- UK Film Council
The UK Film Council (UKFC) was set up in 2000 by the Labour Government as a
Non-Departmental Public Bodyto develop and promote the film industry in the UK. It is constituted as a private company limited by guarantee governed by a board of 15 directors and is funded through sources including The National Lottery. John Woodward is the Chief Executive of the UK Film Council.
In its own words, the aim of UKFC is:
"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."
UKFC has a mandate that spans cultural, social and economic priorities.
UKFC administers and funds a range of different activities, including:
Arguably the most visible activity of UKFC is its direct funding for feature and short films. There are 3 Funds offering around £17m Lottery funding per year for the production and development of films.
The Development Fund aims to broaden the quality, range and ambition of British film projects and talent being developed. More specifically, the aim is to raise the quality of screenplays from the UK through targeted development initiatives. The annual budget for the fund is £4 million. On the inception of the UKFC this figure was £5 million, with the Development Fund using the extra £1 million to directly fund training in development. In 2002 this £1 million was rolled out of the Development Fund into a general film training budget controlled by Skillset, the Sector Skills Agency for the audiovisual industries. The loss of this specialised development-dedicated training budget meant the break-up of the previously successful network of film screenwriting workshops, writers' groups and "bottom up" film-practitioner training initiatives. The last five years have seen the transfer of development training budgets out of the film industry into film schools and non-specialist academia. The success or otherwise of this profound change in the structures of development training has never been quantified. In relation to the positive effect or otherwise of UK Film Council investment in development in the UK Film Industry, this too has never been analysed or quantified. To date, £38 million has been invested by the UK Film Council Development Fund with no detailed study published of its effect, efficiency or return.
The New Cinema Fund which aims to support creativity, innovation, new talent and ‘cutting edge’ filmmaking. The annual budget for the fund is £5 million. Feature film funding is central to the Fund's role, but it also support over 100 short films each year through its short film schemes: two flagship schemes,
Cinema Extremeand the Completion Fund and the devolved schemes Digital Shorts Scheme and Digital Shorts Plusadministered via the regional screen agenciesand national screen agencies.
The Premiere Fund aims to play a meaningful creative and business role from the development of projects through to marketing and distribution, in the production of feature films that can attract audiences the world over. The annual budget for the fund is £8 million
The UK Film Council's International Department (previously known as the British Film Commission) works to ensure that the UK remains an attractive production base for international films. Including encouraging and supporting international films being made in the UK, strengthening the UK's production infrastructure, promoting UK talent and product around the world, working with the UK's Government to ensure that film friendly policies are in place and reviewing and developing international co-production treaties (allowing UK to make films with other countries).
Exhibition & Distribution
The UK Film Council supports the distribution and exhibition of specialised film in the UK and has launched various schemes to do this, including:
In 2002 the Prints and Advertising Fund which offers £2million per year to offer support for distributors for extra prints and advertising for specialised films which otherwise would have limited releases across the UK.
In 2003 the Cinema Access Programme was launched, a half million pound fund dedicated to improving access to cinema for people with disabilities, specifically the deaf and the blind.
In 2004 the Digital Fund for Non Theatrical Exhibition was launched, a half million pound fund to help expand activities e.g. by film societies, in order to bring viewing opportunities to small, rural areas across the whole UK that may not be able to support a full-time cinema.
In 2005 the Digital Screen Network an £11.5 million scheme was set up to create a network of 250 screens dedicated to the exhibition of specialised films in locations across the UK where there is no such provision currently. The intention is that this will make it easier to show British films in the UK as the distribution will be through electronic means rather than the transfer of physical film reels.
Education & Training
The UKFC also funds the
British Film Institute, Skillsetthe sector skills agency for the audiovisual industry and First Lightoffering film-making opportunities to children.
Regional & National Film Activity
The UKFC funds nine
regional screen agenciesvia its Regional Investment Fund for England (RIFE) which deliver the Council's activities within each English region. It also funds activity in the UK nations via Scottish Screen, Northern Ireland Film and Television Commissionand the Film Agency for Wales.
The UKFC also acts as an advocacy body for the country’s film industry. In 2004 UKFC criticised the
BBCfor not having done enough for UK film making. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/3756764.stm] Notable achievements in terms of UKFC's advocacy role include the re-negotiation of tax incentives for film-making in the UK.
* [http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/ UK Film Council website]
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