Film festival concern over fee plan
ORGANISERS OF the UK Jewish Film Festival have expressed concern over a London borough’s plan to charge fees for film screenings.
Michael Etherton, CEO of UK Jewish Film, said Barnet Council’s proposal to charge the festival a total of £800 could hinder the “financial feasibility” of the festival.
The council wants to impose an £80 levy on each of the 10 movies being screening at the Phoenix cinema, in East Finchley, next month, as a waiver fee to allow them to be shown without classifications.
In a statement, Mr Etherton said: “The effect of such fees can be to reduce the range of festival films on offer to the local community or to dissuade festivals altogether from presenting films in the borough.”
London Assembly member Andrew Dismore described the levy as unfair.
He pointed out that since the festival had made the screenings open to over18s only there was no need for films to carry a classification and therefore no case for waiver fees.
In a letter written to the leader of the council, Richard Cornelius, Mr Dismore said it was “behaving in its usual miserly way”.
He urged the council to drop the fees to allow the full programme to go ahead.
A council spokesperson said: “The fee of £80 per film covers the cost of the classification process. We believe this is a fair charge that has to be applied consistently to all applications.”