Community Film Exhibition Exemption – Government Response

Community Film Exhibition Exemption – Government ResponseThe Government has today published its response to the DCMS’ consultation earlier this year seeking views on proposals to exempt community film exhibitions.

In its response the Government stated:

1. that it intends to amend the 2003 Act to introduce a further, but limited, licensing exemption for film exhibition in community premises that will benefit film societies, film clubs, and other local social groups for whom licensing costs and the associated bureaucracy is a barrier to exhibitions of film within their community.

The Government’s response is not clear on what the limitations will exactly be but is seems that the proposed exemption will only apply “…where a person responsible for the exhibition of a film has obtained prior written consent for that screening to take place from:

- the management committee of those community premises, or
- for community premises with no management committee, from a person with responsibility for those community premises.

If in doubt on whether a particular venue qualifies as ‘other similar building’ within the legal definition of ‘community premises’, a person responsible for exhibiting a film (and the management committee (or other person) responsible for the premises) may wish to check on interpretation with their licensing authority before a booking is confirmed. Whether, or not, premises are ‘community premises’ will be a question of fact in each case.”

2. an audience limit of 500 is proposed.

3. for a community films exhibition to benefit from the exemption “…the concept of ‘not-for-profit’ for the activity…should be retained as a key criterion…”.

4. the Government has concluded that “…a precautionary approach should be adopted to removing the licensing requirement…” for the commercial cinema sector “…as it risks creating loopholes and unintended consequences…”.

5. a film screening will have to have age classification from the BBFC or the relevant licensing authority, to be eligible for the community film exemption.