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Resurgent Cannes: The 2024 Film Festival and the UK Independent Film Tax Credit

Now that the red carpet has been rolled away, it’s time to reflect on this year's Cannes film festival

12 Jun 2024

I’ve always seen the Cannes Film Festival as the close of the filmmaking calendar. Many filmmakers work tirelessly throughout the year to produce a film to sell or screen at Cannes. As an accountant, I feel that the work I do throughout the year is summed up when I get to Cannes. Whether that’s the number of meetings I have, the events I attend, or the familiar faces I see, Cannes is where I reflect on the past year and plan what it is I want to achieve in the year ahead.

Now that the red carpet has been rolled away and the swarms of elegantly dressed individuals clogging up the pavements have dispersed, it’s time to reflect on what can only be described as The Resurgent 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

For many, 2023 was the toughest year they have known, and this is supported by the statistics: the number of films released, the box office figures outside of the successes of Barbie, Mario, and Oppenheimer, and, most worryingly, the number of days people worked, or didn’t work.

So given this context, you might have expected Cannes 2024 to be a sombre affair. It was anything but – it felt alive, productive, and hopeful. From the UK side of the industry, this optimism can largely be attributed to the introduction of the new UK Independent Film Tax Credit (IFTC). Announced by The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget on March 7th, this tax credit allows filmmakers to claim back 31.8% of their core spend from the government, (up from 20%). The new IFTC was the source of much excitement, with many seeing it as a lifeline for the UK independent film industry, a chance to get their careers back on track and tell their stories.

The increased amount that can be claimed through the IFTC, traditionally would have had to be covered by gap financing or pre-sales – both extremely difficult and expensive to secure. IFTC has also meant that many producers, who previously couldn’t afford to shoot in the UK and had to find ways to move their production overseas, can now stay here. As Barbara Broccoli put it, “The support for independent filmmaking announced by the Prime Minister and Chancellor today is game-changing.”

This year at Cannes, the vibe amongst filmmakers was that the game is changing, and for the right reasons. Whilst it would be extremely naïve to assume that this one policy change is all that’s needed to reboot the industry and that everything will now be great, I can say that this enhanced tax credit is a ray of sunshine for the UK independent film industry. Only time will tell whether it’ll provide the impetus needed to allow people to return to work and breathe new life into an industry that is an essential part of British culture, economy, and arts.

Cannes 2024 will be memorable for the right reasons. However, it won’t be until Cannes 2025 that we’ll know for sure whether this newfound hopefulness was a sign of things to come or merely false optimism.

Find about how UK creative industry tax incentives work

Contact Samuel Ampah

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