The Fight for the Future: Supporting UK Indie Films Amid Global Goliaths

12 March 2024 | 6 min read

Author: Rob Quinn, CEO



As the glitz of the Oscars fades, a deeper concern for the survival of UK independent cinema sparks a call to action.


A Night of Reflections and Concerns
This weekend’s Oscars, with Oppenheimer sweeping seven awards, including Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, Best Director and Best Picture, was a celebration of cinematic brilliance. While applauding this masterpiece by Universal Pictures, I couldn’t help but dwell on the future of UK indie films, sparked by a recent Guardian article featuring Bafta-winner Rebecca O’Brien’s potent warning.


The Crucial Call for Support
O’Brien’s testimony before the Culture, Media & Sport Committee painted a stark picture of a sector at risk. She said: “There’s market failure because the streamers came in, high-end TV got higher end, and Hollywood arrived, and they took a lot of our investors away. Some additional fiscal support for the sector is essential. I think we could really die without it.”


Her words suggest that the unique voice of UK indie films faces a dire threat. The legacy of films like Trainspotting, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, and I, Daniel Blake, underscores a rich pedigree we can’t afford to lose.


The Indie Film’s Battle
O’Brien’s insights highlight a concerning trend: our fantastic talent, lured by lucrative opportunities elsewhere, leaves our indie scene vulnerable. The battle isn’t just about preserving a cultural heritage; it’s about retaining and nurturing the exceptional talent the UK is known for, from directors and actors to the critical behind-the-scenes crew.


A Ray of Hope
Amid these challenges, recent developments offer a glimmer of hope. The March 2024 budget introduced an ‘indie tax credit’, offering up to 40% tax relief for films budgeted under £15 million. This initiative could be one of the lifelines our indie sector needs, potentially birthing the next global indie phenomenon from the UK.


Moreover, the ambitious plans by UK-based global entertainment company Fullwell 73 and private British investment firm Cain International to establish Crown Works Studios in Sunderland signal a significant investment in our creative infrastructure, promising thousands of jobs and a vibrant new hub for filmmaking. These exciting plans are described by local leaders as “the single most significant development announcement to come out of the North East in decades”.


Our Collective Responsibility
Yet, as Rebecca O’Brien rightly points out, we must keep fighting. Thanks to fast-changing currents in the global entertainment ocean, the British indie film sector requires ongoing, innovative support from both industry and the government. It’s about harnessing our collective will to ensure the British filmmaking sector survives and thrives.


At BAND, our commitment to the UK’s creative industries is unwavering. We understand the intricacies of creative industries’ tax relief and are here to guide those navigating this landscape. We believe that the UK’s indie films can – and will – stand tall on the global stage.


The Future of British Indie Films
So, as we celebrate cinematic achievements, let’s also commit to championing the underdog. The British indie film sector has the heritage, the potential, the talent, and a growing support system to compete and lead on the world stage. Let’s keep building that support system and pushing for a future where a British indie can steal the spotlight and claim its Oscar glory.


Please don’t hesitate to call us at BAND if you want to learn more about creative industries’ tax relief and other opportunities.

Let’s Talk


Tel: 020 8138 5560


111 Charterhouse Street,
London, EC1M 6AW


Julian Davies

Julian Davies

Managing Partner at Redfin

Managing partner and Chartered Accountant with 30+ years of experience in marketing, media, and creative industries. He leads the Redfin team, offering expert advice on growth and profitability. Former owner manager of an agency acquired by a listed group; his industry insights are second to none. Off duty, you might find him on the golf or tennis court, determined to master new tricks.
Shelley Watkin

Shelley Watkin

Client Finance Director at Redfin

A qualified Chartered Accountant with 20+ years of experience in the marketing services sector. During her 5+ years at Redfin, she served as Client Finance Director offering invaluable insights into strategic and commercial matters. Shelley has also assumed the role of Finance Director for various creative agencies, guiding them through successful sales processes. If she gets free time after managing her children’s busy schedules, she likes to chill out doing yoga and gardening.