The financial crisis, resulting in the closure of the UK Film Council in April this year, has put the British film industry into a state of panic and uncertainty. This concerns many filmmakers within the industry, but as a filmmaker outside of the industry I believe that this could be exactly what the British film industry needs.
For too long now our film industry has been producing either dour social realism or second-rate Hollywood- imitating trash, and not a lot else. I am sick of watching films about Cockney geezers, angst-riddled working class heroes or love-struck middle class twits. I have always found most British cinema to be quite dull and have a closer affinity with European cinema, which is probably why I recently enjoyed Submarine so much as it felt more like early Nouvelle Vague than anything else produced in Britain.
There have never been huge amounts of money available for British film, but what there is has mainly been used to help fund films by established filmmakers and Anglo-American projects; in other words: safe bets. The reasons for this are obvious, if a little short- sighted, but what is being done to nurture upcoming talent in this country? The British film industry is dying a slow and painful death and I believe that bringing independent filmmakers into the fold would give it a new lease of life.
So instead of making St. Trinians 3, people in the industry should be going to film festivals and searching online (websites like Vimeo make this very simple) for imaginative, creative filmmakers and then spending money on distributing their films. The production values would be lower (they always are compared to Hollywood anyway) but the quality of films would be greater, and that’s the main thing.
I find it very frustrating that there is no major platform for independent British films in this country. I know many people who produce excellent work but have no means of getting it shown to a wider audience. I guess for now we filmmakers will just have to continue to make films, post them online, send them to as many film festivals as possible and hope for the best. It’s not ideal, but it will have to do. For now.