Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Klara Bruveris, PhD student, UNSW Australia

Almost a week on from Brexit we have begun to see the ramifications of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, both financially and politically. Very little attention has been paid, however, to the effect this vote has had on the cultural industries in Britain.

Of course, any changes in the arts sector will occur gradually – yet it’s important to consider what the British government needs to do to support creativity and growth for the arts in a post-EU Britain. A comparison of the UK’s exit from the EU and the collapse of the Soviet Union is useful in demonstrating the possible impact of Brexit on the UK’s thriving film industry.

Firstly, the suggestion that there may be similarities between the EU and the Soviet Union could be considered controversial: the Soviet Union was created by annexation and colonial expansion; the EU is a partnership of nations based on peaceful and mutual integration.

image Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, poses with British PM Margaret Thatcher at Chequers on December 16, 1984. STR New/Reuters

The benefits of a network

Yet the cultural industries in general, and film in particular, have common elements of production and distribution. First of all, the Soviet states depended to a large extent on supranational funding from Moscow to cover production costs. British filmmakers are heavily reliant on funding from the EU’s Creative Europe/MEDIA program to develop and produce films. In 2014-2015, for example, Creative Europe invested US$31.5 million into the UK’s audiovisual sector.

On the distribution side, the Soviet satellite states created a vast cinema network with broad geographical and cultural reach. Similarly, through the EU’s Europa Cinemas Network, British filmmakers have access to over 900 cinemas across Europe, a hugely important market. In 2015, 41.5% of the export market for British films was the EU, with 6.5% in other non-EU European countries.

Soviet cinema was based on a highly integrated studio system that allowed talent from different countries to come together to work on films. The Soviet film Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967), for example, was a Russian-Ukrainian co-production, which used talent from Russia, Romania, Finland, Armenia and Ukraine.

image Natalya Varley as Nina in ‘Kidnapping, Caucasian Style’ (1967). Mosfilm

Likewise, the British film that recently won the Palme D’or at Cannes, Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake (2016), demonstrates the highly transnational nature of British film production. It is a British, French and Belgian co-production, with a creative team of British and French nationals, which received over US$200,000 for development and distribution from the Creative Europe/MEDIA program.

After the collapse

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the film industries of the satellite states lost the majority of their funding. The newly independent governments privatised the film industries, because it was an expense they simply couldn’t afford to support. This meant that Eastern European filmmakers had very little access to funding.

In turn, production studios shut down and talent moved to Western countries to seek employment. In Latvia, for example, production levels dropped to record lows. Only one feature film was produced in the first year of independence, compared to the ten-plus feature films produced each year under the Soviets.

image Dave Johns and Hayley Squires in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ (2016) eOne Films

Filmmakers also lost a far-reaching distribution network, leaving them with access to only national markets. In response, films became more nationalistic in content. National markets were too small to attract investors, and private film productions shrunk or vanished. Soviet filmmakers also lost opportunities to work with creative talent from other countries.

The parallels between the film industries of the Soviet Union and the EU suggest that a similar fate may await the British film industry once Brexit actually comes into play. The British government will need to ensure that the industry is never privatised and increase the industry funding provided through the tax relief and lottery programs, to make up for the funding lost from the EU.

The biggest impact will perhaps be in distribution. Britain is at risk of losing close to 50% of revenue from film exports. Fewer opportunities for British filmmakers in the UK may lead to an exodus of creative professionals from the country. That, in turn, could lead to a decline in not only production numbers, but also production quality. Market restrictions could also lead to the development of more nationalistic content and less investment from other corners of the globe, such as Hollywood.

These scenarios may seem far-fetched, but history has demonstrated otherwise.

The major player in revitalising the post-Soviet film industries was the EU, in the form of the Creative Europe/MEDIA program and the Europa Cinema Network. British filmmakers are at risk of losing access to these support networks and their funding, distribution opportunities and talent.

If the British government is not careful to protect the film industry in Britain, supporting it financially and helping it forge new transnational partnerships, we may see a dramatic decrease in production from the UK, as we did when the post-Soviet film industries lost their supranational support systems.

Authors: Klara Bruveris, PhD student, UNSW Australia

Read more http://theconversation.com/lessons-for-the-post-eu-british-film-industry-from-the-collapse-of-the-soviet-union-61795

Writers Wanted

Physical Therapist Talks About This New Massage Gun On The Block - The HYDRAGUN

arrow_forward

Too much information: the COVID work revolution has increased digital overload

arrow_forward

Ammonite: the remarkable real science of Mary Anning and her fossils

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co

4 Costly Mistake To Avoid When Subdividing Your Property

As a property developer or landowner, the first step in developing your land is subdividing it. You subdivide the property into several lots that you either rent, sell or award to shareholders. ...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion