Thursday, 23 September 2010

RIP UKFC: Geoffrey Macnab's Obituary of the UK FIlm Council

Geoffrey Macnab gives his obituary to the UK Film Council in October’s Sight and Sound.

This piece is worth a read for the insight it sheds on the debates that took place when the UK Film Council was formed, particularly the elusive desire for a sustainable, large-scale UK film industry.

As Macnab says, “the furore over the announcement [of the closure of the UK Film Council] underlines just how dependent on public funding the British film industry remains. It also reminds us how bitter the debates about public film policy have always been.”

He continues:

“We’re now at the end of a cycle. The UKFC is faced with abolition and the public film-funding model will almost certainly have to be redesigned. It was telling that in April 2010 the UKFC announced that its current chairman Tim Bevan would chair a think tank to identify ways of ‘growing UK companies of scale’. This, of course, was exactly the goal back in 1997, when the government awarded the three lottery-backed franchises worth more than £90 million over six years. The truth is that in 2010, over half of independent production companies are loss-making.”

The goal of a self-sustaining film industry is no more realistic now than it was back in 1998, or 1968 for that matter. The question is now, as it was then, how to sustain film-making in this country.

Any ideas let me – or Jeremy Hunt – know.

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