Pact proposes change to public funding models

To push recoupment of film investments back to producers

LONDON -- Pact, the U.K. trade body for independent producers, is proposing a radical shakeup for public funding of local movie production, with proposals to push recoupment of investments to producers, rather than back the funding bodies such as the U.K. Film Council, BBC Films or Film4.

Pact said Friday it wants to let producers -- not the U.K. Film Council, regional agencies or broadcasters -- recoup public investment of funds in their films, to put that money back in the producer's future projects.

A report "A New Business Model for U.K. Film," by consultancy Olsberg SPI for Pact, details ways to make independent producers less dependent on public funding by creating the environment for production companies as entrepreneurial vehicles with more diverse business models.

Key proposals in the report include a new deal structure with terms including a reduction in the length of the license period to five years and a new "use it or lose it" provision where rights revert to the producer if the broadcaster is not using them.

Pact chief executive John McVay said: "This is not about seeking more funds. It is concerned with using what is already on the table to create organic growth: growth that is based upon success rather than subsidy. For too long the sustainability of the film production sector has remained an elusive goal, but it's a crucial goal and one we believe is achievable if film producers are given the opportunity to share in the success if their film does well."

Pact notes that more than $154m is invested by public sources into U.K. film production each year, yet because of current business models, producers of even very successful films struggle to share in revenues from hit films, to build a sustainable business long-term.

The proposals are designed to raise eyebrows at the U.K. Film Council, regional funding bodies, Film4 and BBC Films who are being asked to give up their current recoupment positions to hand over 100% recoupment of invested funds in films to producers.

The U.K. Film Council recently moved towards a 30% producer corridor on recoupments but these proposals go much further.