Treasury Stumps Up Cash For National Film Centre

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 111 months ago
Treasury Stumps Up Cash For National Film Centre

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We never had Gordon Brown as much of a film buff, but the PM is mugging for the camera like old Tinseltown royalty after strong-arming his chums at the Treasury to stump up the cash that had threatened to derail a number of big-ticket projects: extensions to the Tate and the British Museum, and a brand new film centre for the BFI on the South Bank.

Gordy confirmed on Friday that £45 million worth of used Government fivers will be contributed to a £155 million purpose-built film institute, with five digital screens and suitable facilities for hosting Clooney, et al at big-name premieres and London Film Festival soirees. The rest of the cash will come via Lambeth council, City Hall, and the BFI's sale of its Stephen Street HQ in Bloomsbury, though beyond that there is still a £80 million gap to plug. One possible hair in the projector is that the Government may decide to merge the UK Film Council and the BFI in order to cut costs, which could threaten the shaky but functional status quo between the British film industry's commercial and cultural wings.

The Hungerford car park, nestling between Jubilee Gardens and the Royal Festival Hall and a short walk from the existing BFI Southbank, has been eyed up as a suitable destination, though local campaigners have long hankered after the space to extend the gardens right up to the bridge.

The centre is expected to open in 2015, though as with anything that the current Government plans, the financial promises carry an air of unreality: the Conservatives will take a close look at spending should they come to power next year. But for now, the BFI can get things moving and start to appoint architects... after celebrating the good news by watching Citizen Kane for the umpteenth time, of course.

Last Updated 19 October 2009