Friday, 21 August 2009
Yesterday the Film Minister Siôn Simon said that plans to merge the UK Film Council and the British Film Institute were being drawn up for later this year. Both Tim Bevan, chairman of the UKFC, and Greg Dyke, of the BFI, expressed delight at the idea.
The minister said: The overall remit of the BFI and UKFC will not be reduced. The proposal is for a streamlined organisation, which can spend more of its money on film and services and less on infrastructure, and in turn offer better support for Britain's film culture and promotion of its film industry.
I can't say I am surprised. With the Government looking to cut funding for the arts across the board, it does make sense to combine the two bodies. There will obviously be many people who see the merger in negative terms. While the UKFC has only been around since 2000, the BFI is a legendary, well-respected British institution that's been keeping the cinematic flame alive in this country since 1933.
While the UKFC is the perfect example of Government policy in action, the BFI has a more independent streak, with a less commercial and results-oriented modus operandi. How these two very different institutions will happily co-exist under the same roof remains to be seen.
I always thought there were too many acronyms for the film industry in the UK and some streamlining is necessary - as long as it doesn't come at the price of losing such an important cultural stalwart as the BFI.