British Film Industry

"Every memorable achievement to come out of the UK cinema since the war 
has come out of someone's desire to say something, not to sell it" 
(Roddick, 1999)

What Makes a Film British?

The British Film Institute defines British films under four categories:-
  1. an entirely British film, funded by UK finance and staffed by a majority of British personnel
  2. a film majority UK-funded
  3. a co-funded film
  4. US films with some creative input from the UK
The BFI gives a film official British status for the purposes of receiving tax relief if it passes a "cultural test" or is a co-production between the UK and another approved country. Qualifying your film as British under the cultural test for film is the gateway to accessing the UK film tax relief and is one of the criteria to apply to the BFI Film Fund.

 A  Cultural Content  
 A1  Film set in the UK or EEA  4
 A2  Lead characters British or EEA citizens or residents  4
 A3  Film based on British or EEA subject matter or underlying material 6
 A4  Original dialogue recorded mainly in English or UK indigenous language or EEA language 6
 B  Cultural Contribution  
   The film demonstrates British creativity, British heritage and/or diversity 4
    C  Cultural Hubs  
C1  (a) At least 50% of the principal photography or SFX takes place in the UK  2
   (b) At least 50% of the VFX takes place in the UK  2
   (c) An extra 2 points can be awarded if at least 80% of principal photography or VFX or SFX takes place in the UK  2
 C2   Music Recording/Audio Post Production/Picture Post Production                          1
   TOTAL SECTION C (Maximum 4 points in total in C1)  5
 D  Cultural Practitioners (UK or EEA citizens or residents)  1
 D1  Director  1
 D2  Scriptwriter  1
 D3  Producer  1
 D4  Composer  1
 D5  Lead Actors  1
 D6  Majority of Cast  1
 D7  Key Staff (lead cinematographer, lead production designer, lead costume designer, lead editor, lead sound designer, lead visual effects supervisor, lead hair and makeup supervisor)  1
 D8  Majority of Crew  1

The Burden of Representation

With our shared language, and as a tiny collective by comparison, the impulse to 'sell something' rather than 'say something' and aim for the international US market cannot be ignored.

The history of social realist British film can weigh on the shoulders of new film-makers and producers. This is the 'burden of responsibility' - stay 'true' to social realist roots, or appeal to the mass market? 'Say' or 'sell'?

Looking at Social Realist Theory and films exploring the changing nature of Britain due to immigration, we can examine how cinema has tried to address the 'burden of responsibility' in more or less commercially 'translatable' ways.