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President of Film Distributors’ Association responds to the Film Policy Review

After the publication of the eagerly awaited Film Policy Review titled ‘A Future for British Film’, Lord David Puttnam, President of Film Distributors’ Association (FDA), gives an initial response.

“Chris Smith and his Film Policy Review team have produced an important and well-rounded report at what is a critical time for the film industry, and we at the FDA very much welcome their recommendations for the future growth and development of UK film.

“2011 was a high water mark for British films, not just because of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The King’s Speech and The Inbetweeners, all of which broke records on their UK theatrical releases, but also because of the range and quality of British films in distribution throughout the year from Senna to Johnny English Reborn, We Need to Talk About Kevin to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Submarine to Arthur Christmas, and many more.

“While this success should be celebrated and built upon, the film business is risky, and there are no guarantees for distributors or the producers they are representing – hence the importance of a public film policy that emphasises and examines the conditions needed to nurture and stimulate growth for film.

“The audience is clearly at the heart of the review and we welcome the key strategic recommendation that the BFI should balance the needs of distribution with those of production when prioritising the investment of Lottery funding for initiatives such as the proposed Joint Venture Fund, and the R&D Fund for digital innovation.

“This is smart, joined-up thinking which should stand UK audiences in good stead. We further welcome the acknowledgement that the P&A Fund has been effective at connecting break-out films with British cinemagoers, and how important it is that this Fund be extended. We very much look forward to working with the BFI to ensure these recommendations are fully and comprehensively realised.

“’Digital’ offers new opportunities for film makers and their audiences, as well as a whole set of new challenges for the industry.

“We welcome the review’s acknowledgement of the fundamental issues for film distributors that arise, in particular, on break-out or limited releases, where the costs of keeping films on digital screens can be higher. If the audience for film is to grow and develop, it is important that there is sufficient flexibility in the digital value chain to maintain and develop the hugely diverse range of films that are brought to market – today and in future.

“Finally, I hope the review will trigger a series of bold new steps in embedding the role of film in education. The Report’s clear message that everyone should have the opportunity to engage with film, and that watching, exploring, understanding and creating film is important for young people and the audience as a whole, is as admirable as it is welcome.”

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