25 February 2011
BFI statement and open letter to the film industry in response to DCMS announcement on film
Greg Dyke, Chair of the BFI, said: “This decision is a great vote of confidence in the BFI. It is a bold move to create a single champion for film in the UK and we welcome it. We want to achieve greater coherence across the whole film sector and to strike a balance between cultural and commercial. We see an opportunity to reduce overhead costs which in turn will allow us to put more of the Lottery funds into frontline activities and provide greater public value. It is our aim to increase the Production budget for film from £15 million to £18 million in the coming year. This is possible because of the cut in overhead costs.”
You will have heard that in a speech he gave this morning, Ed Vaizey has asked the BFI to take responsibility for film policy in Britain. Under this umbrella is the distribution of Lottery funding. Also included are certification, the MEDIA desk, support for film in the nations and regions, and education.
It is a bold move to create a single body to champion film across the whole of the UK and provide a clear focus internationally.
In his speech Ed also confirmed an ongoing commitment to the tax breaks and he reaffirmed that lottery funding is expected to increase from £27m currently to over £40m by 2014. We obviously welcome both decisions.
This move will mean a major transformation for the BFI. In the immediate term we will be working closely with staff at the UK Film Council to make sure that the skills, expertise and knowledge needed for this new world are retained. For some time we have deliberately held back from making new appointments to the BFI Board, but now that we understand the full scope of our new responsibilities, we can begin the process of recruiting the new Board members. In particular we will be looking to appoint new Governors who are active in the film industry.
Also in the short term, we hope to make more money available for film in the coming year, increasing the size of the Production Fund in 2011/12 from £15m to £18m – that’s an increase of 20%. This is possible because we will be making significant overhead savings.
We are looking forward to working even more closely with our colleagues in each of the Nations and with those across the English regions through the new 'Creative England'. We currently have a good relationship with Film London that is set to be come stronger and this announcement from Government has already become a catalyst for a new drive to promote British film, with initial pledged partnership commitments from BBC Worldwide, BAFTA and Odeon plus, we anticipate, many others.
Of course all of this is subject to the inevitable process of due diligence which will take several months, but we aim to move quickly and to work in an inclusive and collaborative way to develop a new, exciting and coherent vision for film in Britain going forward.