Government put its weight behind hiring British videos

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The Independent Online
The Government yesterday launched a new drive to persuade customers in video shops to buy or hire British films in preference to Hollywood blockbusters.

Tom Clarke, the films minister, announced last night that the first National Video Week was being organised for next summer to raise the profile of the British film industry.

Senior figures in the video industry admitted yesterday that while British films are becoming increasingly popular overseas, video shops in Britain often leave critically acclaimed British films out of sight while showcasing the action and adventure diet of Hollywood. British films were widely regarded as being "too much effort" for viewers while American movies were seen as a "safe bet". As a result, they said, well-received films such as Secrets and Lies and Brassed Off, are losing vital revenue.

Mr Clarke said: "In 1996 the video industry was worth an amazing pounds 1.3bn and it continues to grow at more than twice the rate of inflation. It is a significant source of revenue not just for films but for classic television drama, for sport, for music, and for children's programmes." He was speaking at an awards dinner for the British Video Association, which honoured Desmond Llewellyn - who played the part of Q in the Bond films - for his contribution to the British film industry.

The National Video Week will be focused on a gala festival in Battersea Park, London, designed to promote British films.