The cinema and the public: a critical analysis of the origin, constitution, and control of the British Film Institute (1934)

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they can only represent the same two groups as the six governors who have appointed them—namely, the film trade and the Educational Commission. It is not easy to understand how three such distinguished persons should have accepted so anomalous a position. None of the other public interests concerned with the cinema—artistic (e.g., the Federation of Film Societies*), religious (e.g., the Churches), moral (e.g., the various Cinema Enquiry Committees), critical (e.g., the film critics), scientific (e.g., the great learned bodies)—nor yet the vast body of cinema-goers have any representa- tion on the governing Council."j* Further, even if the three governors who are said to represent " public interests," were at once more representative and more independent, their hands have been firmly tied behind their backs by a Constitution agreed upon by the two groups who appointed them, including such completely stultifying clauses as those I have mentioned above. Condition 4— that concerning the Chairmanship — means that the Chairman both of the governing Council and of the Institute is not only, like the three governors * Which federates the activities of the many local Film Societies, which have been doing useful, if unostentatious, work for some years, and whose number is constantly growing. The " British Film Institute," in its proposal to start local " Film Institute Societies " all over the country, is merely proposing to duplicate work which is already being done efficiently by others of greater experience and far greater independence. f To invite a number of Societies and well-known individuals to form an " Advisory Council," with no kind of control over or responsibility for the management of the Institute and whose advice may be ignored, in no way modifies, let alone removes, this funda- mental defect. It is to be hoped that no such individuals or Societies will consider accepting such an invitation without first making full enquiries in the light of the facts herein related. Page 30