To qualify as a British Film, a film must be certified as such by the DCMS under the Films Act 1985 (as amended). There is presently no method available to obtain certification prior to completion of a film. In certain circumstances, the acquisition of film rights by the partnership may take place prior to certification being issued if, either: (i) satisfactory evidence has been provided that the film will clearly qualify as a British Film; or (ii) security, in the form of a policy of insurance issued by a completion bond company covering such risk, is obtained in favour of the partnership to be held pending final determination by the DCMS that the film qualifies as a British Film. In general terms, a British Film is a film where:
• the producer was, throughout the time that the film was being made, a person ordinarily resident in or a company registered and centrally managed and controlled in a state of European Economic Area which is a member of the EU (EU member countries are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and UK) or the EEA (European Economic Area - Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or with which the EC has signed an association agreement (Bulgaria and Romania have associated agreements with the EC); and
• at least 70 per cent of the total expenditure incurred in the production of a film was spent on film production activity carried out in the UK; and
• the requisite amount of labour costs represent payments in respect of the labour or services of Commonwealth or European Union citizens, or persons ordinarily resident in a country in the Commonwealth or the European Union (the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not part of the UK or part of the EU/EEA for the purposes of Schedule 1. They are part of the Commonwealth. Their citizens are EU nationals; persons ordinarily resident there are ordinarily resident in the Commonwealth).
The percentage of labour costs paid, or payable, to citizens or ordinary residents of a Commonwealth country or member state must be the lesser of:
• at least 70 per cent of the total labour costs after deducting the cost of one non-Commonwealth/member state citizen or ordinary resident; or at least 75 per cent of the total labour cost after deducting the cost of two non-Commonwealth/ member state citizens or ordinary residents, one of whom must be an actor in the film.
Also eligible for relief are films produced under the terms of an official co-production treaty between the UK and another country or under the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production (ETS No. 147). Films produced under such treaties represent a growing proportion of British qualifying films.
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