by Renee Israel
The UK National Lottery has pledged £285 million to the British film industry
in an effort to boost the industry. Cinemas located outside London will receive
financial support to allow them to show a wider range of films.
The British Film Institute (BFI) has said that cinemas outside London and the
Southeast primarily show Hollywood Blockbusters with a mere 7 percent of all
films screened being non-mainstream films. The move by the National Lottery is
aimed at broadening the range of film available; hence the plans for the
National Lottery to finance British films.
New Plan to be Called "New Horizons"
The five year plan, known as "New Horizons" also aims to broaden audience
choice and improve education.
Greg Dyke, Chairman of the organization that is responsible for the UK's film
policy admitted that when he joined the company there was a risk that the
British Film Institute would become the "London Film Institute."
Following the success of the film, The King's Speech, distributors and
multiplex chains are being negotiated with to give a higher status to British
films. According to Amanda Nevill, BFI Director, British films are "on a good
wave at the moment."
"If you look at the last ten years, the average market share for British
films in cinemas has been about 6 percent. Last year it was 13 percent."
This increase in figures can be attributed to films such as the King's
Speech, as well as The Inbetweeners Movie and the last film in the Harry Potter
BFI Commits to Boost Industry
The BFI has agreed to commit £4 million per annum to a Prints and Advertising
fund that has been put together in order to offer British films with potential
"breakout" capability national distribution. The BFI is offering "a new deal for
audiences" that will come from these moves.
As part of the plans, Mr. Dyke suggested that a network of "film hubs" could
be created across the UK that would be based at independent cinemas and would be
connected to community cinemas, film societies, universities and schools.
Village hall cinema clubs may receive funding that would allow them to expand
their range of films, including the funds to buy digital technology that would
allow them to screen classic films.
Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister, has shown his support of the plans. However, Ms.
Nevill discussed the difficulty in predicting the outcome of a film when it was
still in its funding stage.
"The thing about films is it's inherently risky. Nobody's yet come up with a
great magic formula," said Nevill.