MANILA, Philippines – As the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a historic referendum last week, many of its consequences have been discussed, and this includes its impact on the film and television industry.
Game of Thrones is no exception. In a Foreign Policy piece, staff writer David Francis argued that the hit HBO fantasy series is not insulated from the economic effects of the so-called Brexit.
Prior to the Brexit vote, and as the hype surrounding the Game of Thrones season 6 finale was on a high, Francis wrote: "Shows like Game of Thrones will also be harder – and costlier – to produce, meaning that the real world and the fantasy one will collide to the possible detriment of both."
"That’s because if the UK votes to leave the EU, it would take Northern Ireland with it, potentially robbing HBO of one of the show’s primary filming locations," he continued.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which "aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions," partly supported the production of Game of Thrones.
According to HBO, however, they have not taken financial support from the ERDF in the recent previous seasons. A statement from the TV network, quoted by Entertainment Weekly, said: "We do not anticipate that the result of the EU Referendum will have any material effect on HBO producing Game of Thrones."
HBO's Game of Thrones receives funding from the UK, including government agency Northern Ireland Screen (NIS) – Reuters reported. The NIS said in a statement that it "does not use monies provided from European-funded programmes."
Aside from Northern Ireland, one of the UK's constituent countries, Game of Thrones has also filmed in EU member states such as Spain, Croatia, and Malta, but also in Iceland, a non-member nation.
Impact on the film & TV industry
Michael Ryan, the chairman of the global Independent Film and Television Alliance based in Los Angeles, said in a statement quoted by Variety: "The decision to exit the European Union is a major blow to the UK film and TV industry." (READ: Celebrities react to UK voting to leave the European Union)
"Producing films and television programs is a very expensive and very risky business and certainty about the rules affecting the business is a must."
Peter Chase, a senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, warned Foreign Policy of American productions who intend to mount their projects in the UK: "It might be up in the air for US studios who want to film in the UK."
"There are EU programs to help fund all of this. If the UK is no longer part of the EU, that has the potential to go away."
Entertainment figures who signed a pro-"Remain" campaign prior to the referendum, said in a joint letter: "Leaving Europe would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people across the UK who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the growth and vibrancy of Britain's cultural sector." – Rappler.com