I guess I should divulge what got me thinking about writing this post. Just this morning I read the news that the British government is shutting down the UK Film Council as a broad scale cost-cutting measure. If you recall from my previous posting, I contended that Europe made more sophisticated and challenging cinema because the federal governments supported the arts, unlike the United States. Well, it looks like I’m going to eat my words.
The UK Film Council was probably the most successful government film program in the world, and for it to fall does not bode well for other successful film programs like the National Film Board of Canada. As countries tighten their belts because of poor financial decisions and mismanagement, consistently the first items to be cut are education and the arts.
As these institutions crumble it leaves independent films in a vulnerable state, as more attention will be turned to the major studios to provide art and culture. The major studios, however, are not in the business of art and culture, they’re in the business of entertainment, and they will continue to increase the price of entertainment because a) they lack competition and regulation, and b) because they can.