Scottish producers in Canneshave issued a stinging rebuke to national film agency Scottish Screen over itsdelay in revealing its long-term plans for feature film production.
"Again and again(in Cannes), we have been asked what is happening with Scottish Screen. We don't quite know," said Mark Cousins of 4 Ways Productions.
"The value of cinema inScotland is being diminished," said Catherine Aitken of bluewonder films.
In recent months, productionfunding at Scottish Screen has been put on hold while the organisation conductsan internal review. Later this week, the agency will go "live" again whenScottish Screen chief executive Ken Hay reveals the agency's funding plans.
Producers in Cannes havesuggested that this should have been sorted out before the festival began. "Therehas been too much delay and we have been made to look foolish," saidCousins.
Defending his approach, Hayyesterday said that Scottish Screen will invest "up to £2 million" ($3.7m) inScottish feature film production over the next 12 months.
"The message is that we'reabsolutely committed to film and television production," he insisted.
Hay added that ScottishScreen is now giving a higher priority to education, skills and developmentactivities. Scottish Screen is also hatching a number of digital distributioninitiatives, including plans to provide digital content on websites, mobilephones and portable DVD players. "It's not purely about production," hecommented. "There is no point in investing in talent unless you reach theaudience."
There has been widespreaddisquiet over plans announced by the Scottish executive earlier this year tofold Scottish Screen into a new, super-agency, Creative Scotland, alongside theScottish Arts Council. "The film side seems to have lost its importance,"saidAitken.'
Scottish Screen investedaround $560,190 (£300,000) in Andrea Arnold's Cannes contender, Red Road. Other productions Scottish Screen has also boardedrecently include the Weinstein Company's Alec And May and David Mackenzie's Hallam Foe.