Monday, November 29, 2010

BFI to take on Film Council role

Ed Vaizey, minister for Culture and the Creative Industries, has announced that the British Film Institute (BFI) will take on the work previously done by the UK Film Council (UKFC) which will be abolished by 2012.

Olivia Hetreed, Chair of the Writers' Guild Film Committee, reports.

Ed Vaizey spoke to industry this morning at Bafta. He talked of the success of the film industry and of the consultation so far. He namechecked a number of organisations, including producers' organisation PACT and their 'lock box' idea of giving producers funding control. He confirmed what everyone seemed to know, that BFI will take over most functions of the UKFC.

These include: distribution of Lottery funds, which will rise to £43 mill in 2014 (for all outbound not prod fund); certification of British films; media desk and funds for nations and regions. There will be no gap in Lottery funding. Skillset and First Light to continue. Film tax credit will also continue.

The regional screen agencies will be reorganised as Creative England with hubs in the north of England the midlands and the south.

Film London will take on film commission role of selling UK film facilities and personnel abroad.

Bafta, BFI and BBC Worldwide will work together to sell British films abroad.

Ed Vaizey said that he wants a ministerial film forum to meet every six months or so comp of the trade bodies and 'interesting personalities with something to say'. The first step will be an open process to appoint new board members then consultation on the detail.

No specifics were given on what is going from UKFC or how much they plan to save but all done and dusted by spring 2012.

I asked how Creative England would avoid the problems currently besetting Creative Scotland. Vaizey said Creative England will not take on Arts Council functions but be focused on the creative side of film, TV, games, the internet and publishing rather than taking on wider artistic admin.

In a BFI statement its chair, Greg Dyke, said that the production fund will increase from £15m to £18m in 2011/12 thanks to significant savings in overheads.

The UK Film Council has also issued a statement in response to Ed Vaizey's annoucement this morning.

Update: The Department for Culture Media and Sport website now has a report, Vaizey's full speech and full details of the reforms.

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