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Friday, 27 August, 1999, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Boost for British film industry
Made in Britain: The new rules are designed to boost the UK film industry
New rules governing what can be called a British film are now in force. The intention is to provide a boost to the UK movie industry.

The changes come a day after it was revealed Notting Hill had become the most successful British movie of all time at the box office.

The previous definition of a British film meant productions could be counted as British even if they were largely shot outside the UK.

Now a film will count as British only if more than 70% of its budget is spent in the UK and more than 70% of its payroll costs goes to European and Commonwealth talent.

The changes will mean mid-budget films will find it easier to qualify for tax breaks. Films costing less than 15m can write off 100% of their production costs in the first year against tax.

Encourage investment

Little Voice stars Jane Horrocks and Ewan McGregor: Not a British film
The government also wants to encourage more investment in the UK film industry by backing the increasing number of international co-productions.

Under the old rules, films were not classified as British if they used too much music that was not recorded in the UK . So, the "British" classification was denied to films such as Little Voice - which starred many of Britain's top actors, including Brenda Blethyn, Michael Caine, Jane Horrocks and Ewan McGregor.

That would change under the new rules - which can also be altered to allow for Hollywood stars to be drafted in to improve a film's chances of success.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: "The changes bring the system more into line with the realities of modern film-making, and are aimed at helping attract investment in British film."

The British film industry employs 33,000 people, and is worth 900m a year.

The BBC's Madeleine Holt reports on what makes a film British
See also:

22 Mar 99 | e-cyclopedia
Brit flicks: But are they really British?
07 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Boost for children's films
19 Mar 99 | The Oscars 1999
The Brits take on Hollywood
27 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Notting Hill breaks film record
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