British film took a direct hit from Conservative cost-cutting as it was announced the UK Film Council will be abolished by April next year. The UKFC offered key financial support to new and veteran filmmakers throughout pre-production to production, promotion, and distribution. It remains to be seen what affect this will have on the British Film Institute which relied heavily on UKFC funding.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, “In the light of the current financial situation, and as part of our drive to increase openness and efficiency across Whitehall, it is the right time to look again at the role, size and scope of these organisations.”
The UKFC was set up ten years ago to stimulate a competitive, successful and vibrant UK film industry, and to promote the widest possible enjoyment and understanding of cinema throughout the nations and regions of the UK.
The CEO of the UKFC, John Woodward, said that the decision was “short sighted and potentially very damaging”, and criticised the lack of notice or any period of consultation. Woodward added that “there is at present no roadmap setting out where the UK Film Council’s responsibilities and funding will be placed in the future”. Chairman Tim Bevan was equally critical calling the decision “a big mistake, driven by short-term thinking and political expediency”.