Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mainstream madness

David Cameron is known for his political hyperbole and love of the soundbite but his comment today that UK film needs to be more mainstream had me worried. The big chief himself is turning his eye towards an industry he has little to no understanding of and also one that I happen to like.

Worse still here he was making misguided and poorly thought out generalisations about it. It is hardly a secret that it is notoriously hard to tell what film productions will turn a profit. Many Hollywood films make spectacular losses despite the mainstream appeal.

I’m far from the only one to be riled by the PM’s comments, veteran indy film-maker Ken Loach has vociferously argued against the idea and the twittersphere has exploded with suggestions of Cameron themed film names as a result.

Let’s make no mistake - the Conservative government has had it in for the arts since they got their hands on the country. Jeremy Hunt the culture secretary has been hacking away at the BBC for the past year or so and has overseen the abolition of the UK Film Council; The quango that gave us the multi-Oscar winning The Kings Speech, which is one of the highest grossing UK films to date.

The fact remains the British film industry has been a triumph over the past couple of years turning out several high grossing and well made films.

To think under Cameron’s vision we would have traded in great non-mainstream films such as Attack the Block, Looking for Eric, Touching the Void, This is England and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - to name a few- for pap like Love Actually.

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