Monday, March 03, 2014

Sniffing Around for Free Money

In search of relief.

Film London, a publicly-funded agency that supports the film and TV biz in the U.K. capital, is hosting six animation execs from the U.S. this week.

The visit is part of the agency’s drive to encourage more international production to come to the city on the back of the introduction of the tax reliefs for high-end television and animation announced last year.

The visitors, who include senior reps from the Jim Henson Company, DreamWorks Animation, Amazon Studios, Frederator Networks, NBC Universal’s Sprout and Mattel’s Playground Productions, will take part in a three-day program designed to promote London’s animation sector.

The program includes one–to-one meetings with London animation houses, including Collingwood & Co., Blink Industries, Lupus Films and Karrot Entertainment, and presentations from Tony Orsten, the chief executive of motion-capture facility The Imaginarium (Warner’s “Godzilla”), and Alan Dewhurst, producer of “Peter and the Wolf,” which won the Academy Award for best short film in 2008.

The U.S. executives also have the opportunity to visit a range of animation and FX houses in the capital, including Blue-Zoo, Passion Pictures, Cinesite, Nexus Productions and Mind Candy.

The exec attending are Andrew Beecham, Sprout’s senior VP, programming; Marge Dean, Playground’s director, production; Peter Gal, DreamWorks Animation’s head of TV development; Blanca Lista, director of feature development at Jim Henson; Carrie Miller, network manager at Frederator Studios; and Tara Sorensen, head of kids programming at Amazon Studios. ...

Getting your cartoon company on the public dole is the name of today's game. Illumination Entertainment is in Paris, enjoying the government subsidies. Sony Picture Imageworks has decamped to Vancouver to breathe in the heady socialist atmosphere (and Canadian tax dollars). Blue Sky Studios gets its tax break from the State of Connecticut.

Britain is now offering public money for work performed in London. The current fad of waving cash at filmmakers to make them come and do their movie-making in your town or country is reaching new heights. I have no idea where it will end ... or when it will end.


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