22 June 2013 4:02 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Oscar-nominated director Mike Figgis argues that the defeatist attitude and outdated structure of Britain's movie industry is preventing film‑makers from flourishing on home soil

Way back in the 1980s, when I decided to try to move from the world of performance art into film-making, I wrote a treatment for a short film called The Side. The name comes from the spectacular street that leads down to the river Tyne. I submitted the treatment to the BFI and in due course got a letter from Peter Sainsbury (the then head of BFI) turning me down for assistance because the material was "visually interesting but lacked content".

Around this time I also applied to the National Film School to study cinema. After a fairly confrontational interview with Lord Puttnam and the great cinematographer Ossie Morris I was rejected. Undaunted, I carried on and eventually The Side became Stormy Monday, my first feature film. »

- Mike Figgis

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