FMX: Brexit Concern Surfaces on European VFX Panel

Speakers at the Stuttgart, Germany, panel also talked about the lack of a tax credit system in the country.
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MFG managing director Carl Bergengruen

Making certain that Europe’s visa policy, in the wake of Brexit, continues to ensure that EU artists can work in the U.K. is top priority for Neil Hatton, CEO of the U.K. Screen Alliance, which represents the interests of film and TV studios, postproduction, visual effects and animation.

“The visa policy is going to change,” he said Thursday at VFX confab FMX in Stuttgart, Germany. “We have to make sure it works for the U.K. and it's affordable. We need to make sure EU artists can stay.”

Also noting that film and TV work in the U.K. is at an all-time high (and could go higher), Hatton added, “There’s a lot of rubbish being talked about, but it’s going to be okay. We may go downhill for a little while, but will come up again.”

During a session on VFX in Europe, speakers including Hatton also discussed tax subsidies and incentives and how they are impacting the business.

“I would prefer if they weren’t any subsidies, but that will never happen,” admitted Carl Bergengruen, managing director of MFG, which maintains a film fund in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. “The Hollywood studios are so interested. You have to play the game.”

Michael Coldewey, founder of Munich-headquartered VFX and animation company Trixter, noted that Germany doesn’t have a tax credit system. “That’s a problem," he said. "I can’t go to Hollywood and offer tax credits. In this race, some countries are doing better than others. I hope in Germany it will change and we get a tax credit system.”

“It’s an investment, it's not a handout,” Hatton asserted, saying that U.K. tax credits “pay back handsomely” by bringing in roughly 12 pounds for each pound invested.

Gilles Gaillard, managing director of Mikros Image and Technicolor postproduction services in France, cited a growing need for collaboration and collaborative tools as multiple facilities in different cities and countries work on a single film.

And to that end, Raphael Keller, director for innovation, video and technical industries for French national film agency CNC, reported, “At the CNC, we are thinking about encouraging collaboration between companies through subsidies.”