Film Review Flies The Flag For British Movies
A new approach to film education in British schools, financial incentives to encourage collaborations between producers and distributors at the initial stages of financing a project, and moves to encourage all major broadcasters to increase current levels of support for British film are some of the recommendations made by leading industry experts in a report published this week.
A role in driving growth
Commissioned last year by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, A Future for British Film – it begins with the audience was published by an independent review panel, chaired by Lord Chris Smith. The review has been undertaken in the context of a challenging economic climate and its recommendations are designed to help ensure film is one of the sectors which plays a role in driving growth, creating jobs and stimulating investment and exports.
Although the average Briton watches over 80 films a year on big and small screens, the UK audience still gets to see too few British films - between 2001 and 2010 independent British films accounted for only 5.5% at the box office. The review’s recommendations are intended to increase audience choice and grow the demand for British films in the UK and overseas. They complement policy measures to support the production of British films, helping ensure that those films reach appreciative audiences, stimulating cultural awareness and creativity.
Build on recent successes
According to Lord Smith: “British film is going through a golden period. A run of British-made and British-based movies has been taking audiences around the world by storm. But we cannot be complacent - this review highlights the things that the BFI, Government and industry can do to ensure that we build on recent successes. British film is in prime position to contribute to the growth of the UK's economy, to the development of attractive and fulfilling careers for young people and to the creation of job opportunities across the country."
The report contains 56 recommendations. These include a new programme to bring film education into every school, giving every pupil the chance to see, understand and learn about British film. “By enhancing the stock of knowledge and information about film, in particular among children and young people, education can assist in growing the audience of today and tomorrow, ensuring they have an improved understanding and appreciation of different kinds of film,” says the Review.
Vitality of cultural life
The Review also calls on major broadcasters “to invest more in the screening, acquisition and production of independent British film. Given that the majority of people still watch most of the films they see on television, an increased commitment to screening British films would have an important impact on the vitality of cultural life in the UK. Similarly, broadcasters could be a powerful force for sharing information and knowledge about the breadth of film available - through increased programming about film, online content and 'apps'.
Other recommendations include
- Incentives ensuring a more collaborative approach between producers, directors and distributors
- A commitment to combat illegal exploitation of IP
- A scheme that would bring digital screens and projectors to village and community halls across the country
- An annual celebration, focused on a British Film Week, to re-establish the brand of British film
- Stronger investment in training and skills development, especially to seize new technology opportunities
Commenting, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “I am committed to creating a more stable and successful film industry and I thank Chris Smith and the panel for the huge amount of work that has gone into preparing this report. I know the panel has worked very closely with representatives from the film community and I look forward to examining what the report recommends.”
The report has been welcomed by trade body UK Screen, whose acting CEO Sarah Mackey said: "I am very encouraged that the Review panel has recognised the importance of the Facilities sector to the UK Film Industry and its role in attracting inward investment and supporting British Film. UK Screen looks forward to working with the BFI and industry partners…”
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