MUMBAI: The UK Film Council published its three year plan and launched its new £15 million film fund. In developing the final plan, the UK Film Council spent three months consulting on the proposals, engaging with hundreds of people from across the film sector, facilitating more than a dozen consultation sessions and attracting almost 1,000 responses.
The plan opens up for business a £15m-a-year Film Fund (topped up further by film recoupment) for emerging, experimental and world class filmmakers; ring-fences money for development; confirms production companies will for the first time automatically receive a significant share of the UK Film Council’s recoupment from all feature film investments they are involved in, following State Aid approval of the measure by the European Commission; sets up a think tank chaired by Tim Bevan to identify new policy initiatives to grow independent UK film companies of scale; proposes a national web-based talent showcase, to be launched in autumn 2010, to unearth fresh talent and to broaden the diversity, reach and the opportunities available to all filmmakers who are keen to engage with one another in a national filmmaking community; confirms £5m is allocated to the new Innovation Fund, which will launch in autumn 2010 (more details to follow); provides £500,000 for film exports for each year of the plan; confirms that 100% of recoupment from the Prints & Advertising Fund – which widens and supports the distribution of selected specialised films and British films – will like the Film Fund, top up that fund’s budget.
UK Film Council chairman Tim Bevan CBE said, “We’ve set out a renewed mission, a new set of priorities, and a new way of working. With the right level of support, a successful British film industry can continue to help get the UK out of recession, drive innovation and create more highly-skilled jobs. Further tough choices probably lie ahead, but having reduced our overheads by 20% and positively responded to the needs of British filmmakers we’re now in the best place we can be to support and promote UK film in the years ahead.”
UK Film Council chief executive officer John Woodward announced that the new £15m-a-year Film Fund had opened its doors for business. Managed by a new team of experienced senior production and development executives, the fund has introduced a brand new online application process in which applicants will set out their creative and strategic visions for their film.
Woodward commented: “The new Film Fund’s primary focus is creative excellence. Tanya and her team will support filmmakers who want to put British filmmaking at the centre of our national culture and on the international map. The aim is for the Film Fund to attract the best talent, encourage creative risk taking, and deliver great films to audiences.
“Joining Tanya in the search for creative excellence will be a team of three Senior Production and Development Executives with an impressive and broad range of film industry expertise. Natascha Wharton, Lizzie Francke, and Chris Collins each have big production successes under their belts – together, it’s a team that will provide a wide range of expertise and tastes as well as a supportive, energetic and ambitious home for British filmmaking talent.
“The team will all work across the full range of projects in production and development, but individually they will also have specific responsibilities.”
Natascha Wharton will focus on development, Lizzie Francke will focus on experimental feature length films, national engagement and showcasing new talent and Chris Collins will focus on ideas for future film practices for both emerging and established filmmakers, from micro / low budget features and shorts, through to 3D blockbusters.
The Film Fund is open for applications from 1 April, but it will be presenting a more detailed strategy to the UK Film Council Board in the coming months. It has already been agreed that a portion of the £15m budget will be ring-fenced for development – although there will be no automatic assumption that projects developed will become films that the fund would then invest in at the production stage. The remaining budget will be safeguarded for the Film Fund’s own production investments. Further details will be announced in the coming months, in addition to details of the Film Fund’s non-London investment target and how the new online showcase will operate.