Details of the surprise announcement about the axing of the UK Film Council amidst dozens of other arts quangos.
23.58 With the Facebook group inching towards 5,000 members, and the petition well over half that, the web is awash with comment and analysis. Andrew Pulver, Ronan Bennet and John Woodward all have pieces in the Guardian, the BBC have rounded up some industry reactions and also put a few dozen UKFC short films to watch on Film Network.
18.05 The regional screen agencies are safe (for now), according to the DCMS in a quote published on Northern Media's website.
15.31 Questions over - with hints that the axe may not have fully fallen and a clear sign that there will be further be consultations.
15.15 The DUP's Ian Paisley is asking about the UKFC. Jeremy Hunt replies: 'We have not announced a decision, we have announced that we are considering doing this, as we want to hear everyone's views. The UKFC spent £3m on back office administration last year and we want to ask how that money could be better used to support filmmakers."
15.10 So that was a very brief statement. Nothing new learned. Except asking about England's 2018 World Cup campaign is 'a very good question'.
15.08 Now on to the World Cup 2018. What!?!
15.08 'Every penny to be spent frontline services and not on back office bureaucracy'.
15.06 'A brief statement'. Says Jeremy Hunt. Finally. He does use the phrase 'considering the closure of the UK Film Council' as if to say there is still room for discussion.
14.58 Ben Bradshaw, shadow culture secretary is asking if the DCMS is lobbying for larger shares of the budget than other departments. Bradshaw notes there is no-one from the LibDem front bench in the Commons. Bradshaw, openly gay, is calling them the Brokeback Mountain Coalition.
14.55 Creative Partnerships (a brilliant scheme) being discussed in the Commons. May the axe not fall upon them. Vaizey at least acknowledges there lots of 'good initiatives on the ground'.
14.52: House of Commons questions continue. Lots of interesting questions on media ownership, the BBC and the Digital Economy Bill but not about today's announcements, presumably will come at the end after pre-submitted questions are asked. My connection keeps dropping as well, there must be a lot of people viewing it.
14.04: John Woodward, CEO of the UK Film Council has sent an email to industry colleagues which includes a timetable for closure:
"The Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey, has said that the target is to have the organisation totally closed down with its assets and its remaining operations transferred out by April 2012. That does, at least, give us time to honour our current commitments and, as far as possible, to continue our funded support for film while the DCMS ensures an orderly transfer of remaining film functions to other Government departments and/or agencies. My one priority over the next few weeks will be to press the Government to confirm that the funding levels and core functions that are needed to underpin British film are locked-in.
"It’s important to stress that the Government has said it remains committed to both the current Film Tax Relief and to the principle of Lottery funding for film. To that end, our existing funded activities will continue to operate as normal while we work with the DCMS over the Summer to identify how they can guarantee both continuity and safe harbour for British film going forward.
"I completely understand that you will have lots of questions – but many of the answers will have to wait until the dust settles and the DCMS comes up with a new plan for film clearer in the months ahead. We will of course keep you abreast of further developments."
13.02 - UK Film Council statement. Responding to today’s announcement by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of plans to abolish the UK Film Council as one of 16 quangos cut by the DCMS, Tim Bevan CBE, co-head of Working Title and Chairman of the UK Film Council, said:
“Abolishing the most successful film support organisation the UK has ever had is a bad decision, imposed without any consultation or evaluation. People will rightly look back on today’s announcement and say it was a big mistake, driven by short-term thinking and political expediency. British film, which is one of the UK’s more successful growth industries, deserves better.
“Our immediate priority now is to press the Government to confirm that the funding levels and core functions that are needed to underpin British film are locked-in, especially at a time when filmmakers and film companies need more support than ever as they make the challenging transition into the digital age. To that end, we will work with the DCMS over the summer to identify how they can guarantee both continuity and safe harbour for British film.”