Film

“Harbottle & Lewis has a ‘long-standing reputation as a destination of choice for media and entertainment clients”

Chambers UK, 2016

Our film lawyers advise clients on the entire lifecycle of a film. During development we help producers to investigate and secure the rights needed to successfully produce their project and can handle complex chain of title issues as well as straight screenplay commissions and rights options. We also act for publishers, authors and other rights holders, providing commercial as well as legal advice in helping them to exploit film rights in a given property.

Securing finance is a crucial stage, and with the continued success of EIS and SEIS, and the rising number of alternative funding avenues such as crowdfunding, financing models are becoming increasingly creative. We guide producers, as well as lenders, banks and financiers, through the process, providing prompt, commercial and pragmatic advice. As front runners in this field we also have dedicated specialists who can advise on co-productions, EIS and SEIS schemes and the film tax credit. Please see the media finance page of our website for further details.

We take a production counsel role on films of all sizes. We act for major US studios, such as Universal and DreamWorks Studios (now Amblin Partners), on all their UK films as well as many of those taking place across Europe. We also act for independent producers, providing the necessary level of input and dealing with any number of production related issues. In addition, we advise high profile talent (including actors, director and producers) in negotiating deals for their involvement in a particular project.

We have decades of experience in negotiating with sales agents, distributors and other licensees and can advise on any number of licensing arrangements including straight distribution deals, OTT/digital distribution and merchandising. With separate theatre, publishing, music, interactive entertainment and tech teams, we are also uniquely placed to advise clients on converting their film properties into a proper franchise.  Our knowledge across all media and entertainment industries means we are ideally placed to help clients maximise their return by fully exploiting all rights.