Over the summer the UK film industry reacted in shock and outrage at the Government’s decision to abolish the UK Film Council.The coalition has always maintained that the decision was more to do with ending bureaucracy than ending support for the industry.
In an announcement that seems to uphold that view, the Minister for Culture and Creative Industry, Ed Vaizey, laid out plans on Monday November 29th, to create a more sustainable future for the British Film Industry. In a speech to an audience of leading film industry figures he said “The goal of a sustainable, independent British film industry remains as elusive as ever,” and he recognised the “uncertainty” the abolition of the Film Council had left.
The Government has returned the National Lottery to its original good causes, which will bring an additional £50 million each year to the arts.
He acknowledged “there is more that we can do to support our talented film-makers and to create a stable and financially sustainable industry.Our biggest challenge is to make sure that the success of British films means success for British film makers.”
In explaining how he would achieve this Vaizey outlined key proposals including giving Film London a country wide responsibility to promote the UK as a place to invest in film, and having the British Film Institute take on a key role as distributor of Lottery funds to UK film makers. Although the grant for film was cut by 30%, the Government has returned the National Lottery to its original good causes, which will bring an additional £50 million each year to the arts.
In addition, after 2012, all of the Lottery good causes income will revert to the non-Olympic causes, including the arts. Effectively, Vaizey claimed, the amount of Lottery money the film industry receives will increase to £43million by 2014.
The BFI will now become the lead strategic body and Lottery distributor to UK film makers. Film London will take on responsibility for encouraging foreign film-makers and studios to make and post-produce their movies in the UK. The nine English Regional Screen Agencies, meanwhile, will become one single body, Creative England. Their remit will include the development of the video-game sector as well as supporting other types of creative industry. The new body will be chaired by John Newbigin, and will consist of three major centres, in the North, the Midlands and the South of the UK.
In announcing the restructuring, Ed Vaizey, pictured, said “Britain has a vibrant film industry and world renowned skills, expertise, and creativity. The proposals have announced today will give the industry the financial certainty it needs. Lottery funding will increase and the BFI will be the flagship body for the delivery of the UK film policy.”
He also announced the creation of a Ministerial Film Forum, to convene for the first time in January, who are tasked with taking forward issues of key concern to the industry.