Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Ed Vaizey Vs Dirty Harry
The announcement of the abolition of the UK Film Council has created a lot of heat for the new Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. Perhaps unsurprinsignly, actors, directors and producers on both sides of the Atlantic have written letters to the Governement protesting the move (including Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg), and a wide public campaign against the closure has swept Facebook and other social media platforms.
Ed Vaizey has reprimanded the UKFC for using public funds to lobby against its own closure, writing a letter to Chairman John Woodward. Apparently the UKFC PR machine has been briefing Hollwyood figures about the implications of the closure in terms that endanger future American productions in this country.
Whatever you think of the role of the UKFC, it would seem to this blogger that the UKFC is simply looking out to save its own jobs, and the Government got itself into a fight that it wasn't prepared for. You don't want Dirty Harry saying you've made a mistake.
The real questions should be about public funding, and where is it going? Will the BFI receive the cash once allocated to the UKFC? Will the 20% tax benefit remain in place (the biggest chunk of public funding for film comes from this tax credit)? The debate has gotten lost in the celebrity-driven furore and the clever press manipulation by the UKFC. Show us the money!