More details of cuts to film-sector funding

From Screen Daily today:

Non-Lottery, non-BFI film funding to be chopped in half as part of UK’s budget cuts

21 October, 2010 | By Mike Goodridge

After yesterday’s sweeping cuts across the board by the UK government, it has emerged that film-sector funding outside Lottery funds and the British Film Institute (BFI) has been slashed by over 50%.

The Department of Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) has confirmed to Screen that the annual grant-in-aid budget for film in each of the next four years will be around £18.618m, down from £23.9m in the year 2010/11. After counting the BFI’s newly reduced annual budget, that leaves just £4.655m for all other film activities (excluding Lottery development/production funding which the government has pledged to maintain at current levels).

That £4.655m will have to cover:

  • inward investment and the work of the British Film Commissioner
  • National and regional screen agencies
  • research and statistics
  • film exports
  • certification (assessing which films qualify as British and are therefore eligible for Lottery funding and/or UK Film Tax Relief)
  • diversity initiatives
  • anti-piracy initiatives
  • co-production support
  • The UK MEDIA Desk activities
  • Sponsorship of work such as The UK Film Centre at Cannes

At the UKFC, these functions had a 2010/11 budget of £9.37m (that figure does include UKFC overheads).

The total grant-in-aid budget for film over the next four years will be £73.755m, of which £55.137m goes to the BFI.

Cuts had been anticipated but the 50% figure for non-BFI and non-Lottery funding is a stiff reduction and confirms the fear of many in the industry that, while Lottery funding and the tax certification are safe, other areas of the film business will suffer.

UKFC chairman Tim Bevan expressed his fears to a Parliamentary Select Committee earlier this week, saying “The UK Film Council created joined-up thinking. The great danger of the Film Council being closed down is various activities being put out to disparate bodies, and that joined-up thinking goes away.”

The challenge for the bodies which inherit these functions is to minimise the hit in funding by absorbing them into its own administration and management. (The Government says that it will announce its post-UKFC plans by the end of the year.)

Bearing in mind that the government has stressed the value of inward investment and the tax credit, the assumption is that they will remain robustly supported. Meanwhile regional screen agencies are anticipating a cut in funding along the same 15% lines as the BFI.

Non-Lottery, non-BFI film funding to be chopped in half as part of UK’s budget cuts | News | Screen

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Spending review cuts BFI budget

From Screen Daily today:

BFI budget to be cut by 15% over four years

20 October, 2010 | By Sarah Cooper

The British Film Institute’s budget is to be cut by 15% over four years, it was announced today (Oct 20) as part of the UK Government’s Spending Review.

On first glance, the grant in aid cut is not as significant as the BFI’s previously predicted 25%, although a spokesman for the organisation said that it was “still too early to say what the full impact is.”

Reacting to the news, the BFI’s director Amanda Nevill said that whilst the organisation had been “looking at the best options to protect our staff and all key activities, the reality is that the BFI will have to change shape and re-scale considerably over the next 12-18 months.”

She added that the organisation would “approach this challenge with imagination and courage and remodel the BFI so that its contribution to this country’s film success remains vital and valued.”

It is not clear at this stage whether any redundancies will be made.

The news comes during the middle of the BFI’s London Film Festival.

Today’s Spending Review also revealed that the total budget for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport will be reduced from £1.4bn to £1.1bn by 2014/2015.

Chancellor George Osborne said that there would be a 41% reduction in administration costs at the department. As part of the cuts, The Arts Council England will also see its budget being slashed.

He confirmed the abolition of 19 of the 55 DCMS-sponsored quangos. However the review shed no further light shed on a potential UKFC successor for the administration of the tax credit and lottery funding.

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt, said of the cuts: “To deal with an unprecedented financial deficit we have been forced to make some incredibly difficult decisions. By cutting bureaucracy and waste and prioritising the services valued by the public we will be able to protect our sporting and cultural core for the long term.”

The Arts Council England is having its budget cut by almost 30%.

BFI budget to be cut by 15% over four years | News | Screen