British film funding concerns

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport announced Monday that as part of the government’s spending cutbacks the U.K. Film Council will be abolished, and many prominent figures in the film industry are raising some very pertinent questions about the decision.

The biggest concern seems to be whether funding for the industry will also be cut, and who will be making the decisions about how such funds will be distributed, assuming they are still available.

The UK Film Council was founded in 2000 with the stated purpose of developing and promoting the British film industry, and from all accounts it has done a pretty good job.  More than £160 million in National Lottery money for over 900 films has been handed out by the UKFC over the past ten years.

Many if not most of these films are not mainstream, but more on the cutting edge of film making, and the aim, according to those on the council’s board of directors, has always been to encourage the artistry and creativity of British films in general and of new talent in the industry in particular.

British film directors and producers, as well as everyone else directly concerned with the movie industry in the country, are worried about the future of Britain’s large and lucrative film production, and whether this decision by Jeremy Hunt and the DCMS might cut the legs from under a valuable asset to both the culture and the economy.  Word at present is that film funding will not be discontinued, but money will be distributed by other agencies as yet unnamed.