Will the UK Film Council closure leave British films out of the loop?
How much of a tragedy is the closure of the UK Film Council? Like so many things in indie film, it depends on who you ask.
You may not have head of the British group, but you've almost certainly seen the fruits of its efforts. A slew of acclaimed movies over the past decade -- James Marsh's Oscar-winning documentary "Man on Wire," Mike Leigh's quirky character drama "Happy-Go-Lucky" and Armando Iannucci's sharp government satire "In the Loop," to name a few recent ones -- all were made possible with money from the council, which explains why British luminaries (and a few non-British ones) have been up in arms about it.In a piece in today's Times, we and several colleagues explore reaction to the news that David Cameron's government will shut down the group that funded a host of indies over the past decade and also facilitated studio productions in the U.K.
Clint Eastwood reacted frustratedly last week, and a letter to the Daily Telegraph signed by more than 50 actors, including Emily Blunt and James McAvoy, expressed a sense of loss for the film world. "We all owe any success we have had in our acting careers, to varying degrees, to films supported by the UK Film Council. For some of us, it was the breakthrough role. For others, it was the dream part in a critically acclaimed and successful film."
The British government, for its part, says it will still fund film projects but wants to eliminate the overhead that comes with the Film Council.
Not everyone in British film circles laments the loss, saying that it's just the bureaucracy, not the money, that's going away. “I’m not sure that people are necessarily focusing on the fact that the government has indicated that they are keeping the funding,” Lindsey Posner, managing director at British agency Independent (it reps Danny Boyle and Mike Leigh, among others), told my colleague Janet Stobart. And "Leaving Las Vegas" director Mike Figgis was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that “a true independent cinema functions without milk from the [teat] of the government."
The young documentarian Chris Atkins says it's, well, a generational thing. "I have yet to hear a bad word about the end of the [Film Council] from anyone under 35,” he said, calling it “the worst form of new Labour wastage with layers of meaningless bureaucracy."
"In the Loop" is, of course, about government wastage, among other bureaucratic issues. So perhaps Iannucci has just found the subject of his new film. Here's hoping he gets the funding.
Photo: "In the Loop." Credit: IFC Films
RECENT AND RELATED:
Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.