Country Focus: UK
UKFC drama intensifies
by Naman Ramachandran
- The ongoing dispute between the UK Film Council (UKFC) and the British Government has come to a head with Ed Vaizey, the Minister for culture, communications and creative industries, accusing the film funding body of lobbying to stay in existence.
In a curt letter addressed to UKFC CEO John Woodward, released to a London newspaper, Vaizey demanded to know whether or not the film body was guilty of squandering public money on campaigning against its closure. Vaizey also wanted to know whether the UKFC was “briefing” the film industry that the decision to close the body was prompting foreign investors to take their monies elsewhere.
Vaizey wrote, “I am very concerned about what has come to light. It looks as though sources at the UKFC have been overzealously briefing in order to protect their interests. As a result they may be damaging the film industry that they purport to represent. This is completely wrong and I will be seeking urgent reassurances that the UKFC will promote the interests of the film industry rather than its own from now on.”
In response, a UKFC statement said, “The future of the UK film industry is the only thing the UKFC is interested in. We will continue to do everything we can to reassure people that any change to us will not affect the UK’s film offer to the world. Understandably, however, there has been enormous concern about the future of the British film industry since the government decided to abolish its film agency. In the past three weeks, the UKFC has been contacted by hundreds of organizations and individuals seeking assurances and expressing their concerns about future funding and other related matters. We will continue to be as positive as possible under the circumstances.”