Monday 26 July 2010

UK Film Council To Close

It was announced today that the UK Film Council is to be abolished. However, it may take twenty years for them to clear out the masses of failed funding application paperwork sent in over the years from talented film director's across the British Isles.

I loved the idea of the UKFC. A Government led organization that funds and encourages homegrown talent. In reality, for many legitimate filmmakers with great projects and screenplays; it was just endless rejection, after giant heaps of paperwork, only to find that the Council had, yet again, funded another film about people living on dodgy council estates with their alcoholic parents.

I have no personal experience with the UK Film Council. I always opted to stay away. The love for bureaucracy and form-filling, script input, etc, is enough to make me vomit. Not only that but, they were always producing BULLSHIT like 'Enduring Love' and 'Doogal'. And if not, they were funding the big guys like Mike Leigh and Danny Boyle.

So, I have mixed views. On the one hand, it's disastrous. Even though State-funded art rarely produces a masterpiece, and they generally seemed insecure about taking risks with unique projects - I like that it existed, that the idea of being funded by them was real to people. But the reality for most was that it was less than helpful.

It's strange that this news has come only a week after it was announced that the British Film Industry is doing rather well. It seems to be that the Government sees the arts as a low priority. But to me, the opposite is true, especially during times of recessions, job losses, and having to put up with David Cameron for five years. People need somewhere to escape to. They need the piece of film that can make them dream. Look at the effect 'Toy Story 3' has been having on people. Admittedly, TS3 wasn't made on Government money, it was of course made in America, with American film studio money-- but my point is that the true power of film is how it can give people hope, belief and happiness; which is needed in society. And that gets completely marginalized when the main body of a nation for funding such things is instantly scrapped. It's not a good sign.

But then again, as I was saying previously, the Film Council generally funds complete bullshit. So who's losing out, I don't know.

I'm sure there are many pluses and many, many minuses to this happening-- I have very limited knowledge about the workings of the UK Film Council. I'm sure many of you thought 'Severance' was a good movie, and worth producing.

What are your thoughts on the abolition of the UK Film Council? What does it mean for the future of British filmmaking?
"There is a connection between progress of a society and progress in the Arts. The age of Pericles was also the age of Phidias. The age of Lorenzo de Medici was also the age of Leonardo Da Vinci. The age of Elizabeth was the age of Shakespeare."
-Toby Ziegler, in 'THE WEST WING'

Care to share?


  1. I, being an American (sorry), can't imagine the government funding a movie at all, much less having a whole commitee for it. But if it was these guys that was responsible for Doogal...

  2. Well, you have the NEA. They fund something. I dunno, maybe they just fund people making plant pots or something.

  3. Of course I have no direct experience of the UK Film Council, and don't actually know off the top of my head everything that was and wasn't funded (although I loved Dorian Gray, Brideshead Revisited, In The Loop and The Escapist) but I think it's horrible that they've even THOUGHT about abolishing it, much less actually DOING it.

    UK Film Council is more about just being the funding body, it's also a symbol of the State's support for the film industry, and I think that's very important.

    Definitely in Singapore we would KILL to have something like the UK Film Council instead of the hyper-restrictive Media Development Authority (which is, incidentally, also the censorship board).

  4. I agree, wrote a blog myself

  5. It's a great pity to see it go, or maybe it's more a great pity to see the idea of it go (shrug). By the end of the year, I expect UK government funding for almost everything will be virtually non-existant, anyway.

    Our Isle is quite big on enticements to bribe film making over here. I think there's a by-law somewhere, every resident has to be an extra at least twice, on some block buster or other. Mind, it's not all it's cracked up to be. I once showed up in hopes of being the buxom wench, only to be placed in the role of old crone.. Cheek of it! (Pout)