Would exhibition quotas help British or Scottish film?

Robert Carlyle thinks they would (see http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/more-arts-entertainment-news/carlyle-calls-for-british-screens-in-multiplexes-1.931537) but I’m not so sure. Previous attempts at ring-fencing British films in cinemas proved to be a recipe for more bad films rather than ensuring better audiences for good films.    The real question is why are distributors reluctant to acquire more British or Scottish  films?  Are they constrained by lack of resources to fund P&A?  Is it simply they judge the majority of films that they are offered (prior to or after completion) as bad bets?  Is it really true that exhibitors cant see the potential in a swathe of great British films and are denying them exposure?  Or is that many of the films just aren’t strong enough to earn a place on the distributor’s slate? 

Of course every filmmaker who struggles to get a distribution deal believes the answer is anything but the last possibility, but since overall British films are actually doing quite well – their Box Office has almost doubled in the last decade – is may be that the films sitting on the undistributed shelf just don’t make the market-makers excited enough.  That is bad news for strong, challenging films that don’t (appear to) have mass appeal (yet) but that’s a different issue – that’s where we need a strong network of subsidised film theatres with as-good-as-a-multiplex facilities, decent marketing budgets and joined-up thinking between the exhibition and production arms of Scottish Screen and the UK Film Council.

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