New Era newsletter issue 4

Issue 4 of the BFI’s New Era for Film transition newsletter circulated today details the new work activity, the new departments and their location. To access PDF click below.

New Era for Film issue 4

UKFC/BFI transition newsletter 2

The second issue of the BFI/UKFC transfer newsletter was circulated to staff yesterday. To access PDF, click below.

A New Era for Film issue 2

Dates for UKFC/BFI transfer announced

From today:

UK Film Transfers In April: Vaizey
Specific dates for the British Film Institute and UK Film Council’s transfer dates have been announced.  

From 1 April, the British Film Institute (BFI) will be appointed Lottery distributor for film, creative industries, the Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced.

Speaking at the recent British Screen Advisory Council Annual Film Conference, Mr Vaizey praised the work of the BFI, the UK Film Council and Film London for their work to ensure the transfer can take place the first day of the new financial year.

Based on current expectations, following the transfer the UK Film Council will close on 1 July.

Certification will also transfer to the BFI on 1 April, whilst the office of the British Commissioner will transfer to Film London.

Mr Vaizey said the Government is “absolutely committed” to continue supporting the British film industry, including through increasing the share of Lottery proceeds in film to 60% from £27M a year currently, to around £43m by 2014.

Mr Vaizey also spoke about the forthcoming film policy review, which will look at improving the sustainability of the industry.

“We need to continue to engage with the industry on how the Lottery distribution and recoupment policy can better contribute to support the indigenous industry.

“I want to work closely with the industry on this, which is why I’ve established a Ministerial forum to stimulate dialogue and consider key concerns,” he said.

During the speech Mr Vaizey also praised the many nominations for British films at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Oscars this year and highlighted innovative collaborations between film and other sectors, including cinemas opening their screens to live content such as opera.


UK Film Transfers In April: Vaizey – UK Broadcast Film and Television News

BFI library protest covered in the Independent

From the Independent today:

Protest over BFI library move

By Rob Sharp, Arts Correspondent

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Britain’s top film academics are protesting against plans to move one of Britain’s best film book libraries to a new location in a bid to save costs.

The British Film Institute (BFI) is mooting proposals to split the contents of its current library, at its base just off London’s Tottenham Court Road, between its National Archive Facility in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire and its premises on London’s South Bank. The move is part of a drive to cut costs by 15 per cent over the next year.

In a letter to the BFI seen by The Independent, 25 film studies professors, including the University of Southampton’s Professor Pam Cook, whose cinema books are required reading for film students nationwide, have damned the move.

“It’s as if the British Library were to move to Hertfordshire,” reads the letter. “The BFI National Library has underpinned the growth of UK film and moving image scholarship, which has in turn supported the UK’s thriving cultural and creative industries. We are not aware of any consultation with library users, who, incidentally, pay an annual fee for the service, still less with donors to the collection – some of whom made gifts because the BFI offered central London access.”

The BFI claims the move will increase public access to its collections and make delivery of its library services more efficient.

“It is imperative the BFI builds on its successes and remains commercially astute in this tough new environment,” said BFI director Amanda Nevill upon announcing the proposals late last year. “We have an incredible opportunity in the months and years ahead to create something very special for film in the UK and these proposals are both bold and necessary”.

The BFI will also need to lose 37 staff in the cost-saving measures, which will see a portion of the BFI’s books digitised. The institution is discussing its plans with a design consultant to see if a greater number of books can go on display at the South Bank location.

“Another solution must be found if the BFI insists on curtailing access to one of the UK’s key intellectual resources,” continued the letter. “A merger with the British Library seems the most promising solution. And the BFI must talk to users who are most directly affected by this disastrous decision and who, like us, can see the long-term and wide-ranging damage done by such a decision.”

Protest over BFI library move – News, Films – The Independent



BFI and BECTU in dispute

From BECTU’s journal Stage Screen & Radio December/January 2011 p. 5

British Film Institute in dispute over cuts

BECTU is in dispute with the British Film Institute over its approach to cost-cutting.  The government Spending Review cuts are not the fault of the BFI – but the way the cuts are managed is the responsibility of the BFI senior management.

National Official Pat Styles said: “This dispute arises as a result of the BFI’s inconsistent, opaque and dismissive attitude towards conducting meaningful consultation and constructive dialogue with the joint unions over the cuts programme for 2011-2015, and is a result of the BFI’s continual failure to respond in good time to our requests for information.”

Styles continues: “BFI management have the choice of working with the joint unions to mitigate against the damage caused by the cuts.

“If the unions are not properly engaged in this process, and if the BFI continues to avoid meangingfully consulting with the joint unions, the dispute will escalate.”

More on agencies involved in funding British cinema

From the Guardian yesterday:

British Film Institute to take over from UK Film Council
BFI will distribute lottery money to film-makers, the culture minister Ed Vaizey announces 

Mark Brown, Arts correspondent, Monday 29 November 2010 19.22 GMT

The British Film Institute will distribute lottery money to film-makers from next year, ministers announced today, ending – they hope – an acrimonious row that even prompted Clint Eastwood to write a concerned letter to the chancellor. 

The government revealed its plan to abolish the 10-year-old UK Film Council in July. Even those who sympathised with the decision criticised the lack of a plan for who would take over. 

Today the culture minister, Ed Vaizey, tried to alleviate those worries by announcing the BFI would take on most of the UKFC’s functions apart from the task of encouraging inward investment, which would be in the hands of Film London. 

Vaizey said the BFI would have to “change fundamentally” to be “more able to realise an exciting vision of a coherent, joined-up film industry”. 

It will be responsible not only for heritage and education, but for helping the production, exhibition and distribution of new British films. 

In a speech at Bafta’s headquarters in London, Vaizey said the intention was to build on the already considerable achievements of the British film industry. “Despite the success, we cannot be complacent,” he said. “The goal of a sustainable, independent British film industry remains as elusive as ever.” 

The BFI immediately announced a rise in the money available for new films in the coming year from £15m to £18m, made possible by the cut in overhead costs because of the film council’s abolition. 

More than a year ago the Labour government planned to merge the BFI with the film council, with the BFI as junior partner. Today’s announcement, a merger in all but name, puts the BFI in charge. 

Its chairman, Greg Dyke, said: “It makes sense for there to be a single voice for film in this country – and that’s going to be us.” He added: “We can certainly do it significantly cheaper … how much cheaper, we don’t know yet. The UK Film Council carried quite a large overhead.”

There are still lots of questions. How much bigger will the BFI have to become? How much more money will it get? How many film council staff will transfer?
Vaizey said he expected a detailed transfer plan to be sorted in the new year.
He reaffirmed that lottery funding for film would rise from £27m to more than £40m by 2014 and said there were no plans to change the tax credit scheme which has encouraged Hollywood studios to make films in the UK.


Vaizey praised Channel 4 and the BBC for its investment in film-making but said he could not understand why Sky did not make films. “As one of the country’s most innovative broadcasters, they would bring a new dynamic force to the table that would lift everybody’s game.”
The job of attracting foreign – principally Hollywood – studios to Britain will go to Film London, but Vaizey stressed that it would be working for the whole of the UK, not just the capital.

The announcements were generally welcomed by the industry. Film producer David Parfitt, incoming chairman of Film London, said: “The key thing for us is that the money is still there and there is a promise to increase it and also a guarantee of the long-term future of the tax credit. 

“Those are the things that the industry really wanted to hear.” 

There was a more understandably downbeat response from the UKFC as it continues to help out in its own abolition. Tim Cagney, managing director, said: “We are relieved that, after over four months of uncertainty, the government has made up its mind on where public support for UK film will sit. There are still many unresolved issues so, to benefit the industry and to protect our staff, we will continue to work with the relevant organisations on a smooth handover of film functions and expertise.” 

Privately, ministers acknowledge that the film council’s abolition was badly handled. It led to angry letters to newspapers, and the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, even travelled to Los Angeles to assert that the UK was open for business when it came to film.
Since then, Vaizey has consulted widely and also announced today that he was setting up a ministerial film forum to meet every six months or so to debate issues and concerns.
Vaizey also announced that the eight regional screen agencies outside London would be streamlined into a single body, Creative England.