Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why We Need The UK Film Council

I have been into movies for a long time. For as long as I can remember, I have had this thing about watching featurettes and interviews of film directors and actors before I go to see the film they are promoting. This is because the "way" they make films has always fascinated me. Many years ago, I went on a tour of Granada Studios (now discontinued) and I clearly remember standing behind the camera that shot a television show. It might have been "This Morning" but I was about 6 at the time! That has always stayed with me because seeing the film or television show is not enough. I have to know how they did it. Kinda like that brilliant corridor scene in Inception which just gave me goosebumps.

So as you can see, I am really passionate about film. Maybe not as much as I was when I was 16. But Now I am working behind the camera at University, I am very much relishing the experience and cannot wait to take my skills to "the real world" as my step-father would say. I am passionate about making and watching films and television. So when I heard that the UK Film Council is to be abolished by the Brokeback Coalition I couldn't help but get really angry.

So, for those who don't know, the UKFC was set up in 2000 by the Labour government. It's aim was

 "To stimulate a competitive, successful and vibrant UK film industry and culture, and to promote the widest possible enjoyment and understanding of cinema throughout the nations and regions of the UK"

Of course it's most active feat is funding feature film and short films make in the UK with the help of the Lottery Fund. There are many "sub funds" within the UKFC; There is one that funds the works of new talent and/or established talent working outside the mainstream industry and another that funds the works of the more mainstream commercial side of things. The council also aimed to make non-mainstream films more widely available to audiences. They also worked in the area of education and training by doing school programmes that would allow youths to not only watch the films that the UKFC thought were important for
them to watch, but often had professionals of the industry talking to them about it. This has, no doubt, got youths interested in making a career for themselves in the industry. They also funded the British Film Institute, helping them build the heritage of British film. Together, they try "to help UK audiences enjoy the best of British and world cinema".

While I still enjoy the films that Hollywood sends over the pond and continue paying (far too much!) to see them, I cannot help but think that other industries do not get a say. The only times we see Asian films, for example, being released to a mainstream audience is when someone with a name "presents" it to an audience (for example, Quentin Tarantino presents Hero. Fantastic film!). So for the government to create something to develop the British Film Industry was something I greatly admired about them. It is difficult enough to get funding for a film even if we weren't in this economically limping climate because the Film Industry as a whole is one of the greatest money-making ventures in the world. I know they don't fully fund films but they do put in a (very) helping hand into getting great films out there.

Beneficiaries included Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley), Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton) and Shane Meadows (This is England). And the Premiere Fund was worth a few quid for projects deemed to have commercial and international appeal: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Dorian Gray, The Escapist...

But lets all relish the UKFC-funded film that is in my Top 10 of all time...

So overall... the new government are now utter arseholes! Nuff said!

So it isn't a long argument I can put forth. Lets face it, I'm not great at trying to look like I know what the fuck I'm blogging about. Maybe I should just stick to the reviews and the odd geeky post :)

Amezzeray Out...