Tuesday, 28 July 2009
When I say that the balance of public funding for the film industry is out of whack and that production receives a disproportionate amount of the funds available, I am not making this stuff up. The UK Film Council, in their 2009 Statistical Yearbook, outline public spending on film in 2008 as follows:
Production - £159.2
Distribution & Exhibition - £35.2
Training and skills - £21.4
Education - £18.4
Admin - £17.9
Archives - £12.1
Script development - £7.7
Export promotion - £6.7
Business support - £5.6
Notice how distribution and exhibition are bundled together. The figure of £35.2 million doesn't reflect the breakdown between the two completely different industries, and nowhere in the report is the split shown. Since 2006/07, when the UKFC spent £11 million on the Digital Screen Network, there hasn't been almost any investment in exhibition at all, despite the danger of closing many single screen and independent cinemas find themselves in, particularly in small towns and rural areas.
Another fact hidden by these figures is that the figures for training, script development, export promotion and business support are all accessories to production. None of these were available to exhibitors.
With multiplexes not supporting any British cinema apart from the Potters and the Bonds, where are all these fantastic homegrown pictures meant to be screened?