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Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK


Government hints at funding film distribution

The government wants to help UK films get better distribution

British-made films could get state subsidies to help them get a wider showing in the UK, the government has suggested.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey, speaking for culture ministers, told the House of Lords that the UK had some "marvellous" independent cinemas showing a wide range of films.

He said it was "very difficult to see" how the government could directly subsidise film distribution to encourage major chains to show more British films.

But he added: "I have to say that the French seem to find a way of subsidising distribution directly - particularly in rural areas. Maybe we should be copying them."

'Comprehensive strategy' planned

He was replying to a question from Lord Graham of Edmonton, who asked the government what plans it had to improve the distribution of British films.

Lord McIntosh said the new Film Council - which will take over the Arts Council of England's role in funding films next year - would be able to "develop a comprehensive strategy to help this weakness, including providing direct support for distribution".

But he did not say how much money the government would be prepared to contribute to fund such a strategy.

He added an earlier proposal for British film companies to contribute to a £20m fund to improve the distribution of home-grown films had failed because they did not believe it would be cost-effective.

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