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12/01/2012

Cameron Slammed Over Plans For UK Film

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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.
(LB)
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