The announcement yesterday from Jeremy Hunt that the UK Film Council is to be abolished came as one heck of a shock. After a couple of appalled, sweary outbursts on Facebook and Twitter, I had a nose at the Wikipedia entry and had a bit of a think about what it is and what it does.
Film-makers like Michael Booth don’t seem too bothered. In fact, he and many others are looking on it as good news. Another X&HTeam-mate, Nick Scott, has also pointed out that his major source of funding isn’t the Film Council. It’s Full Tilt Poker. Both these gentlemen have found innovative ways to get their films funded and out to their audiences that don’t include an agency they viewed as bloated, corrupt, and in Michael’s case a shill for US interests.
It’s true that for the kind of film makers that I count as friends, the end of the Film Council can be met with a cautious cheer. Accusations of cronyism and snobbery have been rife since the council was formed ten years ago. You’re fine as long as you want to make a certain kind of film, with a certain approach. Let’s look at the kind of films that have benefitted from Film Council funding over the past decade.