First off, it doesn’t matter whether you voted in or out, we’re not here to start a witch hunt so put those pitchforks away… Brexit is a big deal for the animation industry in Britain. With many varied production funds and support mechanisms for TV and film production from the EU in place up until recently for the UK, the impact is bound to be felt soon. But what exactly does it mean?
Keep calm and… you get it
It can be easy to read the headlines and nurture a growing sense of dread. With creative industries backing remain pretty soundly, it’s hard to see the bright side through all the knee-jerk, blind panic of the biggest voices out there.
The debate tore up families, split offices and got pretty nasty in all honesty, so let’s take a deep breath, keep hold of that passion, and divert it towards nurturing Britain during this unprecedented transition.
Opportunities to be seized
The savings on the EU budget contribution are less than the leave campaign claimed, yes, but they are real. Ignore the slogan on the side of that flippin’ bus for a minute and consider that this money is now at the disposal of the British government and its people. It could very well be diverted towards the UK’s creative industry, especially because the Prime Minister spoke of the sector as a strategic priority for economic growth during her party conference speech.
As this newly allocated funding would be internal, the creative industry would no longer be bound by EU ‘State Aid’ rules that dictate how government subsidies and other incentives are applied. The British government could simply see the value in our creative sector and set up more attractive incentives than the rest of Europe.
It is up to the creative industries to work with government in this critical time to develop new, focused business and investment programmes to support the sector. One such group that has mobilised quickly and rationally has been the Creative Industries Federation who have hosted a number of strategy meetings and published an impressive report regarding the future of animation and other creative industries in a Britain out of the EU. These guys get it, they have weighed up what stands to be lost from Brexit and thoughtfully drawn up certain decisions that must be made in order for the UK arts industry to thrive.
John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation has said that:
“It will be vital for all sides to work together to ensure that the interests of our sector on issues including access to funding and talent are safeguarded as the UK forges its new relationship with Europe. The importance of British culture in representing our country to the world will be greater than ever”
Many bemoaned the loss of Creative Europe as a funding source yet in the regulation establishing the programme, it stipulates that countries other than EU Member States may still participate. That’s gonna be us, baby!
Another such avenue to pursue would be cities of culture initiatives. You might remember one of these being held by Liverpool in 2008. Even outside of the EU, it is vital that Britain shows the rest of Europe what it’s got culturally. After all, Non EU countries such as Norway and Iceland have both hosted the European Capital of Culture before and there’s no reason that the UK will be excluded during its next host year of 2023. The lengthy planning process would make it a massive faff for the EU to pull the plug on it now, anyway. Potential candidate cities are Bristol, Dundee, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Truro so we’re still pretty pumped for this one.
British productions have a reputation of quality
It’s all well and good saying that the British government should continue to uphold the same level of funding that has been enjoyed by the UK arts sector by EU means, but why should they?
Well, the creative industries are the UK’s fastest growing economic sector for a reason. We have beaten many other sectors in our contribution towards the growth of our country’s economy for many years now. Our film, television, video games, music, design, fashion and publishing are world renowned. Not to mention that the hundreds of theatres, galleries and museums coupled with our rich cultural heritage are major reasons for people to visit this country and they contribute significantly to wider inward investment.
All of this helps to establish our globally recognised brand of creative quality and is a key incentive for future success and employment. The creative industries give the UK its competitive edge. An edge that comes as a consequence of being open and international. Self-regulation will foster this edge noticeably. We will continue to be in demand, regardless of the club we’re in, due to the renown and quality of our product.
Close the border?
Many people have this image of a drawbridge across the ‘moat’ of the channel being triumphantly (or unfortunately) hoisted up for good, this won’t be the case as immigration will still be a major factor in the future of this country. The days where a VFX artist can be flown out from Finland to be here in time for a vital sequence on the same day may be a bit trickier to achieve but rational and planned out migration of skilled workers will still occur.
What’s more, the falling value of the pound might sound like a lose-lose situation but just consider that this is an extra incentive for travellers all around the globe to visit Britain for its culture and give us a hefty injection of their foreign cash! This also makes it cheaper for Hollywood and European productions to shoot in the UK in the long-term, bringing a load more jobs for creatives to the UK from foreign sources.
The quality of British creative productions coupled with new schemes adopted by the government plus a newfound independence and control over regulation will ensure that our arts industries remain a major contributor to the growth of our country. Animation will always have a massive role to play and you can be sure that Fudge will continue to ensure this in the future.