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Pact teams up with Producers' Roundtable in proposing new guidelines for film producers

Pact has worked in association with the Producers’ Roundtable to propose new guidelines for change for film producers, after an industry survey revealed that UK independent filmmakers are typically making just £6,000 a year from their film producing work.

The UK Producers' Roundtable campaigns for better accessibility and sustainability for UK film producers. One hundred and forty-nine independent UK film producers were surveyed by them, with 75% of independent film producers who had made one to two feature films stating that they earned less than £6,000 a year over the past five years for their film producing work.

Other key findings include:

-    Of producers surveyed with five to ten feature films on their CV, 67% earned less than £15,000 a year over the past five years from producing those projects.

-    53% of independent film producers said they had given up their fee multiple times to get their films made, with 77% saying they had done this at least once.

-    30% of BAFTA nominated/winning independent film producers earned less than £10,000 over the past two years for their film producing work.

-    83% of independent film producers think being an indie producer in the UK today is not sustainable.

-    Of the producers surveyed, 31% attended private school, compared to 6.5% of people in the UK.

The survey respondents included BAFTA and BIFA nominees and award winners, Screen Stars of Tomorrow, BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, and BFI Vision Award recipients.

The Producers’ Roundtable, in association with Pact, has now released a set of guidelines to help protect emerging producers working in the UK film industry. The Producers’ Roundtable was formed by Loran Dunn of Delaval Film, Sophie Reynolds of SONA Films and Helen Simmons of Erebus Pictures after the trio repeatedly heard stories of their peers being forced to defer tiny producing fees, creating a financial barrier to entry.

Hakan Kousetta and Nicky Bentham, Co-Chairs of the Pact Film Policy Working Group said: “This research from the Producers Roundtable reinforces what we’ve known for a long time. The British indie film industry is not sustainable without a proper recognition of the value of the producer and Pact is strongly in favour of these industry-produced guidelines. For too long producers have been diminished and expected to have only the crumbs left on the table. If we want a diverse, inclusive and incentivised independent film sector then there needs to be a dramatic shift from the old attitudes."

The proposed new guidelines set out by the Producers’ Roundtable and Pact, which have been backed by BBC Films, the BFI and Film4 are:

1)  In order for production companies and producers to be able to sustain themselves, and the writers and directors they work with, we recommend the production fee on any film under £3m should be no less than 8% of the direct costs of production, to be divided between the producer(s) and production company(ies) as the lead producer sees fit.

2)  Deferral of producer fees for development or production should not be encouraged, endorsed or suggested by any financier or their representatives, and the Producers' Roundtable strongly encourages producers not to defer any of their fees, instead finding alternative solutions and savings within the budget. Most producers have already deferred their fees during the development of the project, and even successful features which find an audience are unlikely to see a return at the back end for the producer themselves, making fees pivotal.

3)  Given the importance of talent relationships and transparency across the board, as well as a need to not undermine the fundamental role of the producer, especially at an early stage of their career, the producer must be involved in all meetings and correspondence with the writer or director, pertaining to the shared project. Financiers must not meet with the writer or director, specifically about the shared project, except as organised and attended by the producer(s). This should be the case during the consideration of the project, during development and production, and during the project’s initial exploitation.

4)  No production financier may participate in net profits from the producer pool of net profits, even in the event of receiving a producer credit; this must be reserved only for the filmmakers.

5)  Given the importance of film festivals in promoting and selling a film, and in career progression for all filmmakers involved, it is vital that the producer of a film is supported in attending its premiere, equal to the director, especially as salaried executive producers are often paid to attend themselves. We therefore encourage sales agents to make sure the producer is always tied to the director in attendance of any international and UK premiere of the film, including their travel, accommodation and accreditation expenses. We hope financiers will also encourage and financially support this move.

We will continue to keep Pact members updated about this campaign and the application of the guidelines.

Download the full report:

Producers' Roundtable Report February 2020

For more information about the UK Producers' Roundtable, click here.