Recommendations include pushing independent and specialised films to improve audience choice across the UK and the formation of a task force to resolve questions around Virtual Print Fees.

Two years after the publication of the Film Policy Review, an independent panel has delivered a follow-up report that sets new challenges for the UK film industry, BFI and government.

The panel of industry experts, initiated by the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport) and chaired by Lord Chris Smith, has issued a series of recommendations to increase audience choice further and build on the demand for British films in the UK and overseas.

These recommendations include:

  • the BFI should engage more with the larger commercial exhibitors and smaller distributors of British independent and specialised films to improve audience choice across the UK;

  • Film Nation UK should engage with Department for Education, schools and teachers to achieve capacity and scale for film education interventions;

  • a task force should be established to resolve questions regarding Virtual Print Fees;

  • Government should encourage broadcaster investment in British film production;

  • Government should develop an enhanced strategic vision for international film activity which reflects the convergence of TV and film and the opportunities to promote the UK’s offer to a range of key markets beyond the US.

The report acknowledges the “significant progress” that has been made on a number of the Panel’s original recommendations, such as the establishment of Film Nation UK (FNUK) to encourage young people to learn through and about film, and a number of initiatives to nurture new talent and skills, with the aim of ensuring the future success of the UK film industry.

But it adds that there is still more work to be done, and the report identifies the “lack of investment in film by broadcasters” and “the need for resolution of the long-standing Virtual Print Fee question” as areas of particular concern.

Chair of the Film Policy Review Panel, Lord Chris Smith said: “The Golden Globe, Bafta and Oscar nominations have shown us yet again the strength of British film talent and creativity.  And in recent years, we’ve had enormous success in attracting the rest of the world here to make their movies. 

“But there’s still more to do to make sure our own independent British film-makers can make their movies, develop audiences, and sell their films around the world.  That’s what lies at the heart of this follow-up report. 

“A lot has been done since we last reported, two years ago.  But there’s still a lot to be done.  Our report sets out what the most important things on that agenda are.” 

Welcoming the report, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Ensuring the film industry stays fighting fit is vital… I hope all parties involved will begin to address these follow up recommendations in earnest.

“The creative industries generate £8m an hour for the UK economy and these steps will help ensure the UK film industry continues to punch well above its weight.”