A new report is expected to recommend that British film-makers back more commercially successful projects. The report by Lord Smith will be published on January 16th, but is already been heavily trailed as a call for a more ‘mainstream’ industry. Critics are already lining up to slam the report’s conclusions.
There are really two things wrong with the argument that British film-makers should back more commercially successful films. The first is that if anyone actually knew how to do that, they would be doing it already. The second is that a diet of nothing but mainstream, market-orientated pap would be… well, quite similar to what we have now, actually.
Some of the criticism of the report is unfounded. Experimental, independent film-makers will continue to operate regardless of the outcome of Lord Smith’s report, and some of these people will eventually find their way to the mainstream. What’s shocking about the report is that it sounds so unadventurous. It also sounds like part of the increased deification of mainstream cultural compliance that has been a focus of British culture in recent years.