In a report prepared by the Scottish Education Department for Secretary of-State. Malcolm Rifkind. and Education Minister. Michael Forsyth. it has been recommended that the Scottish Film Council come out from under the auspices of the Scottish Council for Educational Technology and assume the status ofan
This might sound the sort of information that only a civil servant could find at all interesting. but. in fact it‘s a move that could have significant ramifications for film culture in Scotland.
At the moment the SFC is responsible for using the money it gets from the SED (and not the British Film Institute in London) to foster film culture in Scotland. This it does by helping to fund important film theatres like GFT and Filmhouse and overseeing the Scottish Film Archive. while also supervising important separate bodies like the Scottish Film Production Fund and the Scottish Film Training Trust. Yet. while there is such important work to be done. the SFC is still part of SCET. largely concerned these days with the new microchip technology in education.
This strange state of affairs is largely a result of historical changes in the nature of the Scottish Film Council. which was set up (as part of the British Film Institute) back in the 1930s to utilise the medium‘s educational potential. Yet the next major shake-up came in 1975 when the SFC
became part of SCET in recognition of the role that it had played inthe development of audio-visual technology in education during the preceding decade. However. the GET was opened by the SFC in 1974 and. in the period since then. its involvement in cinema exhibition. supporting the increasingly important art-house cicuit. has grown significantly. Thus. the SFC‘s role today primarily relates to film as a cultural practice rather than an educational tool. While the available options included rejoining the BFI (and losingloeal identity) or beingtaken under the wing ofthe Scottish Arts Council (and losing cultural autonomy). the decision to allow the SFC independence whilst continuing under the financial patronage ofthe SED has been welcomed in film circles throughout Scotland because it appears to mark a certain upgrading that reﬂects on the whole film community. The move will undoubtedly create a period of transition. but out ofthat it is hoped will develop a leaner. more conﬁdent SFC with an eye to securing wider
investment for an expanded programm of activities.
But. in the short term. money will continue to be a problem. In l988the SFC's total grant was a mere £559 000. and it looksthat 1989's willonly be an increase ofsome £40 000. While equivalent bodies such as the Sports Council or Scottish Arts Council receive around 10’}? of the total national funding. the SFConly receives around 6‘}; of the total money available for film culture in Britain.
So. is film in Scotland chronically underfunded in comparison with the rest ofthe UK‘.’ In the next issue of The List. we'll be looking in detail at the money that Glasgow Film Theatre and Filmhouse have to play with. and comparing it with some of their southern equivalents to try and answer that question. (Trevor Johnston)
FILM THIS ISSUE
FILM INDEX 12 FIRST WEEK LISTINGS 18
SECOND WEEK LISTINGS 19
Next Issue: Terry Gilliam's ’Munchausen
ONES TO WATCH
Our pick ofthe tortnight’s celluloid highlights on commercial and repertory circuits. . . Formore comprehensive reviews and venue details see the Film Index. while complete programme details can he found in the Film Listings.
THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST Splendid William Ilurt stars as a shy travel writer whose departing spouse Kathleen Turner leaves him free to find himself with kooky dog-trainer (ieena Davis. Adapted by Lawrence Big Chill Kasdan from the Anne Tyler novel. Edinburgh Cameo Mar 17.
DANGEROUS LIAISONS Sexual shenanigans amidst the heaving bustie res of pre-revolutionary France. Our man Stephen Frears directs sexy American accents Glenn Close. John Malkovich. and Michelle Pfeiffer. Film ofthe play of the book. Glasgow and Edinburgh Cannons Mar 10.
SLIPSTREAM Ambitious post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic from small British company Entertainment. Actor Mark Hamill and producer Gary Kurtz have the Star Wars pedigree . but the script‘s metaphysical byways might befuddle the intended audience. Odeons and wide release Mar 17.
TWINS Danny De Vitoand Arnold Schwarzenegger as long-lost brothers re-united in a cross-country trek. Entertaining one-joke movie (ie the casting) that reads alarmingly like Barry Levinson‘s Rainman. Still if Dustin can play autistic. Arnie can do comedy. Cannons release Mar 17.
THE BIG CHILL Classic Hollywood middlebrow ensemble movie with a great cast (Ilurt. (ioldblum. Berenger) as a , gang of yuppies gathering together to look back on the Sixties and generate anexcellentsoundtrack. 3 You probably know the dialogue by now. ' Edinburgh Cameo March 10. ACHINESE GHOST STORY Filmhouse's programming for ethnic audiences begins with this wild and wonderful supernatural adventure from Hong Kong. Watch for the demon with the twenty-foot tongue. Shown with subtitles. Edinburgh Filmhouse March 19.
THE GOOD MOTHER Diane Keaton in the eponymous role gets caught up in a courtroom battle over custody of her child. for ex-hubby says her relationship with scruffy artist Liam Neeson makes her an unfit parent. Touchstone (Disney) attempt to move in to the adult issue movie. Glasgow Odeon March 1().
THE LADY AND THE TRAMP
I955 vintage Disney animated canine romance. with a memorable spaghetti eating scene and the kind of rich artwork the studio turned out before the decline set in. Odeons release March 17.
MR NORTH Charming version of a Thorton Wilder story has Anthony Edwards as a charming young man curing the ills of the cranky rich in 1920s Rhode Island. Directorial debut for Danny Huston from a script he co-wrote with his late dad. Glasgow Grosvenor Mar 17.
THE NEW GUEST CO-DIRECTORS ofthis
year's Edinburgh International Film Festival popped up at a hastily-arranged press gathering in London recently to tell us all about their plans for the August‘ event. Soon revealed was the degree oftelephone chicanery from Iill‘l" Chairman Colin Young that managed to secure the services of Times critic David Robinson and noted Polish film-maker Krzysztopf' Xanussi by convincing both of them that the other had already accepted. but after meeting at Berlin the pair‘s dedication to the task has now begun in earnest (even though they are both involved in film projects).
Enthusiasm more than solid ideas was what came out of this particular showing. with the only firm proposals sortie sort of Chaplin event (Robinson is one of the world authorities) and a screening of Krzysztopf Kieslowski's Ten ( 'ommundments. a major group of pieces for Polish television that spawned the magnificent A Short Film About Killing. winner ofthe 1988 European Film Award. Meanwhile. back in Edinburgh the search goes on fora Deputy Director to hold the substantial administration together and possibly later assume the mantle of Festival Director.
APPLICANTS ARE INVITED for this year's bursaries from the Sarah Noble Memorial Fund. which offers financial help for work (planned or in progress) in film. video and related visual media. Sarah was active in the Edinburgh Film Workshop. producing filmson social and environmental issues. before her tragic death in a hill-walkingaccident two years ago. and the fund last year paid out around £4500 to help with small-scale film-making and community video projects. For further details contact: Sarah Noble Memorial Fund. 2‘) Albany Street. Edinburgh EH1 3ON.
The List 10- 23 March 198911