2 Uk Film Council


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2 Uk Film Council

  1. 1. Lesson Two The ongoing debates about the aim and purposes of British filmmaking are polarised between two positions: 1. British cinema should be a resolutely national cinema, representing British culture to a British audience. To do this, British films need to be publicly funded. 2. British cinema should be a profitable business, competing in the international marketplace, particularly with Hollywood, by attracting a wide audience.
  2. 2. The output of Working Title is often used to illustrate the logic of the second argument. They are responsible for such films as Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary and About A Boy.  Proponents of the first position criticise these  kinds of films for imitating Hollywood in their  subject matter, their overdependence on stars and genre, their lack of national specificity or investigation of British issues for a British audience.
  3. 3. The use of public money for film funding generates particularly heated arguments. The main ways in which the government can distribute funds to film industry are:  Direct subsidies such as the use of National Lottery money  Indirect subsidies through tax write-offs
  4. 4. The UK Film Council was set up in 2000 to centralise the various means of public support for film, taking over from the Arts Council, which had previously been heavily criticised for the way in which it distributed lottery money to filmmakers. At the same time it took over the production department of the British Film Institute, arguably a more significant source of subsidy than the Arts Council, funding the first features of many important British directors.
  5. 5. Funding now targets different aspects of the British film industry: Development Fund – Aims to rains the quality of screenplays produced; Premiere Fund – Supports bigger budget films and established talent, for example St. Trinian's, The Constant Gardener; New Cinema Fund – Supports short and feature films; aims to encourage diversity in the industry, for example This Is England, Brick Lane; Prints and Advertising Fund - designed to widen and support the distribution and marketing strategy of 'specialised' films and to offer support to more commercially focused 'British' films that nevertheless remain difficult to market.
  6. 6. The 80s are behind us. In other words, we do not want to finance social realist art films, nor even Hollywood scale mega productions… The Film Council will help to finance popular films that the British public will go and see in the multiplex on Friday night. Films that entertain people and make them feel good. John Woodward Chief Executive UK Film Council
  7. 7. This argument provoked angry responses from a range of film critics, filmmakers and actors. They argued that this strategy would deny funding to films which did not appeal to the mainstream; the very kind which could not survive without subsidy but which are of artistic and cultural importance. Box office successes such as The Full Monty and East Is East are used as examples of films with difficult or controversial subject matter (but which were both critically and commercially successful) which may not have received from the UK Film Council.
  8. 8. Before UK Film Council £100 million of lottery money was spent on 200 films with a total return of £6 million. In contrast the Film Council has funded films which have often been both commercial and critical successes. The £13 million invested in 20 films between 2000 and 2003 generated £125 million at the box office. Successful films repay the funding, providing opportunities for future development.
  9. 9. This film would not have been made without public funding. Ken Loach explores the story of a young drug dealer in Glasgow using local dialect and non-professional actors. This reflects his belief in the importance of representing social issues and groups relevant to the nation first, putting the concerns of attracting a mass audience second.