With the news that the UK Film Council would be abolished, there were immediate campaigns against the dissolve. Beginning with grass-roots online campaigns, a Facebook page ‘Save the UK Film Council’ is now at 56,268 followers, Twitter feeds and reactions followed, before Dirty Harry himself stepped forward (who had recently shot Hereafter in London) to write a protest letter and in doing so joined other actors including James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Pete Postlethwaite, Damian Lewis, Timothy Spall, Daniel Barber and Ian Holm in campaigning against the Council’s abolition
Last week at the Screen Film Summit, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey spoke on the importance of the British film industry and what he expected to happen post Film Council dissolve. UK Film Council chief executive, John Woodward made remarks about the prospect that Lottery money might be channelled through a UK broadcaster such as the BBC or Channel 4 and questions were asked by industry workers and attendees as to whether money would be thrown into another “government quango” or fairly distributed across the industry?
John McVay, Chief Executive Officer of producers’ organisation PACT, said that PACT “wanted three legs to the funding stool” and that plurality and diversity would necessarily be reduced if Lottery money was disbursed via the BBC or Channel 4 rather than through a separate public funder.
So will Film London be called to take responsibility for the work left over from the Film Council? Will work, effort and responsibility (as well as money) be handed to local screen agencies? As Woodward suggests, “Others will need to adopt the apparatus of what comes with the Film Council’s democratic feeling, from empathy and understanding to their consideration of producers and film makers.” They’ll most certainly have to be a new system to overhaul the current one, afterall, top-slicing the paramount council means redistribution and judicious thought.
What does this mean for production companies and the suppliers who work for these companies? The dancing and turmoil needs to stop, but who is going to profit from waving goodbye to the Film Council. Will anyone?
Watch Ed Vaizey’s address here: