The final session of last month’s RealScreen Summit, titled ‘Politically Incorrect: Independent Producer’s Rant’, raised the possibility of U.S.-based indies working with the U.K.’s Producer Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) to found a similar trade organization stateside. London’s pact represents the commercial interests of U.K. film and television producers, often lobbying on behalf of its members in addition to offering various production related services. pact executives weren’t present at the session, so RealScreen contacted chief executive John McVay to find out what he thought of the idea.
‘If U.S. independents were to get together and wanted to talk to us about how we may help them through what we’ve done in terms of structures, our campaigns, and how we’re funded, then clearly we’re delighted to talk to people. But, we’re not about to expand into the U.S., as interesting as that is,’ says McVay. ‘It’s not policy, it’s not a way I can use members’ money, and there’s no desire in terms of our domestic agenda to do anything like that. We also have to keep in mind that in terms of U.K. domestic TV product, our main competitor is the U.S. It would be hard to represent conflicting members who have totally different business objectives. At the same time, we’re happy to share information.’
pact is privately funded and McVay reveals its annual costs near the £3 million (US$4.26 million) mark. Membership fees range from £200 ($285) to £1,000 ($1,500), depending on turnover. Although McVay says pact could advise the U.S. community on the process of establishing a similar organization, he notes that the funding base in each country would likely differ: ‘We have quite a large independent producer base in television – 1,000-plus companies. The way TV production in the U.S. has consolidated means it’s quite different. It has large, vertically integrated studios, which are effectively independent studios. Our model is quite different, because U.K. television is quite different.’