UK film production soared in 1999 with 114 films shot by local outfits or with a British partner in the UK or abroad, compared to just 78 the previous year.
The number of wholly-UK funded films rose to 58 from 42 in 1998 and includes Sundance competitors New Year's Day (Imagine Films and Flashpoint Films) and Saving Grace (Portman Entertainment and Sky Pictures), as well as There's Only One Jimmy Grimble, a footballing comedy produced by Sarah Radclyffe Production and Impact Pictures, with backing from the Arts Council of England (ACE) and Pathe Distribution.
However, the major increase came from films in the privately-backed micro-budget arena with 28 made, up from just 16 the year before. Micro-budget titles are produced for less than £1m, with no international sales agent attached, and have little chance of a theatrical release, in the UK or elsewhere.
The average budget of a wholly-British film produced outside this sector rose slightly in 1999 to £3m, up from £2.5m in 1998. The only notable exceptions were Love's Labour's Lost and Whatever Happened To Harold Smith' both backed by Intermedia Films and both of which still came in at under £10m.
FilmFour and BBC Films continue to be the most prolific local film financiers with FilmFour investing in 11 films to the tune of approximately £33m, and the BBC in eight with about £10m.
The number of UK/US collaborations rose in 1999 to 24 from 13 in 1998, led by Miramax's investment in such British films as Never Better, Birthday Girl, The Golden Bowl and About Adam.
British and European co-productions hit 21 during 1999 from 11 the previous year, with France's Canal Plus leading the pack with stakes in Working Title's The Man Who Cried, Dragon Pictures' Untitled Sara Sugarman Project, and Renegade Films' Room To Rent, a co-production with the lottery-backed mini-studio The Film Consortium.
The one big down-turn of 1999 was in the number of high-budget US films shooting in the UK, which was down to five from 11 in 1998. The downturn was largely due to the UK/US project from Eon Productions' The World Is Not Enough occupying Pinewood Studios for the first half of the year.