Andy Paterson Annalise Davis

Source: Screen file

Andy Paterson, Annalise Davis

Tim Richards’ Vue, Europe’s largest privately owned cinema operator, is teaming with UK producers Andy Paterson and Annalise Davis, and virtual production outfit Dimension Studios, to form Virtual Circle, to deliver a slate of £5m-£15m UK films. Vue will directly release the films into cinemas.

Virtual Circle has been set up in response to the new 40% Independent Film Tax Credit (IFTC); the first two films, 2040 and Campbeltown ‘69, are expected to shoot this summer.

The aim is to use virtual production to “bring additional scale” to the films, said Davis.

“Script always comes first but at Virtual Circle, we can explore a new world of storytelling possibilities,” she added. Her credits include Up There and No Way Up.

“We are delighted to be working with Andy, Annalise and Dimension Studios to enable end-to-end production from script to screen and help ensure that more high-quality British and independent movies are brought to our screens, reaching and entertaining more audiences than ever before,” said Vue founder and CEO Richards  of the partnership.

Paterson, whose credits include Girl With A Pearl Earring and The Railway Man was one of the key figures along with  Pact, the BFI and others in the campaign for the introduction of the 40% tax credit for indie producers. The process began at Bafta in 2017 after Pact commissioned a report from Olsberg in 2016 on the parlous state of the independent film industry in the UK.  

The new venture comes in response to Vue founder and CEO Richards asking at an industry event, “What happened to independent British films of scale?”  Vue has recently had success with the direct distribution of Italy’s There’s Still Tomorrow and is planning further foreign-language acquisitions.

Paterson declined to reveal what exact role Vue will have in the films, including  whether or not Vue will be directly involved in financing and producing. He did confirm, however, “it is fair to say that we will not be looking for UK distributors for these films.” 

“I am not going to too deep under the hood of it generally except to say that all the partners are very excited about working together on this but if a film is working theatrically, we will be very, very happy for it to go to any cinema that wants it,” Paterson said.