Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Slash and Burn
The Department of Culture Sports and Media announced cuts last week to its budget, of which around 50% come from the British Film Institute. The biggest cut wasn't a regularly funded programme or organisation, but rather the Gordon Brown promise to give the BFI £45 million for a British Film Centre on the South Bank, which would have costed £166 million altogether.
The UKFC-BFI merger I wrote about last summer is also off the table, and DCMS minister Jeremy Hunt promises a review of film policy.
While I have always argued that UK film policy is fundamentally flawed, I fear that the coalition government, in the new climate, will take an even more harmful approach, so where Labour spent money in the wrong places, this crew might just cut off funding altogether, leaving the industry in the wasteland of the 1980s.
So while I never was a fan of the British Film Centre proposal to begin with, any cuts in film are always a worry. In the context of the larger cuts across the board this might seem petty, but remember that funding for film means jobs, means investment and ultimately Britain's capacity to compete in the new worldwide media landscape.