: Mads Nybo Jørgensen's Blog
: Re: Should the UK Film Council be saved? I'm not so sure...
I am starting this subject in fear of falling out with all of my colleagues in the UK film industry. However, I am not sure that it is such a bad thing to abolish the UK film council. Please do feel free to disagree.
From my impressions and please note opinions; I don't think that the UK Film Council was set up to cover anything but the "elite" in UK Film-making. Granted, they did rightfully tick some boxes in order to cater for minorities, but more often than not, that only just stretched to short films. And IMHO they completely failed in getting Digital Cinema out to a wider audience in the UK. It took at least 3 years longer than it should have done, and it is debatable whether they in the end choose the right display technology. In any case, the political confusion helped put the breakers on High Definition in the UK for at least 4 years, and we are still playing catch-up. This wasn't helped either by then Chancellor Gordon Brown deciding to get rid of all foreign co-productions by making it near impossible to get co-funding under the new tax regime.
Yes, the UK Film Council has supported some financial successful movies, but out of the £160 million spent and over 900 films supported - how many actually made a decent return on investment.
So I say, scrap the UK Film Council. Encourage more micro budget film making. Only support movies with a strong business plan and bring back the tax-breaks for overseas producers (maybe just the Europeans) - this will help to get English co-productions to a wider audience and thereby bring money back into the industry. And one thing I never thought that I would hear myself say; lets remove VAT on Digital Cinema projection and sound equipment - this will hopefully help to re-vitalize cinemas and UK Digital Film Production. I.e. with the right Digital Equipment investment a micro-budget movie can be in the cinema on a slow Monday evening and out on DVD and download on a busy Friday there after.
Obviously I am a stake-holder in all of the above, but I also think that we shouldn't run to the defence of a film council that by my estimate hasn't delivered a proper commercial nor an artistic proposition to the UK film market.
However, I'm more interested in your opinion? Don't hold back :-)