Government Names Film Policy Review Board

Minister for the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey has announced plans for a film policy review to be led by former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith. Smith will chair an eight-strong panel of film industry experts, including Julian Fellowes and representatives from the new Board of the British Film Institute (BFI). The panel will look across the film industry considering development and production, distribution and exhibition, and inward investment. It is expected to report by the end of the year.

According to Vaizey: “This has been an excellent year for British film at the awards ceremonies and we can be really proud. But this success masks the underlying problems that the industry continues to face. British film-making is still not as profitable as it should be for British film-makers and there remain significant challenges in getting productions off the ground. Though many issues are for the industry to resolve, the Government can play a big part in helping to make things better. Through this review, Chris Smith will bring the different branches of the industry together to identify what the key problems are and then look at how these can be tackled. We need to work hand-in-hand with the recently strengthened BFI and the industry to find solutions and make sure that the Government has a framework of policies that support successful business models, nurture our celebrated film talent, contribute to economic growth and create a flourishing film culture across the whole of the UK.”

Chris Smith added: “I’;m delighted to be leading this review. As we’;ve seen from recent awards, British film at its best can beat the world. But how can we ensure that it’;s always able to achieve its best: that’;s the crucial question. How can Government and the industry work together to do so? We want to hear from the industry, film-makers, experts, audiences, and from all who have a contribution to make to the debate. Getting the right framework in place for supporting British film is the challenge we aim to address.”

The BFI will be responsible for setting and implementing detailed delivery plans within the new framework, which will be driven by the challenge to make best use of increased Lottery funding becoming available after the 2012 Olympic Games. Lottery money for British film will increase by about 60 per cent by 2014, to around £43m a year. Chair of the BFI, Greg Dyke said: “The BFI is very keen to work with Chris Smith on the policy review, which will look at how the film industry in Britain can grow further. We welcome being fully involved in the process and are glad that three of our governors will be on the panel and that we will be leading on part of the review itself in the areas of learning and audience engagement. During this time, we will be developing the BFI’;s own strategic forward plan, which will obviously be influenced by the Government policy review.”

The review panel will comprise: Will Clarke, Independent Cinema Distributor, founder and former CEO of Optimum Releasing; Julian Fellowes, writer and actor; Matthew Justice, UK Film Producer and MD of Big Talk Productions; Michael Lynton, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment; Tim Richards, Chief Executive of Vue entertainment; Tessa Ross, Channel 4 Controller of Film and Drama; Libby Savill, Head of Film and Television at Olswang; and Iain Smith, film producer and Chair of the British Film Commission Advisory Board.

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