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Berlin was buzzing, so get ready for a vibrant Cannes.

In recent years the film industry has had its challenges - Cannes should be a lively festival as film makers seek out opportunities.

6 Mar 2024

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If my experience in Berlin is anything to go by, I think we are on for one of the best and biggest Cannes Film Festivals yet. Let me explain why.

The European Film Market in Berlin last month saw record attendance, with over 12,000 visitors from 143 countries. There was a post-strike buzz in the air, which was cultivated by a mix of relief and a touch of desperation amongst many filmmakers eager to return to what they do best – making films.

In recent years, the film industry, particularly the UK independent sector, has been dogged by severe challenges. Throughout the festival, a common theme dominated discussions: ‘How do you finance an independent film in 2024?’ Traditional financing routes such as Pre-sales, GAP, and Equity seemed non-existent. The struggle to secure the final 20-30% of financing echoed through the Marriott lobby. The financial hardships, exacerbated by the pandemic and recent strikes in the US, have led many to question the viability of the industry.

A recent report by BECTU unveiled the stark reality of the UK film and TV industry, with 68% of respondents currently unemployed, 88% concerned about their financial security in the next six months, and 37% contemplating leaving the industry in the next five years. The situation seems critical, prompting calls for government intervention to support the UK independent film market.

The UK screen sector trade body PACT has urged the government to introduce a 30-40% tax credit for UK films with a budget between £2m-10M, aiming to de-risk investments and diversify the content pipeline. Whether the government will heed these recommendations in an election year and given the current economic climate remains uncertain. Despite recent initiatives like AVEC, the material increase in Children’s TV & Animation tax relief, and a consultations on introducing VFX tax credits, many argue that these measures fall short of what is really needed to safeguard the industry’s future.

As the industry faces a crisis, Cannes 2024 is seen by many as the final push. This annual gathering has always been an opportunity for filmmakers to get to meet with the people crucial for financing their productions. It’s a two-way street, with distributors, studios, and financiers needing new content, and filmmakers needing their support. This sequence of events means that this year’s Marché du Film is set to be the biggest ever, offering many productions what might be their final chance to secure funding.

I’m looking forward to being part of a team of Alliotts Media Advisors who’ll be in Cannes meeting up with and talk to production companies about UK government incentives including UK film tax reliefs,  AVEC and Children’s TV & Animation tax relief.

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