The UK film and TV sector now looks certain to crash out of the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme after the country withdraws from the EU on December 31 following the publication of the government’s negotiation priorities today (February 27).
No mention is made of Creative Media in the policy paper called ‘Our approach to the Future Relationship with the EU’ that details the UK’s’ Approach To Negotiations’.
This means renewing membership of the next MEDIA programme, which runs 2021-2027, will not be part of the Brexit negotiations.
The UK film and TV sector is now looking for the UK government to provide replacement funding and to ensure the sector is not worse off than it is now.
As recently as last week the British Film Institute (BFI) had made it clear the UK remaining as part of Creative Europe was one of its main strategic priorities post-Brexit.
“This is not the outcome we hoped for but the BFI will now work very hard with the government to look at what is the best way to go forward,” said a BFI spokesperson.
In recent years Creative Europe has provided slate funding for many UK production companies as well as supporting UK sales companies, distributors and exhibitors. The 2018 ‘Creative Europe In The UK’ report, calculated €74m ($87m) had been awarded to 334 UK-based organisations and companies and has helped to distribute 145 UK films in other European countries since 2014 - and there have been many further awards since then.
Responding to today’s news, John McVay, chief executive of Pact, the trade association representing the interests of the UK’s independent media companies, has called on the government to make sure that the sector doesn’t lose out.
“Since the 2016 referendum, myself and many others across the creative industries have been trying to ascertain from various governments what the position would be on the various European programmes that we benefit from,” McVay said. “We have asked but never received what is the total investment that we used to give to Europe that came back directly or indirectly into the creative industries.”
Thus far, this figure hasn’t been confirmed. “We have been told that DCMS does know what that number is but they’ve never published it.”
Film and TV remain one of the most important parts of the UK’s currently booming creative industries. McVay has called for the UK government to guarantee “money that should be getting re-invested to support the range of activities is invested - and isn’t just then used to create a new railway somewhere, as important as that is. There shouldn’t be a loss to the creative industries because without the creative industries, UK GDP would have been negative last year”.
“I’ve never been wedded personally to whether it is called Creative Europe or Creative Britain provided that the outcomes and investment do what we need to do to remain a competitive, attractive and successful audio-visual economy,” McVay said.