BFI Film Fund Chief Ben Roberts Waves Flag For New Spending Plans

By | Wednesday October 17, 2012 @ 9:08am PDT

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage

In a keynote at the Film Production Finance Market in London this morning, BFI Film Fund director Ben Roberts talked about plans for better cooperation with international partners, providing extra coin for minority co-productions and establishing development/production funds for UK producers. Roberts also insisted there will be “no favoritism” at the BFI, which took over responsibility for running the UK movie business last year. He was referencing criticism that was often lobbed at the now-defunct UK Film Council by producers whose applications for funding were unsuccessful. “I’ll be here until I’m despised,” he joked.

Earlier this month, the BFI launched a five-year “Film Forever” plan, which laid out a funding increase of £24M annually by 2017. Today, the message in Roberts’ keynote couldn’t have been clearer: This is not the UK Film Council. While he didn’t openly criticize the work of the organization that handed out public cash under the last government, he said the BFI’s new plan favored “originality, excellence and quality of vision.” In a nod to international partners, Roberts promised the org was hard at work on a new strategy. “We’re slightly hamstrung by the confines of the UK Tax credit. It’s very territorial. Qualifying is tough for co-productions. We’ve realized we have to come up with other ways to be useful to the international community,” he said. Calling the BFI a “global business,” Roberts added the body will allocate around £1M of its budget to minority co-productions. Read More »

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Tanya Seghatchian Quits BFI Film Fund

By | Wednesday September 14, 2011 @ 8:21am PDT

The head of the BFI Film Fund has resigned to return to being an independent producer. Tanya Seghatchian — who famously discovered Harry Potter for Warner Bros — has been in what many consider the plum job in the British … Read More »

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Did UK Film Peak With ‘King’s Speech’ Win?

UK press over here are gushing that The King’s Speech quadruple Oscar major wins – Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay – will be a boost for the British film industry. But I would say it’s all downhill … Read More »

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UK Film Council Awarded £12M To Company That John Woodward Will Run

The film agency tells me there’s no conflict of interest over Woodward joining venture capitalist Arts Alliance, despite it awarding an £11.5 million contract to the company in 2005. UK Film Council selected an offshoot of Arts Alliance, the company which Woodward joins in November, to install a UK nationwide … Read More »

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UK Film Council Boss To Join Arts Alliance

John Woodward will become managing director of the European venture capital company that invests in digital film next month. Woodward has said in public that if he was starting over he would get involved in digital film rights aggregation. Arts Alliance’s investments include LoveFilm – the UK version of Netflix – and it has overseen the digital conversion of over 700 digital screens across Europe, with over 2,300 screens signed up. Five Hollywood studios have signed deals with Arts Alliance to let it handle digital releasing of their movies. Read More »

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UK Govt Drawing Up Film Fund Shortlist

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Vaizey, the British culture minister, hosted a meeting at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport this morning to thrash out who should administer UK’s lottery film funding. He tells me that the government has drawn up … Read More »

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UK Film Council Boss Quitting Under Fire

John Woodward says he will leave British film agency in early November now that the Conservative government has ordered the UK Film Council shuttered. Woodward wants to be un-conflicted while negotiations are ongoing with the new government as to what will replace the UKFC. The … Read More »

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Screen East Goes Bust, Finance Chief Arrested For Theft

By | Thursday September 9, 2010 @ 3:39am PDT

UPDATE: The UK government agency supporting the film industry in East Anglia has gone out of business because of financial problems. Finance manager Melvin Welton has been arrested on suspicion of theft. Laurie Hayward, CEO, told local newspaper Norwich Evening News: “The directors of Screen East have concluded that the company is insolvent and can’t meet its debts as they fall due. The directors have taken advice and appointed an insolvency practitioner to take the company into administration. We’ve no further comment at this time.” Hayward confirmed that Welton had been arrested though and a police spokesman said: “Norfolk Constabulary can confirm that a 61-year-old man from Great Yarmouth has been arrested on suspicion of theft and released on bail pending further inquiries.” Read More »

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Matthew Vaughn’s UK-Hollywood Film Plan

By | Saturday August 28, 2010 @ 1:04pm PDT

This is exclusive to Deadline and updates Director Matthew Vaughn Pitches Film Fund That’s “Win/Win For Britain And Hollywood”:

PROPOSAL FOR A UK GOVERNMENT FILM FUND

Introduction
This paper sets out the rationale for creating a UK Government film fund using

Read More »

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UK Film Council Spending “Tens of Thousands Of Pounds” Hiring Lobbyists

This morning’s Times of London reports that the film agency has hired political lobbyists Portland, the PR firm founded by a former adviser to Tony Blair. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to John Woodward, CEO of the Film Council, … Read More »

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So, What Will Take The Place Of UKFC?

James Lee, former chairman of Scottish film agency Scottish Screen, has written to UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt proposing all £15 million of lottery funding be injected into a single distribution label. BBC Films and Film4 would be obliged to … Read More »

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BLIMEY! Government Warns UK Film Council To Stop Briefing Hollywood

Ed Vaizey, the UK arts minister, has written a stern letter to UKFC head John Woodward demanding to know whether the agency has been spending public money on campaigning for a reprieve. Vaizey wants to know whether the UKFC has … Read More »

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Protestors To March Against UKFC Closure

By | Wednesday August 4, 2010 @ 7:08am PDT

UPDATE: I’m hearing that a march is planned for London protesting against the scrapping of the UK Film Council. The Save the UK Film Council petition now has nearly 22,000 signatories, while the Facebook page has 42,000 people who’ve signed … Read More »

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Government Mulls Handing Over $19M Lottery Money To Arts Council Of England

UPDATE: UK culture minister Jeremy Hunt and arts minister Ed Vaizey have rowed back transferring the £15 million ($19 million) lottery film cash to the British Film Institute. Nor are they going to ask BBC Films and Film4 to split … Read More »

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UK Film Council Closure Polarizes Industry

UPDATE: Reactions to the UK government closing down the £60 million-a-year ($94 million) state film agency have formed into two distinct camps.

Many producers I’ve spoken to say the UK Film Council never did anything for them and will not be … Read More »

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BLIMEY! British Government May Give $19M Lottery Cash To BBC Films And Film4

EXCLUSIVE: The UK government is considering handing over the £15 million of lottery film production cash, which the UK Film Council currently handles, to public broadcasters the BBC and Channel 4. Ed Vaizey, the government arts minister, has talked about … Read More »

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Filmmakers React With Shock & Dismay To Government Plan To Scrap UK Film Council

UPDATE: I’ve been told that the decision to get rid of UK Film Council was Ed Vaizey’s alone, and not, as has been posited, by his boss Jeremy Hunt having a gun pointed at his head. What the government ministers … Read More »

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New Government Scraps UK Film Council; Reaction From Organisation Swift & Angry

EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: John Woodward, CEO of the UK Film Council, has e-mailed staff telling them today’s government decision to abolish the government agency “has been imposed with no notice and no consultation… I think we can all agree that … Read More »

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Goldcrest Films Picks Up ‘First Grader’

Naomie_HarrisEXCLUSIVE: The international sales arm of the London-based financier is handling worldwide rights apart from US, which it’s sharing with executive producer Anant Singh. The First Grader has been tipped for Venice, and has already been accepted for the London Film … Read More »

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