Manimation 2014 – Fund It
A day of exploration of every aspect of the current animation scene with a special emphasis on Manchester and the North West.
Jane Hyndman Senior Business Affairs Manager – Rights.tv
Christopher Halliday Senior Certification Analyst – BFI
Achit Patel Senior Business Affairs Manager (Film) – Compact Media Group
After a quick romp through the Brothers McLeod’s new documentary Kickstarter project “Marfa” – based on Greg McLeod’s trip to the Marfa Film Festival in Texas, with some top tips on using Kickstarter, the session moved on to discuss investment and tax incentives for production.
Achit Patel opened by describing the EIS scheme which provides significant tax incentives for investors in creative projects. The bottom line with EIS is that because of the way the scheme is set up tax-wise it’s almost impossible to lose your money – even if the project is not commercially successful. He reminded everyone that there would be criteria to be met before approaching investment companies, and that there are administrative costs throughout the life of the scheme.
On crowd funding he echoed Greg McLeod’s suggestions that you have to be careful about how large a fund you seek, and about how you will fulfil the promises made. The majority don’t hit the target, and it helps to have a track record and wide social media connections to get a campaign to take off.
Achit described the criteria for the animated series tax relief, and ended his introduction by saying a combination of all three methods – Kickstarter, EIS and tax belief were a good mix to get a project off the ground.
Christopher Halliday from the BFI discussed how to qualify for the animation and video game tax incentives. Once the required 16 points (of 32 possible) are achieved against a number of categories of criteria, the BFI Certificate allows the animation company to apply for a rebate of tax.
A recent Animation UK survey revealed that since the tax break has been in place, the industry has essentially doubled in size in terms of production actually being made. An instant success story.
The BFI certification team are very happy to talk companies through the process.
Questions ranged around various topics:
Whether to create an SPV (Special Production Vehicle). It was agreed that SPVC’s were advisable to please investors with clarity and separation.
Whether it’s possible to access both tax breaks on hybrid or pan-platform projects involving series and game elements. Yes – it’s possible.
Bank lending – yes that is possible and has improved in the last 12 months. It doesn’t involve the same level of commitment as equity investment.
Jane Hyndman reminded the room that there are also smaller funds which could be applied to – incentives for training, development funds, market access funding – some of it regional.
The recently proposed live-action tax break was discussed – Achit Patel thought that given the success of the animation tax break it was likely to happen.