UK Film Council Chairman Speaks Out

After the recent boneheaded decision to abolish the UK Film Council, the chairman, Tim Bevan, issued a statement on the Council’s official website.

Naturally, Bevan is angered by the decision but he also indicates that this will effect the film industry for years to come.

“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.”

Well said, Sir. He’s not the only one that’s feeling disheartened by the Government’s decision. Many filmmakers and journalists are confused as to how the industry will cope with a structured financing body. Mike Goodridge, editor of Screen International had this to say,

“It is a stunning blind side and a shocking blow. It feels like a terrible betrayal of the industry. The UK Film Council has done a good job of slimming itself down so it is a disturbing day.

The UK Film Council has spent the last 10 years establishing the value of film to the economy and this feels like a dismantling of that by the government.”

If you’re wondering what on Earth the UK Film Council does exactly, well, for a start it’s invested over £160 million of Lottery funding into over 900 UK films since it’s creation in 2000. That’s a much needed helping hand to our industry that we’re now without, thanks a bunch ConDems.

It’s helped to fund films like Bend it like Beckham, The Constant Gardener, Fish Tank, Gosford Park, Happy-Go-Lucky, In the Loop, The Last King of Scotland, Nowhere Boy, St Trinian’s, This is England, and Streetdance 3D, the UK’s first 3D film.


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