Industry briefings: February 2024

Posted on Feb 15, 2024

Our regular Industry Briefings feature rounds up what’s new in the biz, from Golden Globes to rumoured mergers

A golden night for Oppenheimer & Succession

Hollywood turned out for the Golden Globes at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on 7 January, marking the event’s 81st outing and the start of awards season. The big winners of the evening were Oppenheimer – which picked up five Globes including best drama motion picture and director – and Succession, which took home best drama, actress (Sarah Snook), actor (Kieran Culkin) and supporting actor (Matthew Macfadyen), plus best drama series. Emma Stone vehicle Poor Things saw the star take home best actress, as well as picking up the best musical or comedy picture gong.

Barbie, last year’s other cinematic behemoth, picked up the new award for box office achievement, which recognises high-grossing films. Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon celebrated one win for Lily Gladstone as best actress, while The Holdovers scooped wins for best comedy actor Paul Giamatti and supporting actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph. FX’s The Bear also had a good night, securing best comedy series, best actor (Jeremy Allen White) and best actress (Ayo Edebiri). With the film categories usually a bellwether for the Oscars, the industry’s eyes now turn to the Academy Awards on 10 March.

A picture-perfect UK debut for CameraOne

CameraOne has launched CameraOne UK, extending its cine, broadcast and pro equipment rental services to the British market – with offices in Surrey and central London. Timed with the resolution of the SAG-AFTRA strike and the resurgence of global productions in 2024, CameraOne UK introduces an array of cutting-edge cameras, lenses, accessories and specialised technical services. It also aims to be a collaborative hub for industry professionals, catering to diverse clientele from social media executives to seasoned film experts.

HPA Tech Retreat 2024

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has revealed the agenda for its 29th Tech Retreat, taking place on 18-22 February in Palm Springs, California. Delving into the cutting edge of media creation, the event launches with TR-X, probing the challenges of extreme production, from IMAX frontiers to on-site reporting perils. Wednesday’s main programme explores quantum dots, open source software and the revolutionary influence of AI in media production. Thursday spotlights the MovieLabs 2030 Vision, tackling metadata challenges, interoperability and responsible innovation in the age of generative AI.

Noteworthy sessions delve into AI’s transformative role, ranging from storytelling to workflow integration, promising a dive into the future of filmmaking technology. The retreat also offers Breakfast Roundtables, an Innovation Zone showcasing 60 tech companies and networking opportunities.

Tax credit overhaul for UK screen industries

The UK government has updated the tax credit system, replacing existing reliefs for film, television and video game production entities. The new Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit and Video Games Expenditure Credit bring notable changes to bolster the country’s production sector.

In this update, productions in children’s TV, animated TV and animated film will see an additional £42,500 in relief, while highend TV, film or video game productions will benefit from a £5,000 relief. The calculation of these credits is now directly linked to the qualifying expenditure, offering a more transparent and adaptable framework.

With the industry presently valued at £126 billion, this initiative is designed to optimise the potential of the UK’s cutting-edge production sector and support the development of British talent. The new tax credit system aligns with industry feedback, providing companies with a transitional period until April 2027 to adjust from previous reliefs. This strategic move by the government positions the UK as an attractive hub for sustained growth in the film, TV and gaming industries.

UK box office tops £1bn in 2023

In the strongest showing for the UK box office since pre-pandemic, a total of £1.06 billion was taken across 2023, according to numbers released by Comscore. While not quite 2019’s £1.35 billion, it marks a positive boost for cinema-going, with the Barbenheimer phenomenon largely credited.

HAND in hand with the future

The entertainment industry embraces the future with the launch of consulting firm HAND (Human and Digital), the world’s first global talent ID registry. Currently in beta testing, the project is spearheaded by M&E veteran Will Kreth, CEO of HAND and former executive director of EIDR. High-profile partners confirmed include Sony Pictures Entertainment and the American Film Institute.

A universal and verifiable ID for talents, it pioneers streamlined discoverability, royalty collection and revenue tracking in both real and virtual worlds. Amid a surge in deepfake usage, HAND’s talent ID emerges as a proactive solution to fortify name, image and likeness (NIL) rights. The revolutionary HAND ID, built on the ISO-level digital object identifier (DOI) handle system, marks a significant move towards 21st-century supply-chain automation. It addresses the long-standing challenge of manual processes in the industry, promising cost savings and accelerated time-to-value.

Operating on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model, HAND caters to entertainment producers, talent agencies, payment processors and digital platforms. Rob Delf, CEO of Fabric, states: “This is a great move for the industry to align the value of global talent IDs in media and entertainment.” As the first DOI member since 1998 allowed to create handles for humans, virtual humans and fictional characters, HAND will be metaverse- and blockchain-ready. Its invitation-only beta phase is now open.

BAFTA shakes up best film award requirements

As of 2025, hopefuls in the best film category must have an expanded theatrical release, showing in a minimum of 50 UK cinemas for at least seven days. The move aims to bolster theatrical engagement. BAFTA plans to make more updates next summer.

Partnering for sustainable production

NXTGENbps, a leading provider of zero-emission battery generators, has joined forces with London-based Greenkit Ltd – specialist in energy-efficient film lighting – to introduce sustainable power solutions to the film industry.

Greenkit is now the first rental house to offer NXTGENbps’ innovative Meerkat, Goat and Billy Goat batteries. Designed to replace traditional, noisy diesel generators, the NXTGENbps batteries are game changers for filmmakers prioritising sustainability. The partnership with Greenkit aligns with the industry’s growing eco-conscious values, providing filmmakers with a clean, quiet and reliable power source for seamless production experiences.

Lesley Marr, director of sustainability at NXTGENbps, emphasised the collaboration’s commitment to making sustainable power solutions accessible, stating: “Hiring batteries from Greenkit will allow crews to reduce their carbon emissions while ensuring a seamless, silent production experience.” The recent successful use of the Goat battery for a London-to-Doha satellite link highlights the efficiency of the technology, which is setting a new standard for environmentally friendly film production.

This article appears in our February issue. Read the full magazine here.

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