Delivering the keynote address at the 10th annual Film London Production Finance Market this morning in England’s capital, StudioCanal UK chief Danny Perkins warned of a tough climate for British independent productions following the Brexit vote in August. As Prime Minister Theresa May strategizes an exit for Britain from the European Union, and as sterling continues to tumble in the currency markets, Brindies will struggle internationally, he said, whilst the increased buying power of the dollar will give American productions further incentive to come to the UK.
“It feeds into having less control and putting things in the hands of big international companies who can exploit the fluctuations in the currency,” Perkins said. “Indie film works on isolated territories. If we were only buying films for the UK, American films would be more expensive than ever. If we were only producing low budget British films, those numbers would go down purely on currency.”
Perkins said StudioCanal UK was shielded from the impact of Brexit thanks to its European parent company Vivendi, and that chiefs at the multinational weren’t perturbed by the shifting landscape. “Vivendi is a powerful media group, and Universal Music Group [headquartered in the UK] is a big part of that,” Perkins noted. “The message I’ve had all the way to the top of Vivendi is that it won’t change anything. They see the UK as a real, creative part of Vivendi, because there’s so much talent here.”
Vivendi, he said, saw the UK arm of StudioCanal as a key content driver for English-language content, and that would continue. StudioCanal UK is readying to move into new offices in King’s Cross alongside UMG in 2018, offering further proof of Vivendi’s confidence.
But speaking of StudioCanal UK’s biggest production hit, Paddington, Perkins joked, “We failed, really… It’s about an immigrant who comes to the UK and is welcomed with open arms. So many people bought the DVD, and not enough of them took that message to heart.” Paddington 2, he hinted, would be about community, where its predecessor was about family. “We’ll keep at it, and hopefully the message will get through one day.”