UK film industry critical of how PM defines success


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Directors, actors and critics hit back at David Cameron's call for film funding to focus on "commercially successful" pictures, arguing it would "dilute the quality of the product and mean "we won't move forward culturally".

Speaking at Pinewood Studios ahead of the publication of a review into film policy, the premier paid tribute to the British film industry, saying it made a £4bn annual contribution to the economy and an "incalculable contribution to our culture".

However, he also said that funding should focus on "helping UK producers to make commercially successful pictures that rival the quality and impact of the best international productions".

British director Sally Potter, whose 2009 film Rage starred Jude Law and Judi Dench, said: "The success of a film cannot be measured in purely financial terms. The search for pure profitability as the ultimate criteria for cinematic success is a bankrupt way of thinking for an industry that is, by its nature, volatile, ephemeral and unpredictable."

How Mr Cameron expects the investors in films to better know in advance which films will be commercially successful is not clear and has left many in the industry confused.

Eddie Redmayne, who has recently starred in My Week with Marilyn and was yesterday shortlisted for the Bafta's Rising Star Award, said: "If you look at The King's Speech, that's a great model, but who was to know that it would be as successful as it was? I think that the clout the Brits have abroad in Los Angeles... comes about through brave decisions and bold mistakes. If everything is to be commercially minded then of course it's going to end up diluting the quality of the product and mean we don't move forward culturally."

Former Labour Culture Secretary Lord Smith's review was commissioned to find out how the Government can offer better support to UK film-making.