Directors promise fight with studios over pay and safety in contract talks
As negotiations for a major new contract with the British Film Institute (BFI) on its Screengrab deal get under way, the BFI’s chief executive, Nigel Brock, has promised the deal will deliver “the best creative environment it has ever been in the BFI” and “the widest possible distribution” of films in the world.
In return, BFI, which has been the largest of the UK’s four main film production companies since it was spun off as the British Film Producers Association in 2009, is hoping to secure the rights to make a range of films, including the BFI screengrab and documentary strand and The BFI, which the organisation has been running for three years.
But the negotiations are already causing concerns about the level of support the BFI is receiving for the Screengrab deal, which was not originally part of the BFI’s constitution, but was added after the union Unite complained the BFI was paying too much and having the rights to screen UK-only films in the US.
In order for the Screengrab agreement to be signed for the BFI to continue to make films, BFI chief executive Nigel Brock said the union and other industry stakeholders would have to make up the difference.
“We, along with Unite, have said since our creation a year ago, that it is unacceptable to have an agreement that is not in line with our constitution and is not based on best practice,” he said. “If there is a shortfall in the way we deal with Screengrab, we will have to look at whether or not it really is necessary for us to continue to have a Screengrab deal or whether we might move to another model or model another way of funding the film industry.”
“It is vital that we all work together to get the best terms we can on the Screengrab deal and for the screengrab to be seen by as wide a range of film lovers as possible.
“My aim is for the contract for the Screengrab to be in place in time for the BFI’s 50th anniversary next month, and I am keen to get it signed as soon