Monday, 26 July 2010

From the Coalition, with Love

Fish Tank one of many British Films funded by the Film Council

Does anybody else get the distinct impression that Britain is slowly shutting down?  After ploughing through a fairly traumatic recession along with many other countries across the World, 2010 was beginning to look up for the Nation, until the election that is.  This isn't a jibe as to who our Government is and who I think it should be, as I don't believe in forcing my political opinions on anybody.  To be honest I'm not sure I'd even have an answer anyhow but I do feel that it is important to address the issues at hand, the latest being the announcement of the abolishment of the UK Film Council today.

For weeks now we have been privy to the cuts being made across the country, some of which I agree with, others not so much.  Realistically, we all know that I'm not about to star in some major motion picture nor am I trying to fund an independent film but as an actress this news has hit me hard.  I am not by any means suggesting that in comparison to cuts amongst police, health workers and school budgets that this is anymore news worthy but I do feel that saying goodbye to the 75 employees and the minimum of £15 million pounds they invest each year into the British Film Industry is more than just a little shortsighted. 

The UK Film Council, primarily is responsible for helping to fund training for those that want to break into the industry and promoting our films abroad as well as us as a film making location.  By doing so it is generating revenue into our economy, something that I think we can all agree, is beyond important right now.  We have a Nation of talented, enigmatic and mostly out of work industry professionals that cover everything from artiste to production and already we are not utilising them, so just imagine the effect of this latest news.

Is the industry over capacitated?  Yes.  Are there people that shouldn't be following their dreams because they don't have one ounce of talent?  Yes.  Are there people more talented than me?  Of course.  But how am I, my friends or the rest of the UK arts industry meant to get ahead when yet another road block is being placed in an already challenging career path?  Jobs are already sparse due to lack of tv dramas and over emphasis on what can only be described as an unhealthy obsession with watching wannabes or has beens being bored 24/7 or eating slugs.  They can be entertaining but should they be so entertaining that our tv is saturated with it and at the expense of creating something new and giving actors and crew a chance to work?  Therefore our recent interest in building our film industry is crucial to many.

This isn't a race against America and Hollywood but if it were we would be performing worse than we did in the World Cup.  We spend a great deal of time watching and anticipating the latest Hollywod blockbusters, which a lot of the time are cliched, unimaginative and regurgitate the same actors.  Recently we have been  builidng a platform for ourselves by saying to the World "we have something to offer to film! We are a force to be reckoned with!"  in order to boost the industry in this country and showcase the talent we can provide and it's paying off, literally.  Although I know this won't just stop, I am at a loss as to how it can continue and develop without a body of people focusing on doing just that.  The Government have explained that there will still be film funding but through other means.  It all sounds pretty vague to me and no doubt a sign that yet another strained employee will be forced to take on more tasks in less time with less funds, therefore highlighting my initial worry that the energy and focus just will not be there, eventually leading to less productions, less opportunites, less UK locations being sought after and of course less revenue for our economy.  This will have a knock on effect for the obvious and the not so obvious.  After all we can't forget the hundreds of people that a film set employs, from actor to caterer, therefore inevitably shutting down more than just an integral part of our arts industry but some of our small independant companies too.

Just wake me up when Britain's open for business again.

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