Letter: Return to Ealing

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your report 'Ealing's new comedies to laugh at everyone' (1 March) gives a nostalgic welcome to the revival of Ealing Film Studios. Perhaps a few laughable facts could have explained why this development 'is an enormous fillip for the British film industry'.

British films now account for less than 4 per cent of UK cinema box office returns - more than 90 per cent goes to US films - and nearly a quarter of British-made feature films are never shown in British cinemas. The near disappearance of 'the short' in cinema programmes has left few outlets for British shorts, the first step for many new film-makers. Meanwhile, the Government continues to tax film production in a way which either kills it or drives it overseas.

When leading French film-makers threatened to upset the Gatt negotiations, they were presented in the media here more as troublemakers than as heroes. The French claimed retention of subsidies to make films was a matter of cultural importance. The Americans said culture did not come into it - looking at many American films, this is probably true. The British quietly accepted the American line. Why?

Yours faithfully,

OBHI CHATTERJEE

Inner Eye Films

Sutton, Surrey

2 March

(Photograph omitted)

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