Safe in their hands?

Now that the archive is apparently safe in the government’s hands (see Government support for the archive; incidentally, Film was the penultimate item on Parliament’s agenda yesterday, below the Olympics and above Animals), the time is right for public discussion about the future of the BFI’s other key cultural and educational activities. The Realignment Plan’s Phase One consultation period was due to end on 22 July; management should now be engaged in a review of the Phase One plans.

Their announcement of the results is eagerly awaited by all concerned. BFIwatch has opened up the issue of the BFI’s central role in international moving image culture, and the devastating impact that the Realignment Plan would have on its identity and on the film and television education community. The future of the institute has become a talking point around the world in press reports and website discussion forums.

Whether BFI management is prepared to take on board the concerns expressed by stakeholders and others will become clear soon. Our screen heritage will be enhanced not only by the preservation of film and television footage, but through the nurturing of the whole range of integrated activities and resources currently offered by the institute, which are acknowledged to be among the best in the world.

The pledging of government support for the national archive is admirable. Now those who hold the BFI’s future in their hands need to be made aware of the bigger picture. The British Film Institute itself is a ‘national treasure’ whose vital contribution to our moving image culture must not be sacrificed.

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