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Cameron calls for tighter focus from UK’s film industry funding

PM visits Pinewood studios and backs review’s call for lottery cash to go to those firms producing films with box office draw

David Cameron will urge the British film industry on Wednesday to make more films with mainstream appeal.

During a visit to Pinewood studios in west London, the prime minister will meet small and medium businesses in the £4.2bn UK film industry, and suggest he supports the expected findings of a review that aims to rebalance the industry’s national lottery funding in favour of supporting independent pictures that have mainstream potential. Successful film companies would receive greater support, rather than government funding going to unproven film-makers.

Announcing the review in May 2011, arts minister Ed Vaizey said the industry was “still not as profitable as it should be for British film-makers”.

The review is led by former culture minister Lord Chris Smith with eight industry experts including Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, and is expected to report next week. In its recommendations is thought to be a proposal that lottery funding support more mainstream films with a view to ensuring such companies becoming a commercial success. While there may also be support for what sources call “culturally rewarding films”, the critics will question whether any body can guess which films may go on to find big audiences.

The government believes that if film companies can grow larger they have greater clout.

In 2010 the UK film industry brought in more than £1bn of production investment from overseas. The King’s Speech, released last year, was the highest grossing independent British film and was awarded four Oscars. Between January and October, British films topped the box office charts for a total of 20 weeks.

The review is also expected to call for the British Film Institute to develop an export strategy to raise the profitability of the British film industry.

Cameron will say: “Our role, and that of the BFI, should be to support the sector in becoming even more dynamic and entrepreneurial, helping UK producers to make commercially successful pictures that rival the quality and impact of the best international productions.

“Just as the British Film Commission has played a crucial role in attracting the biggest and best international studios to produce their films here, so we must incentivise UK producers to chase new markets both here and overseas.” © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds