Ken Loach: Brexit Will Be Troublesome for Filmmakers

Veteran British director Ken Loach, whose 2016 movie I, Daniel Blake won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, has expressed his concern for British film and the filmmakers operating within the United Kingdom in a post-Brexit landscape in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter – available here.

Speaking at the Czech Republic’s 52nd Karlovy Vary film festival, where Loach and screenwriting partner Paul Laverty each received Crystal Globes for their Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema, the famously left-wing filmmaker who has opposed both Brexit and the BBC’s coverage of the UK’s most recent general election, was resigned to the UK reaching a deal to exit the European Union, stating “there will be some form of leaving the EU”.

Loach believes that “our co-production deals depend on workers from other countries coming to [the UK] to work on our films; if it is made very bureaucratic and difficult if we leave the EU, that will make it more difficult. There is a danger that could happen. If free movement stops and it becomes a big bureaucratic process for people to work in Britain then that is going to inhibit [co-productions] because it is cumbersome.”

The filmmaker did suggest that any future Labour government “would be right to resist …a continuous pool of available cheap [EU] labour that undermines collective agreements that [British labour] unions have made.”

Paul Laverty added that if business leaders in the U.K. could argue that they have a role to play in steering the Brexit negotiations with the EU, then there should also be “special delegations about workers rights, consumer or environmental issues.”

The filmmakers added that they believed the European Film Academy – an independent body of industry professionals based across Europe – has a role to play in “negotiating easy movement of people for film co-production”.

Loach’s critical look at the impact of Brexit on the UK film industry comes just days after the British Film Institute laid out their plan to finance an increase in British industry professionals by 10,000 in the next 5 years as a means of ensuring continued growth of the British film industry beyond the country’s exiting of the European Union, with Loach seeming to indicate that the increased funding opportunities gained from co-productions could be lost entirely to British filmmakers like himself whose independent films are often willing to challenge the established order of their times.

The director also expressed his opposition at alternative band Radiohead going ahead with a concert in Israel this month (July), stating:

“The Palestinian people have asked for a cultural boycott [of Israel] while it keeps make the lives of Palestinians impossible, killing people with impunity, breaking the Geneva Convention and taking Palestinian lands. There is still time for Radiohead [to reconsider]. There is another letter going out saying don’t support a state that many consider apartheid. We urge people not to support Israeli cultural projects that have the backing of the state of Israel, not [to boycott] individual artists.”

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