BFI Director Amanda Nevill circulated the following letter to BFI staff on 28 June:
The new Prime Minister’s announcement today that James Purnell is returning to DCMS, this time as Secretary of State, is very good news for the BFI. He is a big fan of archive film and a staunch supporter of the BFI, having been a member for some time. When he was Film minister he played a key role in getting the ball rolling for the BFI to lead a joined up Archive strategy for the UK and he knows only too well the difficult financial environment we operate within. I am very confident that he will fight our corner where it counts.
I hope you will have seen some of the coverage we have generated to support our case to Government for both capital funding for the archive and an increase in grant-in-aid funding. Although the press inevitably sometimes confuse the issues, the consistent message coming across loud and clear is that we are underfunded and that the collections and Library are of central importance to the BFI.
It is important that you know we have not been sitting still on any of the issues facing us. For well over a year many meetings have taken place directly with Ministers and with the UKFC to argue the case for more funding. We are not alone in facing the same challenges as all other national cultural institutions. However, the achievements of the past three years across the Archive, South Bank, Festivals and new digital initiatives have considerably strengthened our case in the eyes of our funders.
I am sorry that some of you have had to cope with negative and disparaging comments from (often anonymous) outsiders, both verbally and in print, which have sought to undermine what we do. In some cases these calls to action are well intentioned but unhelpful as they are driven by those not in full grasp of the facts as we face them. It would be ill-advised, therefore, to be drawn into responding at an individual level as it can only be damaging for the BFI and for colleagues.
We are delighted that Amicus will be building on the campaign to date and working with us on a joint campaign that is co-ordinated and effective, drawing on both press and political contacts to present a united front.