK film and TV producers letter to industry:
When it comes to such a huge issue as this week’s Euro referendum, there are any number of personal fears and ambitions that determine which way one votes. It’s not for us to attempt to answer any of them but we would like to set out our reasons as to why we believe staying in Europe is the right thing to do for our industry and for the future jobs and opportunities that come with it.
So, in the hope we can persuade you to support our current, thriving creative industries, here is our ‘pitch’.
· The UK is part of the EU’s MEDIA/Creative Europe Programme which
provides significant funding to our film, television and games industries each year. Between 2007 and 2015 our industry benefited from almost €130 million provided by this programme. Without this, many of the regional production funds across the UK would not have the resources they currently have. This money has helped to support thousands of highly skilled creative and technical jobs and film and television companies nationwide. This money also helps ensure that audiences across Britain can enjoy a rich and varied diet of films at the cinema and on the small screen which they might not otherwise see.
· Being in the EU means that our feature films, our television programmes and our games can travel far more easily across borders because they are not subject to quotas or taxes of any kind in Europe. This significantly increases the earnings of UK audiovisual companies helping them to grow their businesses and to employ far more people on film & TV sets, in special effects houses, in games development, in cinemas and right across all of our industries.
· At present, British film and television crews, actors, vfx artists, games programmers, writers and directors can all work in other European countries without a work permit and all equipment travels “carnet” free. (For those of us that remember the horror of carnets the idea of having them back in our lives is a terrifying thought!). All of this would be at risk if we were to leave.
· Having a seat at the table in Europe enables us to help ensure that EU policies make a positive contribution to jobs in the film and television sectors and across all the manufacturing and service industries which support them. For example, having a voice at the negotiating table is helping the UK to prevent changes in copyright law, which could have a detrimental effect on the ability to finance films and television programmes.
· All of these benefits have helped ensure that the UK has the fastest growing creative industry sector in Europe. The number of jobs in the UK’s Creative Industries increased by 5.5 per cent between 2013 and 2014 to 1.8 million jobs and the sector was worth £84 billion to the UK economy in 2014.
Hopefully some of this information might be useful for you to consider voting ‘in’ and continue the great work that, for the past twenty years, both Conservative and Labour governments have done to help build our industry into the global powerhouse it currently is.
Yours very sincerely,
Michael G. Wilson
A version of this article first appeared on Screen’s sister publication Broadcast.