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12/04/2010

British Film Gets Major Boost

The UK Film Council has launched a new £15m film fund to champion British filmmakers.
As part of its three-year plan, launched at the beginning of April, the agency also formally opened applications for The Film Fund, but said it will be presenting a more detailed strategy to the UK Film Council Board in the coming months.
The UK Film Council spent three months consulting on the proposals, engaging with hundreds of people from across the film sector, facilitating more than a dozen consultation sessions and attracting almost 1,000 responses.
The plan will also see an experienced team appointed as 'gatekeepers' of the Film Fund and allow producers to receive equity share of UK Film Council recoupment, which will top-up the new funds.
The plan also allows for the ring-fencing of money for development; confirms that production companies will, for the first, time automatically receive a significant share of the UK Film Council's recoupment from all feature film investments they are involved in, even following state aid approval of the measure by the European Commission.
It also sets up a 'think tank' chaired by Tim Bevan to identify new policy initiatives to grow independent UK film companies of scale and proposes a national web-based talent showcase, to be launched in Autumn 2010, to unearth fresh talent and to broaden the diversity, reach and the opportunities available to all filmmakers who are keen to engage with one another in a national filmmaking community.
The plan also confirms £5m is being allocated to the new Innovation Fund, which will launch in Autumn 2010 and provides £500,000 for film exports for each year of the plan and confirms that 100% of recoupment from the Prints & Advertising Fund - which widens and supports the distribution of selected specialised films and British films - will, like the Film Fund, top up that fund's budget.
Alongside this plan, there are also merger discussions between the UK Film Council and the British Film Institute. These discussions have been underway since August 2009 and continue.
Tim Bevan, Chairman of the UK Film Council, said: "We've set out a renewed mission, a new set of priorities, and a new way of working. With the right level of support, a successful British film industry can continue to help get the UK out of recession, drive innovation and create more highly-skilled jobs. Further tough choices probably lie ahead, but having reduced our overheads by 20% and positively responded to the needs of British filmmakers we're now in the best place we can be to support and promote UK film in the years ahead."
John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council, announced that the new £15m-a-year Film Fund had opened its doors for business. Managed by a new team of experienced senior production and development executives, the fund has introduced a brand new online application process in which applicants will set out their creative and strategic visions for their film."
(BMcC/GK)
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