It took a stiff letter in the Salford Star from Sir Ben Kingsley five years ago, plus lots of local film makers speaking out about the lack of funding, to drag Salford Council into funding the Salford Film Festival.
In that third issue of the printed Salford Star, we pointed out the hypocrisy of spending £millions of public money on, what was then, the concept of Media City, while a free community film festival was allowed to go to the wall.
"Please don't let this be the last word on Salford Film Festival" wrote Sir Ben "Film festivals are important cultural events…A thrill. Especially to an environment as rich in promise and diversity as Salford. I would urge the business and civic leaders. Please don't let this be the last word."
The Salford Star called the unwillingness of Salford Council to fund the Festival "a disgrace…especially when the community is being used to entice the Beeb to the Quays."
Within months, Salford Council had done a u-turn and handed the Salford Film Festival an annual grant of £20,000.
In May this year, that £20,000 was cut, although the Council didn't announce it on its list of `efficiencies and savings'. Now that it's August, just three months before the event is due to be held, there is no sign of the Salford Film Festival happening.
A Salford Council spokesperson told us "The council funding has been cut but we are still working with the organisers to see if we can help them to get alternative funding to help the festival to go ahead."
We understand that meetings have been held between the Festival organisers and the Council but, as yet, no funding has been forthcoming. And the chances are that this year's Festival will either be a tiny scaled back version or it won't happen at all.
Again, the Salford Star points out the hypocrisy of Salford Council spending over half a million pounds this year on the Manchester International Festival and events `Welcoming the BBC to MediaCityUK' (see here), while community films made in the city have no showcase.
“The success of the festival merely highlights the continued talent that is being nurtured within the city through community initiatives, media courses and training, giving more people the chance to get out there and have a go at film making.” John Merry, Leader Salford City Council 2008
* Main graphic shows page from Salford Council's Visit Salford mini guide, showing the disappearing Salford Film Festival logo