UK government to evaluate how to enhance UK screen industry

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After a couple of decades, emerging problems such as AI and a struggling exhibition sector have prompted an industry-wide review. 

We all know that the UK screen industry is a success at the moment. Inward investment is huge, constant expansion is underway and business is booming. The way our national film and high-end TV industry is set up though, it’s geared towards a very specific kind of success and whilst it may have created a winning formula, there are people out there that can see more than the odd flaw with the system.

Speak to some UK-based producers and whilst they’ll acknowledge that work is plentiful, there are all kinds of problems, from recruitment to a dearth of homegrown British storytelling. Then there’s the problems with distribution: Empire’s collapse, Cineworld’s ongoing problems and the spiralling fortunes of independent cinemas.

Apparently, the government is listening and according to Deadlineits ‘Culture, Media and Sport Committee will investigate what needs to be done to maintain and enhance the UK as a global destination for production and how the independent film production sector can best be supported.’

This review will come some two decades after the last one. Here are the questions that stakeholders are being invited to answer:

  • How attractive is the UK as a global destination for the production of film and high-end television?
  • What are the current challenges facing the UK’s independent film production sector?
  • What more can be done to incentivise film and high-end television production in the UK?
  • What are the issues facing the UK’s film exhibition sector?
  • What can the industry and Government do to ensure British film and high-end television can adapt for the future?

This is all well and good but it’s what comes after the review that will define the future of the UK industry. When a previous review was put forward a couple of decades ago, the UK independent sector was surging thanks to a decade of ‘Cool Britannia’ movies that had raised the global profile of British cinema to incredible levels. Still, proposals to realign the industry towards homegrown cinema, developing and protecting intellectual property to make the UK industry self-sustaining were largely ignored.

Instead, things moved in the opposite direction and we have a service-based industry that is largely dependent on external investment. Let’s see where the review takes us, but the industry has travelled a long way down this path now and the culture change that would be needed to revitalise neglected parts of the industry would require the kind of paradigm shift we’re unlikely to see.

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