film news

Hollywood anger towards UK government decision grows

Hollywood has taken another joust at the British Government’s decision to axe the UK Film Council with the help of Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios.

DreamWorks Studios has written a letter to George Osbourne warning that future investment could be jeopardized in Britain as a result of the UKFC’s closure. The significance of the letter will send a shockwave through the British government as this could be interpreted as a pre-condition for future business for major Hollywood films to be shot in the UK. Although DreamWorks is just one of several large studios, the knock on effect is already influencing big budget decisions.

Indian Tycoon Anil Ambani who owns DreamWorks met with George Osbourne in July and according to the telegraph, there was a buzz of excitement around Ambani who planned to invest in the UK through DreamWorks. This included a figure of £300 million related to UK investment through productions including a film directed by Steven Spielberg called the War Horse.

Clint Eastwood, another Hollywood heavyweight, sent a letter to Osbourne earlier this week asking for the decision to be reversed. He was quickly rebuked by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who said, ‘It is simply not acceptable in these times to fund an organization like the UK Film Council, where no fewer than eight of the top executives are paid more than £100,000.

The growing outcry from Hollywood and now potentially India will damage the UK’s film industry by refusing to invest in new productions. The UK Film Council has been widely praised despite its flaws for being too inefficient, and as a communication beacon between major productions in the UK. Despite the government’s decisions to axe the UKFC, it now seems that the cost of the decision could run into the hundreds of millions. To add to the fire, the 2012 Olympics will become a centre ground for the UK’s PR with the rest of the world. The UKFC’s closure in April 2012 will send a dark message to the next generation of young talent that they are no longer supported by a national film agency.

It is estimated that the UK film Industry is worth £4.5 billion a year to the economy. The UK Film Council costs £3 million a year to run.

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