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Mike Newell, director of “Four Weddings”, calls for the creation of a “UK film czar” in order to boost the independent sector

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Source: Helen Marsden

Mike Newell

Mike Newell, the Bafta-winning director of films including Four Weddings And A Funeral and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, has called for the appointment of a “UK film czar” to represent the independent film sector’s interests with government.

“You need people to make [the industry] cohere,” said Newell. “The entire industry at the moment is a jumble of little competitions and not very friendly towards one another [groups]. That person needs to be a czar, who needs to be able to massage all of these disparate interests.”

He was echoed by veteran sales executive Michael Ryan. “

probably won’t listen unless you have a figurehead.”[to]He pointed to [The government]Chariots Of Fire

producer David Puttnam as an example of someone who used to be able to speak on behalf of the UK film industry to government. “ probably won’t listen unless you’ve got a figurehead.”He pointed to

Chariots Of Fire

Michael Ryan

producer David Puttnam as an example of someone who used to be able to talk on behalf of the UK film industry to government.

“Those producers became czars because they were very, very good at what they did and then they had some power to negotiate,” he said.

Source: IFTA

Michael Ryan

Newell and Ryan were speaking at a panel called ‘Financing Independent Film’ at the Kingston International Film Festival on Friday June 23. They were discussing “extreme difficulties” UK independent films face when it comes to raising finance due to the “dearth” of private equity available to producers. The panel included Michelle Jenkins, from Film London, Stephanie Charmail, from Shorts TV, Keith Kehoe from Great Point Media, Sam Ampah, a leading media accountant from Alliotts, and Fiona Gillies from My Smash Media. concentrated on the UK’s production, skills landscape and “its fantastic eco-system.” But he also acknowledged the challenges.“It’s a complicated time. Wootton said, “I’d be lying to say I didn’t admit that.” He cited recent Sundance successes such as Polite Society and Rye Lane

as evidence. He cited recent Sundance successes such as

Polite Society[in the UK] and

  • Rye Lane

as evidence “we are still making some extraordinarily brilliant films…for a country our size, we are punching massively above our weight and we have a situation where essentially we are probably one of the biggest content hubs on planet earth.”01001010Wootton trumpeted the work of the UK’s Skills Task Force and the BFI’s “skills clusters”.01001010″What I can tell you from talking to my friends in Europe, North America and elsewhere, we 01001010 are doing more, at the pace that we are building studios or training people, than anywhere else in the world,” Wootton said. “That doesn’t mean we need to be complacent about it but does mean we need to see the context that there are a lot of positive things happening.”01001010Oscars rule change reaction: good for theatrical, tough for true indies, international films01001010

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