The Culture Secretary, who was speaking in London today, said that the Government had a “very clear idea” about its plans for public investment in the UK film industry.

Speaking at the Media Festival Arts in London today, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has given further detail about the coalition Government
decision to axe the UK Film Council. Hunt has also insisted that the Government has “a very clear idea” about its plans for public investment in the UK film industry.

These plans won’t be announced until after the public spending review is complete. However, Hunt made it clear that some of UKFC’s activities will continue. In particular, in what seemed like a clear reference to the work of the British Film Commissioner,  the Minister spoke of UKFC’s “very important work advising foreign studios about the tax credit system and to try to encourage them to make their films in the

Intriguingly, Hunt said that the Government was determined to support “culturally valuable films that will probably not make money but should
be made.”

Various organisations, among them the Arts Council, the British Film Institute and Nesta, are understood to be in the running to handlelottery investment in cultural film production. Hunt gave no hints as to which body will receive the lottery mandate.

Hunt said said that “the package” the Government will announce for film will address both cultural filmmaking and “British hits - the next
generation of Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

The Secretary said that he was “very concerned about the numbers of films that were being backed by the Film Council and never actually
released.” (He didn’t specify which films these were.It is understood that of the 215 films produced with UKFC funding, six have not been released in UK cinemas).

Hunt claimed that the UK Film Council had been spending “24% of the money it was investing in UK film on its own admin” and again drew
attention to the hefty six figure salaries paid to several UKFC employees. The real extent of the UKFC’s overheads has become a matter of intense debate in recent weeks. The film council itself has claimed its overheads are 9% of its budget, a figure a long way removed from the numbers being quoted by the DCMS.

He promised that the new film settlement would address”fundamental issues that I don’t believe were being addressed…how do we make sure that culturally valuable films actually get seen by the tax payers who are funding them and how do we make sure we get the next generation of successful British blockbustermakers.”

“Our commitment to the film industry is completely solid and we are absolutely determined to get the film industry to go from strength to
strength,” Hunt declared

In a separate development, British Film Institute sources have said that they expect the BFI to cut ties with the UKFC as early as April
next year. The BFI currently receives its grant-in-aid funding via the UK Film Council but from 2011 onward, the Institute anticipates that it
will have a direct relationship with the Department Culture, Media and Sport.