There was good news for the British film industry today with the government announcing a significant increase in funding and a centralised champion for UK film production in the shape of the BFI. Culture minister Ed Vaizey said that the BFI will be a "single voice" for UK film, aided by lottery funding that will rise from £27m to £43m by 2014.
While keen to avoid criticising the now-defunct UK Film Council - a "great success" according to Vaizey - the minister said the time had come for a "new chapter". It'll sees the BFI fill the void left by the UK Film Council, a move that has surprised some, especially in light of the government's decision to abandon a merger between the two earlier this year.
For the BFI there are nothing but positives. "It's a bold move to create a single body to champion film across the whole of the UK and provide a clear focus internationally," said Greg Dyke, Chair of the BFI.
While the full weight of the increased government funding won't be felt for three years, the BFI will sink additional funding into UK filmmaking almost immediately. Dyke said that the BFI's production fund will rise from £15m to £18m in 2011-12, an increase he attributes to savings in overheads.
The full benefits may take time to filter through, but the decision seems to spell only good news for UK filmmaking, and should help safeguard films like Made In Dagenham, The King's Speech and Streetdance 3D, all made with support from the UKFC.