Save British Film

I don't often air my political views on my blog as I didn't want to make it about that, I also figure my readers don't need to hear me ranting on every day. However, after today's news that David Cameron feels that only guaranteed commercially successful films should receive funding, that just really gets my goat!

Having worked in that industry for about 15 years, we constantly struggled to read exciting scripts of films that were actually being made. Those low budget ie no budget films, as I called them, were above and beyond  more interesting and challenging. As an agent I was frequently involved right at the beginning of the life of a film, from it's first read through to it's cast and crew screening, then more often than not that would be it. Time and time again great films, scripts and talent left by the wayside due to lack of support. Unlike a lot of other industries everyone that works in the arts is passionate and dedicated to their particular craft. With their profession being what they are and not what they do. I know because I didn't ever make millions but I took enormous pleasure, and it made my life worth it, when an actor made it or even made it happen for themselves.

I grant you there are also movies out there that aren't terribly good, but on the whole a good percentage of them deserve a chance. When you've got actors, crew, producers, directors all working for nothing to produce a great film, sometimes all they need to make it a commercially successful film is distribution and promotion. Distributors invariably have to pick films that will sell whether that is because they have a star name attached or a star director, that leaves the little guys fighting for survival that couldn't afford the big names. Perhaps we ought to focus on funds going towards distribution in order to give the exposure a lot of these films need. Without more coverage the general public is missing out on great works that could potentially make a great deal of money, look at Bend It Like Beckham which was a small budget film but struck a chord with the general public, made it big in the States and launched Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley.

The film industry contributed over £4bn to the British economy last year surely a bit more of that should be ploughed back into the arts. Ask a tourist what they'll do in London and invariably their agenda will consist of a trip to see a play or a musical or a film in Leicester Square. The arts should be treated as equals in our society, they should be supported, developed and not ignored. And that begins at the beginning. When young film makers start out they need all the encouragement we can give them, these are the guys that will go on to make films such as The King's Speech or Slumdog Millionaire. All well known directors start off small eventually making it big, let's not forget that Mr Cameron. Also when you have directors such as Ken Loach who clearly does not court international commercial success yet is one of this country's most respected directors how would you decide whether he should be a recipient of lottery money?  Answers on a postcard  please Mr Cameron.



image from brooklynindiehouse.com