India is the most prolific film-producing nation in the world, according to the latest research figures.

During 2008, 1,325 Indian feature films were classified for theatrical release - which is more than double the number produced in North America, and almost exceeds the total for both Western and Eastern Europe combined - according to new figures from Screen Digest (the research company uses data from India’s Central Film Board of Classification in lieu of actual data on productions).

Film production in Western Europe was marginally up year-on-year, from 1,102 in 2007 to 1,122 last year, driven by France, Italy and Spain. France is the biggest film-producing country in the region, making 240 films in 2008, including the hit spy comedy OSS 117 - Lost In Rio, compared to 228 in 2007.

Meanwhile, UK production continued to fall from its recent high of 175 in 2003, down to 111 in 2008 including 66 wholly local films. The fall is attributed to the reduction in co-productions - with just 20 made for a total $78.8m (£48m) in 2008 down by eight from the previous year - and international investment projects, largely from Hollywood (27 in 2007 to 16 in 2008). The number of UK productions remains steady with 68 in 2007.

North American production levels fell in 2008 to 601 titles, due to lower output from both the US and Canada. The year marked the fourth annual fall in feature output from North America - down from 821 films produced in 2005.
There was a notable downturn in production in the US of 20.7%, mostly due to the financial crisis and the writers’ strike - 520 films were made in 2008.

The strike began in late 2007 and lasted until late February 2008, which affected production at the time although the repercussions have been felt for longer, particularly given the lead times for producing films.

Canada experienced one of the largest drops of any major co-producing territory in 2008, with total feature production down from 111 to just 81, including co-productions.

Feature production dropped slightly in South America, due to the decrease in Brazil, the region’s largest producer, from 117 to 90 features in 2008. This was slightly offset by the growth in annual features from smaller Latin American territories, such as Chile and Venezuela.

In Asia - despite a sharp increase in titles from the largest regional producer, India, including Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6 - total feature production held relatively steady across the region, compounded by a small decline in the Far East and, in particular, South Korea.

These changes are set against the background of a 3% drop in global film production in 2008. There were 5,133 films produced globally in 2008 (although data is not available from two significant territories, Iran and Bangladesh). While key territories have held firm, Screen Digest believes there are signs the global film-production sector has reached a peak, as have some of the key production territories.

Top most prolific film-producing nations

This data is taken from the global film-production profile in the July issue of Screen Digest

South Korea124113
Hong Kong5053