In the same week that the Arts Council of England defers the publication of a document shedding more light on the proposed integration of the Regional Arts Boards into a centrally-driven arts funding structure (perhaps hoping to negotiate a truce with some of the more sceptical RABs and other disgruntled stakeholders before it unveils more detailed plans), the Film Council is celebrating the establishment of, and funding for a brand new network of regional film development agencies.
These will be autonomous bodies in each of the nine English regions - with the capacity to determine their own industrial and cultural priorities for film. So while ACE, with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight, is fighting tooth and nail to re-configure a funding system that it believes has led to duplication of effort, excessive costs and inequality of funding provision, the Film Council appears to have taken a diametrically opposed view in designing a new structure to support England?s filmmakers and presenters. No hint there of a central hub with regional offices to represent local needs ? but rather a categorical rejection of it, with John Woodward?s assertion that a devolved structure is the only way that the Film Council feels it can work with regional partners.
As a major funding partner of the Film Council, presumably ACE has had a pivotal role in designing the new structure. Wouldn?t it be interesting to hear exactly why (or whether) ACE feels it can endorse the new film funding structure, at the same time going to great lengths to extricate itself from a seemingly identical situation in arts funding?