Action on all fronts

I am continually impressed with the range of work that BECTU members and committees become involved in to make a better working environment for all in our industries.

Whether it is LPD‘s Writers and Producers commitment to the Freelancers Fair, the work various divisions have contributed to the Creative Industries Safety Passport, the Move On Up Events of our black members’ committee, or the Film Policy Committee’s commissioning of Creative Screen Associates to research and report Comparison of French and UK Public Policy and Support Mechanisms for the Film Industry.

I was at the June Freelance Fair in London and found a really impressive showcase for the thought and commitment that the union has to those working as freelances in the film and TV industry.

I met a number of younger members (and just about to join members), partially established but still exploring the landscape of the creative industry, and older workers, many who were returning to work after a hiatus or exploring the freelance world after years of full time employment.

The Freelance Fair is done with sponsors’ support and industry exhibitors ranging from the BBC Academy to Production Base and Visual Impact.

A large range of professionals participated in the seminars Marketing Yourself, Fund Your Feature and Britain’s Got Bullies, and on the sessions giving advice and CV counselling. Technical demonstrations and the evening social event made for an incredibly full and useful day.

The last I heard we recruited 26 new members on the day and I’m sure impressed many others with how we spend their subscriptions helping them to navigate in today’s market.

Just up on BECTU’s website and making very impressive reading is the Film Policy Committee’s commissioned report comparing UK and French models for supporting and funding an independent film industry.

The report is just going to the committee for discussion and they will be working on presenting a policy to the NEC soon.

Trying to find fair and equitable ways of funding our creative industries is always an important issue, especially when so much of it depends on the whims the Con-Dems who always seem to see the creative industries as soft target for cuts.

In July the government announced a 10% cut to the British Film Institute for 2015-16.

The BFI has taken over the role of the UK Film Council coordinating support for British filmmakers, so yet again the creative film makers will be fighting for substantially decreased support funding.

The key point of the French model is that they tax all film in any media and players. The monies raised are then dedicated to French film production.

It makes for vibrant independent film production and production companies and a clear understanding that this ‘VAT’ is what makes the films that speak most about French culture.

It shows a respect and value for the cultural industry that we could certainly do with here.

The last few years have seen a vibrant London Production Division with a large number of features coming in from overseas.

It’s meant that the really big budgets are there and the micro budgets are struggling along but the medium budget domestic features struggle in an environment that has little support.

As a member of Regional Production Division I know that it is often those medium budgets that make it out to us.

Read the report. Let the committee know what is most important to you. Let’s build an active policy and campaign on it.

Categories: BECTU, Film

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Picture of Christine Bond