Britain: publicly funded films must advance diversity

by Walter Olson on July 9, 2014

The government-backed, lottery-funded British Film Institute, which backs a substantial portion of film production in Britain, “announced a ‘Three Ticks’ scheme to ensure diversity in films and behind the scenes as it set out new rules for funding. Under the system, to be implemented in September, films must ‘tick’ at least two of three criteria: on-screen diversity; off-screen diversity and ‘creating opportunities and social mobility’.” [Telegraph]

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Richard Nieporent 07.09.14 at 1:31 pm

Control of artistic expression by the former Soviet Union – evil; control of artistic expression by the British government – good?

2 Jim Sweet 07.09.14 at 2:09 pm

I trust that the British talent for mocking such buffoonery will come into play here. Probably with some truly hilarious results.

3 MattS 07.09.14 at 3:05 pm

@Richard Nieporent,

The former Soviet Union controlled even artistic expression that it wasn’t funding.

The British government controlling artistic expression that it is funding = So what?. It’s neither good nor evil, it just is.

4 Richard Nieporent 07.09.14 at 3:22 pm

@Matt

The former Soviet Union controlled even artistic expression that it wasn’t funding.

Come again? Do you not understand that under Communism the State controlled everything?

Do you not understand that by controlling artistic expression it is no longer artistic expression?

5 Steven Jones 07.09.14 at 4:41 pm

I guess the British government wants to make the U.K. film industry more like the Australian one, an enormous train wreck. Far too many Aussie movies are about how the Aborigines are hard done by and that it’s all the white man’s fault. This is because the Aussie gov’t film funding model strongly encourages it. Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia = Exhibit A.

6 Robert 07.10.14 at 7:48 am

So if I wanted to make a publicly funded film about, say, fire safety in the home, I’d have to make sure that a certain percentage of the firemen were senior citizens and wheelchair users?

7 Wfjag 07.10.14 at 9:36 am

30% of the supporting cast who are “minority” is 1 “tick”. So, if I claim that the lead script writer is a closet Tranny (“tick” #2), my remake of “Birth of a Nation” will qualify for public funding on “diversity” grounds. Quotas are such wonderful ideas.

8 No Name Guy 07.10.14 at 11:58 am

South Park makes fun of this tokenism with the “Black” family. The kid’s name is “Token”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Token_Black#Token_Black

9 MattS 07.10.14 at 1:17 pm

@Richard Nieporent,

“Do you not understand that under Communism the State controlled everything?”

Exactly, which is why it isn’t in the least relevant to the issue in the UK.

“Do you not understand that by controlling artistic expression it is no longer artistic expression?”

Do you not understand that in the pre-government-funding days of arts patronage by the wealthy, the patrons had a lot of influence over the art produced? Do you not understand that as a funder of art, the government is under no obligation to fund art it doesn’t like for whatever reason?

Do you not understand that it has always been the case that artists who want complete artistic control/freedom need to fund their art out of their own pockets?

10 Richard Nieporent 07.10.14 at 8:06 pm

@MattS

As far as I know, there is no law in the UK that mandates a certain percentage of minorities be hired. Assuming that is the case then it should not be acceptable for the government to force filmmakers to do that. Remember it is not the government’s money but the taxpayer’s money they are spending.
?

11 MattS 07.11.14 at 9:32 am

“Remember it is not the government’s money but the taxpayer’s money they are spending.”

I haven’t forgotten or ignored that. The filmmakers might have standing to complain about how the money is being spent as taxpayers, they do not have standing to complain as filmmakers.

12 Hugo S. Cunningham 07.12.14 at 11:32 pm

@JS–

John Cleese, the current Minister of Silly Walks, could be given a second portfolio as the Minister of Diversity (though I suspect he would avoid said portfolio as radioactive).

13 David Schwartz 07.14.14 at 9:17 pm

“Do you not understand that as a funder of art, the government is under no obligation to fund art it doesn’t like for whatever reason?” “The filmmakers might have standing to complain about how the money is being spent as taxpayers, they do not have standing to complain as filmmakers.”

The government may have no obligation to give tax breaks to religious organizations too. But if it does so, and it conditions them on worshiping Jesus, it seems to me that the standing would be for those who are denied tax breaks on the grounds that they have the “wrong” religion.

If the government attaches an impermissible condition to an offer, it seems to me that the recipient of the offer has standing to complain about the coercive nature of the impermissible condition, even if the offer is for something to which the person is not entitled.

14 David Schwartz 07.14.14 at 9:19 pm

@MattS: So if I tell a subordinate that she can only have a promotion if she’ll have sex with me, the complaint should come from the other subordinates who didn’t receive a similarly generous offer? The standing to complain about a benefit hinged on an impermissible condition comes from the coercive effect of the impermissible condition on the person to whom the offer is made, in their capacity as the person who must accept or refuse the offer.

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