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 job cuts

From the Guardian today:

BFI to cut 37 jobs and close gallery

British Film Institute announces cost-cutting measures alongside plans to relocate library and enhance digital strategy

Catherine Shoard, Thursday 16 December 2010 14.52 GMT

Substantial job cuts, the closure of the BFI Southbank art gallery, and the relocation of the BFI library, were among measures announced today as part of the shakeup of the British Film Institute. The body is juggling both a 15% cut in its grant over the next four years, and the prospect of absorbing the majority of duties previously performed by the recently axed UK Film Council.

The redundancies of an estimated 37 people are part of a cost-cutting drive the BFI today ascribed to the decreased government grant, “successive years of zero increases in grant-in-aid funding and rising utilities and pension costs”. The closure of the gallery, which holds exhibitions of cinema-related artwork, was said to be part of an initiative to have the BFI concentrate on services it is uniquely placed to deliver.

These measures comes alongside an enhanced digital strategy, also announced today, which aims to generate revenue and improve access to the BFI’s substantial archive. There will also be a new membership drive and the BFI library, currently housed near Tottenham Court Road, will be transferred to the main Southbank site. A digital-on-demand service is also planned, as is the appointment of a director of BFI public programmes, who will be tasked with further integration of the BFI’s theatrical, distribution, digital and print activities.

Amanda Nevill, the director of the BFI, said: “It is imperative the BFI builds on its successes and remains commercially astute in this tough new environment. 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.”

Early in the new year, the BFI will advertise to recruit new governing board members to ease the transition period for the assumption of the UK Film Council’s duties.

BFI to cut 37 jobs and close gallery | Film |

BFI proposal for a new film era in the UK

From the BFI website today:

BFI proposal for a new film era in the UK

16 Dec 2010

We have announced measures to help us prepare for a new era for film in the UK, following the decision made by the Department for Culture Media and Sport to make the BFI the UK’s lead body for film. The proposals include an ambitious digital modernisation strategy, making the delivery of our services more efficient and a plan to grow income and increased free public access to the BFI Collections.

This is the critical first step for the BFI, as we adapt to a changed financial environment and position the organisation as the lead body for film in the UK. In this first phase, we are prioritising those activities that are core to the BFI, that are unique and that audiences most value.

Central to the strategy is continued investment in digital capability that will provide greater public access to the BFI’s film and knowledge collections and improved reach of its public programmes.

The BFI will build on its revenue-earning successes with a package of initiatives that includes a new Membership drive, introducing advertising opportunities onscreen and online, as well as an ambitious sponsorship and fundraising campaign. Additionally, brand new business opportunities are being developed to take advantage of the BFI’s expertise, skills and knowledge, through international partnerships and new digital business models.

The BFI’s long-standing, ambitious and successful drive to engage with more and different people is at the heart of a decision to relocate the BFI Library to BFI Southbank, where it can be tied more closely to growing audiences, the delivery of the cultural and education programmes and to the BFI Mediatheque. For dedicated researchers, a bespoke facility will be created at the BFI National Archive where the collections are physically held. A pioneering digital-on-demand service is also planned at BFI Southbank that will allow desktop delivery of the Collections. Over time, the ambition is to offer similar services at BFI Mediatheques around the UK.

These changes are being proposed against a backdrop of a 15% cut in our grant-in-aid over the next four years, successive years of zero increases in grant-in-aid funding and rising utilities and pension costs, which have created a widening gap in our budget. These new measures allow efficiencies, stimulate additional revenue and help us further reduce our reliance on public funding. Nevertheless, we anticipate the proposals will lead to a net reduction in our workforce of around 37 posts.

Amanda Nevill, Director of the BFI, said:

“It is imperative the BFI builds on its successes and remains commercially astute in this tough new environment. 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.”

In tandem, we are also making ourselves ready for the transition of responsibilities from the UK Film Council and further structural changes may be made following the due diligence period. Early in the new year, we will advertise to recruit new Governing Board members to guide us through the transition period and beyond. At the same time, an outline transition timetable will be published.

At the core of the proposals are:

1) A plan to bring greater coherence to the cultural programme across the whole of the BFI, a move which will also reduce costs and create more incentives for fundraising and philanthropy. A new post of Director of BFI Public Programmes will lead a unified team of programmers across cinemas, festivals, distribution, digital and print.

2) An aim to further increase the number of people across the UK and internationally who can engage with the BFI’s public programme and film culture. Digital technologies will play a critical part in this and the BFI proposes renewing infrastructure and investing in new skills.

3) Closure of the BFI Gallery at BFI Southbank as part of the prioritisation on those activities that only the BFI can deliver.

4) A proposal to move the BFI Library and reading room from its current location and create new facilities at BFI Southbank in the space currently used for the BFI Gallery.

5) Establishing a bespoke research centre for academics, the film industry and researchers in the heart of the BFI National Archive at Berkhamsted.

6) A stringent review of procurement processes to achieve economies; reducing overheads by making savings in support costs; boosting new business through the development of commercial opportunities both within the UK and internationally; a drive to increase fundraising income and philanthropy.

The proposals are subject to a period of staff consultation as a number of posts will be put at risk of redundancy from the end of January 2011. If accepted, the proposals will start taking effect from April 2011.

BFI proposal for a new film era in the UK | British Film Institute

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.