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The New British Film Policy

About this project
Philip Schlesinger

Lead investigator(s):
Prof Philip Schlesinger

Start Date: 1st January 2015
End Date: 31st December 2016


Film policy is key to the functioning of one of the largest fields of cultural production, distribution and consumption in the UK. The British film industry contributed £2.9bn to GDP in 2012. In 2013, UK box office revenues exceeded £1bn for the first time. And in the international market in 2013, UK films earned just over 11% of global box office receipts; the UK’s filmed entertainment generated over £4bn in revenues that year.

This work package examined the relationships between film policy, film production business models, access to finance, and intellectual property.The Work Package will focus on the making and working of film policy since the closure of the UK Film Council in 2011, which has initiated a new phase of intervention under the BFI and other bodies in a marketplace that is rapidly changing. The WP paid particular attention to the international forces shaping British film policy, in particular the roles of the US film industry and the EU’s regulatory order. In this connection, the research investigated what is a “British” film and how its designation relates to film finance. It also considered the obstacles to securing cross-border rights for the circulation of films in the EU, presently a feature of that fragmented market.

The WP built on the path-breaking research of one of CREATe’s associated projects, now concluded, ‘The UK Film Council: a case study of film policy in transition’, funded by AHRC, on which the Lead researcher was a CI.

Outputs include:



  • Chair, CulturalBase contributions panel, ‘Policy Seminar: Cultural Heritage Policies for a Troubled Europe. Proposals from the CulturalBase Social Platform’. Bozar, Brussels, 31 January 2017.
  • Invited panel member, inquiry into BBC Charter Review, Education and Culture Committee, The Scottish Parliament, 5 January 2016.
  • Opening speaker, ‘Policy Perspectives’ session, ‘Scotland, Public Service Broadcasting and the Broadcasting Landscape’, CCPR/RSA/VLV/SMCA conference, University of Glasgow, 13 January 2016.
  • Invited major lecture, ‘How the creative economy became part of everyday discourse’, Network for Oratory and Politics, University of Glasgow, 3 February 2016.
  • Invited speaker, ‘UK public service media in transition’, conference on ‘Gaelic broadcasting: issues, challenges and the way forward’, University of Edinburgh, 15 March 2016.
  • Invited audio interview about Creative Europe, MOOC on ‘European Identities and Cultural Heritage’, CulturalBase Horizon2020 project, 29 March 2016. Published 13 May 2016.
  • Concluding comments, ‘Creative Economy’, CREATe/Goldsmiths conference on ‘Fashion as urban creative economy: start-ups, IP, and the rise of e-commerce’, Glasgow School of Art, 5 May 2016.
  • ‘Creativity and value’ and ‘Digital Single Market’, Vision Documents prepared for the Working Group discussions at the Main Stakeholder Conference of CulturalBase, The Hangar, Barcelona, 11-13 May 2016. 
  • Invited opening speaker, ‘National film policy and priorities: formal policies and real outcomes’, RSE-funded workshop on ‘Commissioning Creativity and Funding Film’, CREATe Hub, University of Glasgow, 26 May 2016. 
  • Opening Keynote Lecture on ‘Academics and the policy process’, Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Annual Lectures 2016: Culture/Media/Research, The Teacher Building, Glasgow, 20 June 2016. 
  • Chair of Keynote Lecture session by John Kay on ‘Digital Futures’ and also of two panels, ‘Voices of CREATe’ and ‘RoboCop(y) – enforcing copyright in a world of computer co-creators’, CREATE Festival, RSA London, 24 June 2016.. 
  • ‘The new British film policy’, panel presentation, Screen Studies Conference 2016, University of Glasgow, 24-26 June, and chair of panel on ‘Distribution’.  
  • Invited opening keynote lecture, ‘Some reflections on Europe and digital culture’, ‘Culture 4D: Digitisation, Data, Disruptions, Diversity’, 3rd Council of Europe Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation, University of Tallinn, 29-30 September 2016.   
  • ‘The creative economy’, invited seminar at the University of Tallinn, 28 September 2016. 
  • Co-chair/co-organiser, ‘1707: the national press, civil society and constitutional identity in Scotland’, RSE-funded workshop, University of Glasgow, 4 November 2016. 
  • ‘The politics of media policy in Scotland’, presentation to the panel on ‘The interaction between media policy and media markets: an analysis of small European countries’, ECREA 2016, 6th European Communication Conference on ‘Mediated (dis)continuities: contesting pasts, presents and futures’, Prague Congress Centre, 10-12 November 2016.  
  • Introductory paper, session on ‘Creativity and digitalization: synergies and tensions. The Digital Single Market boosting or killing cultural creativity?’, CulturalBase Policy Workshop, European University Institute, Fiesole (FI), 1-2 December 2016.