UK Film Urged To Go Mainstream

Comments made by Britain’s Prime Minister, that urged the UK film industry to become more "mainstream" ahead of a review on the UK’s film policy next Monday, have been met with criticism.

David Cameron said the film industry should support "commercially successful pictures" and that the UK film industry needs to match "the quality and impact" of international movies.

The publication of Lord Smith's review into the government's film policy is due on Monday. The review was commissioned to find out how the industry could offer better support to UK filmmaking.

Mr Cameron has praised the UK film industry and noted that the British film industry had made a £4bn contribution to the UK economy but said they could "aim even higher".

Iain Smith, Chair of the British Film Commission, said: "On behalf of the British Film Commission I thank the Prime Minister for his comments praising the work of the BFC. Following another busy and potentially record breaking year for inward investment, it is reassuring to hear the government understands the role big budget, international movies shooting in the UK plays in building a world-class skilled workforce, while boosting the UK economy.

"With superb acting talent, crew and post production expertise, state of the art facilities, and the lucrative film tax relief, the British Film Commission promotes the UK’s competitive edge internationally to ensure we retain our position as one of the world’s most popular filming destinations. And as we look to the future, I look forward to the publication of Lord Smith 's full Film Policy Review and to working with the DCMS and the BFI to consider and implement its findings.”

Despite this the recommendations have not come without criticisim. Following the Prime Minister’s comments Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, reported: “It is absurd to imply, as David Cameron has, that hearty commercial films are starved of cash by arthouse conspirators.

"The sheer audacity is staggering. He {Cameron} says he wants to "build on the incredible success of recent years", but one of his administration's most sensational acts of party political grandstanding and spite was to cancel the UK Film Council – a creation of the Labour years – just when it was delivering not merely critically admired work but precisely those commercial hits of the kind Cameron professes to yearn for."

Meanwhile it leaves some critics of Cameron's opinions with the view that that big production companies churning out identikit movies will receive money, while small, unproven companies and filmmakers will be left to rot.

The report follows the abolition of the UK Film Council last year, which handed over its funding responsibilities to the British Film Institute (BFI).

Lord Smith, the former Labour culture secretary, is also expected to recommend developing an export strategy to increase the profits of British films.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 October 2003
Lottery-backed UK films net £125m in receipts
National Lottery investments in the UK film industry has generated box office takings of over £125 million, new figures released today have revealed. Overall, £13 million of Lottery funding invested by the UK Film Council has generated £125.
28 November 2003
Film Council study finds post-production sector generates £1.4b for UK economy
British film industry creative and technical expertise has helped to generate £1.39 billion and 15,000 jobs in the UK economy, a major new report published by the Film Council has revealed.
29 November 2010
UK Industry Bankrolls Inbound Films
An increase in National Lottery funds and an emphasis on funding from within the UK movie industry itself are to bankroll the British Film Institute (BFI) as it assumes the former international marketing role of the UK Film Council (UKFC).
10 November 2011
Tax Relief For Film Makers Extended
The Prime Minister has announced the extension of film tax relief, the Government’s tax break for the British film industry, until the end of December 2015.
19 July 2004
UK film industry worth a billion dollars in 2003
The top 10 UK films at the international box office scooped more than a billion dollars between them last year, according to a UK Film Council report published today.