Monday, April 19News For London

‘British Only’: No longer enough for casting calls

What does Brexit mean for the film industry? 

The end of the Brexit transition period on 31st of December will change the way UK and EU screen operations run.

What about the Movement of People, Visas and Immigration? 

In the past, the UK’s TV and film industries have utilised the advantage of free movement, and thrived on this agreement. Discussions are still ongoing on whether UK nationals will have the ability to get short term work permits, for filming contracts. 

“My main concern lies with immigration,”  Sir William Sargent, the chief executive of leading VFX firm told the BFI (British Film industry): “We are a classic cluster – a European centre of excellence. If we mishandle immigration, we will damage that.”

Frank Spotnitz, CEO of Big Light Productions based in both London and Paris said to variety.com: “I think border control is likely to become more cumbersome, and potential delays for our pan-European team and cast may need to be factored into scheduling.”

According to actor Tom Durant Pritchard, who plays Prince Harry on ‘The Windsors’, this end to free movement may not affect high earning actors, but will greatly impact those trying to break into the industry as well as film crews, and worries about their futures in the British Film industry. 

Even the Number 1 watched show on Netflix UK ‘The Crown’ is partly filmed in the EU. The cast was flown to Spain, where they were able to work due without visa’s or permits as UK citizens, whereas in 2021, this is all going to change. 

Off the back of the casting call for Prince William in the new Diana Film starring Kristen Stewart, actors are now starting to worry only holding a British passport will bar them from roles that could change their future. 

Actor Scott Arthur of ‘Borg vs. McEnroe’ worries that new actors in the UK will have a harder time making the leap into more substantial roles, falling behind Americans. With EU countries offering substantial rebates for foreign films, UK talent will now be in direct conflict with big names in the United States, no longer having the advantage of right to work. 

The separation, however may be a double edged sword.

It was just announced that in 2021, Netflix must start declaring it’s UK Revenues to local tax authorities. economically, this may be quite a positive for the UK.

Its’ European headquarters being in the Netherlands, Netflix had channelled its revenues through there since 2012, but: “As Netflix continues to grow in the UK and in other international markets, we want our corporate structure to reflect this footprint,” said a company spokesman of the SVOD. 

“So from next year, revenue generated in the UK will be recognised in the UK, and we will pay corporate income tax accordingly.”

So, this shift may not cripple the economy in the UK, but may seriously damage the future of the UK’s Drama School Graduates, already struggling to break in.

The fate of the UK’s talent and industry personal, is in the hands of the government, as they negotiate the terms of the separation.