Revamp requested

Producers fault Film Council pic coin scheme

LONDON — British film producers are urging the U.K. Film Council to reconsider its plans for the next generation of development slate funding, fearing it could destabilize the market.

The Film Council’s Development Fund is proposing to award three-year deals to up to eight companies, worth a maximum of £500,000 a year apiece. But producers must bring matching finance and meet strict rules on how the coin is spent and repaid.

They also must involve distributors in development and meet tough targets for converting scripts into finished films.

An open meeting of producers, sales agents and broadcasters, hosted Friday by producers’ org PACT, agreed the scheme would not make British films more commercially viable.

The Film Council has previously awarded 22 development slate deals over the past three years, handing out smaller sums with less rigorous conditions. But it has decided that not enough films are being made.

Producers say this judgment is premature. They believe the Film Council’s determination to lock distributors into the development slates at an early stage is misconceived. And they are concerned the financial terms of the new scheme are potentially punitive.

“The overwhelming majority of people at the meeting expressed serious concerns about the scheme,” said Margaret Matheson, managing director of Bard Entertainment and chair of PACT’s film policy group.

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