According to the DCMS press release, the UK Film Council will be abolished in order to establish "a direct and less bureaucratic relationship with the British Film Institute. This would support front-line services while ensuring greater value for money." The release notes: "Key activities currently carried out by the UK Film Council will continue, including Lottery funding and work in support of film certification for tax purposes. DCMS will now consider options for transferring those responsibilities to other organisations. As a charity, the British Film Institute (BFI) is not within the scope of this review, but the Government is committed to its long term future. DCMS will now consider how to build a more direct relationship between the BFI and Government."
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt says that "many of these bodies were set up a considerable length of time ago, and times and demands have changed. In the light of the current financial situation, and as part of our drive to increase openness and efficiency across Whitehall, it is the right time to look again at the role, size and scope of these organizations."
Meanwhile, Tim Bevan of the UKFC calls the move a "bad decision." He continues: "People will rightly look back on today's announcement and say it was a big mistake, driven by short-term thinking and political expediency. British film, which is one of the UK's more successful growth industries, deserves better."
The council's accomplishments and initiatives include funding over 900 films like Bend It Like Beckham and The Last King of Scotland, and investing in digital cinemas which has given Britain the most digital screens of any European country. As Variety reports, the UKFC has 75 staff, and roughly $248 million in lottery funding. Bevan says his "immediate priority" is to "press the government to confirm that the funding levels and core functions that are needed to underpin British film are locked-in."
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