Editor's comment: Lights, camera, branding
A view from Lucy Barrett

Editor's comment: Lights, camera, branding

It's amazing what a recession can do to deliver clarity for a decision on whether certain projects should accept cash from brands.

I might be wrong, but try as I might, I cannot imagine that the UK film industry would have actively formalised plans to open the doors for brands to finance films, and gain some elements of creative control, 18 months ago.

To be fair, as films are unlikely to be a blatant chance to plug a product, brands probably didn't see the value either.

Now all this is set to change with the UK Film Council drawing up plans to create a department to bring filmmakers and brands together, with the latter providing much-needed financing for movies.

So what could be in it for brands? Two years ago Eurostar led the way when it funded Shane Mead­ows' film, Somers Town. The film did not feature Eurostar branding, but the company viewed the project as a chance to show that, by building an international terminal at St Pancras, it was regenerating a deprived area of London.

Whether the film met Eurostar's end game may have been up for debate, but it did not cost the company a great deal of money to lend its support. Subsequently, Eurostar gets a mention almost every time the film is written about which can't be bad. Moreover, crucially for the film, the tie-up did not detract from its credibility.

Will independent filmmakers, who desperately need the funding, feel happy about an FMCG or big retailer brand coming on board? If the UK Film Council is serious about this, these film­makers might just have to have to get happy - they probably don't have much of choice.

Traditional film-funding methods are drying up fast, and brands may just be the best option to stump up the cash.