Boris Johnson hoping to boost film making in the capital

Mayor Boris Johnson is hoping to give London’s economy a boost with an infusion of film-making. He is encouraging the film industry to take advantage of high-tech capabilities for the production of new films and television shows that feature cutting edge special effects, animation and camera work, which arguably is almost all of them.

The Mayor has been campaigning for the film industry to increase its London productions as one way of bringing jobs and money to the nation’s capital. London is already ranked third in the world for film-making after Los Angeles and New York, according to Film London; Mr. Johnson would like to make it the leader. To facilitate that goal, he has increased the tax relief incentive for the industry and announced a £750,000 investment of cash to Film London, the agency supporting UK films.

Last year the Mayor spent some time in India’s film-making capital, Mumbai, where he met with producers and film-makers to promote London as an ideal site for the production of new films. More than one highly successful Indian film including Housefull 3 has been filmed entirely in London, and Johnson said he wanted to “make it as easy as possible to film in the city” and to take advantage of London’s top quality post-production facilities.

Just last month we heard of another infusion of foreign currency in the UK’s film industry, in this case Arabic, with London-based Gulf Atlantic Pictures announcing it’s working with Bahrain’s Economic Development Board on a tax rebate scheme for companies that want to make films in the UK.

James Black, Executive Producer for Gulf Atlantic, explained that the UK has a rebate system in place as incentive for film companies from abroad to bring their productions to England. He said, “The UK has a 20 per cent film tax credit, meaning a film completely shot in the UK on a 10 million pound budget gets two million back from the government.”

This sort of incentive, not to mention Mayor Johnson’s enthusiasm for the potential of film-making to bring in substantial revenue and create jobs, may be a sign of the times. Londoners are already used to film crews shooting here and there on just about any day; others in less film-familiar locales may have to start adjusting to the idea as well.