Palme d’Or winner Ken Loach has been expressing concern over the impact of Brexit on the British TV and film industry.
He was speaking at a debate in Brussels to mark the 10th anniversary of the Lux Film Prize, an award aimed at promoting European cinema.
Ken Loach scooped his second Palme d’Or in May with ‘I, Daniel Blake’, a portrait of an ailing carpenter facing the bureaucracy of the healthcare system in today’s Britain. The film was one of many supported by the EU’s Media programme.
“I think Britain leaving the EU will weaken its contribution to European films because the institutions that Europe has put in place for films, which are good – they don’t go far enough but what they do is good, like the MEDIA fund, like Eurimages and so on, they’re good – but Britain not being part of the MEDIA fund, for example, will weaken our connection to Europe. And it will inhibit the co-production treaties because if the free movement of people ends then it will be a big bureaucratic exercise, so it will weaken our connection to Europe,” said the veteran left-wing director.
He also took at the swipe at Hollywood, advising the European film industry not to go down the same road: “The advice to European politicians would be to change their ideas of a free market. A free market doesn’t mean the freedom of the bully to exploit, and that’s what we have with American cinema. Hollywood doesn’t want partners, they want servants, they want people to be subject to what they want to give us, so I think we need a genuine partnership and that means changing the ownership of cinemas and programming cinemas by people who care about films and not by people who care about fast food,” said Loach.
The public debate on the future of European cinema was followed by a simultaneous screening in each EU country of last year’s Lux Prize winner, ‘Mustang’, by French-Turkish director Gamze Erguven.
Turkey recently surprised EU officials and Turkish cultural organisations by announcing it was leaving the Creative Europe programme, which supports the cultural and audiovisual sectors, less than two years after becoming one of a number of non-EU members.
Israel, on the other hand, is on course to partially joining the MEDIA sub-programme, along with countries like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.