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March 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the success of 12 Years a Slave, with a British director and star, and the made-in-the-U.K. Gravity — as well as booming production at British film studios, the British film industry is not thriving, Terry Ilott, the former CEO of Hammer Productions and editor of the British trade publication Screen International, maintains in today’s (Monday) Guardian newspaper. “Over the past thirty years it has become almost impossible to make even a decent living … in the British film industry,” he writes. Ilott offers some cringing statistics to support that claim. Citing data from the British Film Institute, he writes: “Of the nearly 1,200 directors who made British feature films in the 20 years to 2008, 74 percent made one, 15 percent made two, just under 6 percent achieved three, and 2.4 percent made between five and nine. A mere six directors were able to put together 10 or more films.” Acknowledging that “we benefit from the injection of capital and expertise provided by the Hollywood studios, who continue to make big films in the UK and without whom our industry would likely be dead in the water,” Ilott goes on to observe that without its own commercial side, creative filmmakers cannot flourish. “We need viable companies. We need to take a leaf out of the U.S. book and learn to help ourselves.” Ilott, who is currently a tutor at the Met Film School and was previously director of the Film Business Academy, remarks that “In Hollywood, it is commonplace to find film executives, even film lawyers, who have attended both film school and business school. In the UK there are probably no more than two dozen MBAs in the entire industry.” What the industry desperately needs, he concludes, are “executives and entrepreneurs who can talk the talk and walk the walk. That means getting a business education.”