Leading practitioners within the UK film industry have backed a recent report by the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee.
The report, which posed the question ‘Is there a British Film Industry?’, calls for a continuation of the current system of tax breaks for film production in the UK, stating that with long lead times for inward investment, it is essential that Government commits to an evolution of tax relief for British films. In her response, Estelle Morris, Minister for the Arts, has called on the treasury to continue the scheme, known as ‘section 48’, saying “films about British culture won’t be made unless Britain makes them.” Whilst broadly supportive of the of the work of the Film Council, the report is critical of television companies, especially the BBC, for their lack of investment in film production and a reluctance on the part of broadcasters to screen British made movies. Sir Alan Parker Chairman of the UK Film Council said “…the key challenges are to encourage both the production and distribution of new UK films … (and) … to tackle the pitifully poor record of UK broadcasters’ investment in new distinctively British films”. The report also endorses a new £10m-a-year strategy designed to improve training and staff development for those working in the UK film industry (ArtsProfessional, issue 58, September 22) by the UK Film Council and Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries. Dinah Caine, Skillset Chief Executive, who gave evidence to the committee, said “the emphasis the report places on the value of high quality skills to the sustainability and growth of the industry is very positive for the future.”