The UK’s visual effects industry is in rude health, according to senior industry figures at this week’s Creative Week event.  

Speaking during the Squeezed Middle session at the VFX Summit, Milk chief executive Will Cohen (pictured), said that two years ago the film and high-end TV VFX market “went off a cliff”.

Cohen, who co-founded Milk one year ago after The Mill closed its TV department in March last year owing to a lack of work, said the industry was now in much better shape.

“There were issues with a market that had grown so heavily,” Cohen said, adding that the industry was “killing each other on price”.

He praised recent government incentives – in particular tax breaks – for helping to stimulate activity.

“We are seeing a lot more activity in television commissions and discussions about series leading into 2015 and movie work is looking up as well, I hear. I’m very pleased to report things are looking up massively.”

During his opening address at the VFX Summit, Double Negative co-founder and managing director Alex Hope described UK VFX firms as “sound businesses”.

“[VFX companies] compete fiercely with each other but they are also collaborative,” he said. “The growth of the UK VFX industries since the late 1990s has been built on that bed-rock. The Harry Potter franchise was certainly a huge help to the companies involved. It gave us huge confidence.”

Hope said that UK VFX turnover grew 500% between 1998 and 2004, while employment had also boomed. He also pointed to the UK tax credit, which he said had underpinned the growth in the film industry and the FX industry.

“The UK took market share from the rest of the world. We’ve moved from a cottage industry to a place where we have hundreds of staff.”

  • Creative Week was organised by Broadcast publisher MBI. See the 13 June issue of Broadcast for more from the programme of events.