Country Focus: UK
UK Film Council to be abolished
by Naman Ramachandran
- The UK film industry has gone into shock with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s announcement today that the UK Film Council is to be abolished.
A statement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the sweeping changes in the arts sector include “abolishing the UK Film Council and establishing a direct and less bureaucratic relationship with the British Film Institute. This would support front-line services while ensuring greater value for money. Government and Lottery support for film will continue.”
Hunt said, “The changes I have proposed today would help us deliver fantastic culture, media and sport, while ensuring value for money for the public and transparency about where taxpayers’ money is spent.”
In response, UKFC Chairman Tim Bevan said, “Abolishing the most successful film support organisation the UK has ever had is a bad decision, imposed without any consultation or evaluation. People will rightly look back on today’s announcement and say it was a big mistake, driven by short-term thinking and political expediency. British film, which is one of the UK’s more successful growth industries, deserves better.
“Our immediate priority now is to press the Government to confirm that the funding levels and core functions that are needed to underpin British film are locked-in, especially at a time when filmmakers and film companies need more support than ever as they make the challenging transition into the digital age. To that end, we will work with the DCMS over the summer to identify how they can guarantee both continuity and safe harbour for British film.”