A withering attack has been launched on UK Government-backedplans to restructure the National Film and Television Archive (NFTVA). In astrongly worded document entitled "An Impending National Catastrophe: TheFate Of Britain's Film Heritage," a new lobbying organisation, theCuratori Lucis Group, has accused the UK Film Council and the British FilmInstitute (the bodies entrusted with the care of the NFTVA) of drawing up planswhich will "diminish the archive in every way."
The Group (whose supporters, according to its website,include Cannes director Thierry Fremaux, former archive exec David Meeker MBEand filmmaker Clive Donner) alleges that the Film Council and the BFI areengaged on a cost-cutting mission which will see up to 40 highly specialised stafflose their jobs. It also states that the BFI is hatching plans to sell off thepresent principal Archive site at Berkhamsted.
The CLG document concludes that the BFI plans, ifimplemented along the lines suggested in an interim document dated 26th March,will result in "a massive degeneration in standards of conservation,""a massive reduction in holdings," "a reduction of genuineaccess to the archive," "permanent loss, by redundancy...ofinternationally admired expertise," and the "imposition of a superfluousand costly new administrative stratum."
A BFI spokesperson dismissed the Group's allegations out ofhand. "There is no substance whatsoever to any of the allegations orassertions by the CLG," he told ScreenDaily.com.He stated that there is now the intention to invest "an extra £8m in thearchive in the next three years."
Conceding that there would be "some redundancies,"he insisted that there was no intention to sell the Archive site atBerkhamsted. "The whole point of the (BFI) review is to boost theArchive," he commented.