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Industries Working Model For Science Exhibition Essay

A presentation to the UK film industry

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE UK FILM INDUSTRY

SIR ALAN PARKER CBE CHAIRMAN, FILM COUNCIL 5 NOVEMBER 2002

Good morning, and thank you for coming.
Today I want to set out some new thinking from the Film Council about the kind of film industry we’d like to see in this country.

I want to set out a vision of an industry that is a strong and confident player in an increasingly competitive world. An industry that evolves, and reflects, the new realities of today’s global market. We can never be the biggest film industry in the world, but we should be right up near the top of the league, not permanently hovering in the relegation zone.

The UK film industry is not in need of quick fixes and band-aids if we are to succeed on the world stage. I contend that it needs nothing less than radical re-invention.

So my speech this morning is in three main parts:

  • Firstly, how did this industry develop and what can we learn from our recent history?
  • Secondly, what kind of film industry does the UK have now?
  • Thirdly, what kind of film industry should we be aiming to create in order 
to fulfil our creative and industrial potential, and how do we – Film Council, Government and industry – work together to create it? 
Cinema is an immensely powerful medium at the heart of the UK’s creative industries. It combines artistic creativity and technical innovation to entertain, inspire, challenge and inform. Films help to shape the way we see and understand the world, how we see ourselves, and how the world sees us. It promotes ideas and understanding in a way that no other medium can or does. 
Half of the world’s population – that’s three billion people – have seen a James Bond film. Films made by a UK company, using UK creativity and ingenuity. Hundreds of millions more have seen our films – from Chariots of Fire to The Full Monty, from Notting Hill to Bridget Jones’s Diary. 
Film is the key driver of the creative industries. The same creative industries that in the US are already worth half a trillion dollars annually. 
The audience for film, in virtually every country in the world, continues to grow – at the cinema, on television, and, especially, on DVD – the fastest- growing consumer electronics product of all time. This year, UK cinema admissions are likely to increase by 12%. 174 million tickets sold. This was unthinkable 20 years ago. We owe most of that rise in admissions to investment by exhibitors in our cinemas. The exhibitors deserve real credit for the turnaround of cinema-going in this country – though doubtless, like us, they would like to see admissions go even higher – because if you compare cinema-going in other countries, there is still room for considerable growth. 
Over the last two years, the Film Council has concentrated its efforts on the better use of public subsidies – principally Lottery money – which, as you know, was failing to deliver what was promised. This we have completely reformed and overhauled.

First of all, we have concentrated on creativity – encouraging talent and skills by helping new and established filmmakers by completely restructuring production and development funding. This has resulted in many distinctively British films: from Gosford Park to Bloody Sunday. From The Magdalene Sisters to Bend It Like Beckham.

The process of change was tough, but now it’s starting to pay off.

Second, we’ve supported our existing industry – primarily by fighting to protect and extend the existing Section 48 tax relief for film. We’ve also pitched aggressively for inward investment – mainly from the US – helping to deliver over £1 billion to the UK film economy. We’ve established programmes to improve script skills across the industry and we’re also delivering training for film business skills. We’ve put down deep roots in each English region by co-financing the new development agencies and we’ve also cemented strong partnerships with the national film bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

At the same time, we’ve kept our focus on film culture and film education. We’ve set up programmes such as First Light – our highly popular scheme which has introduced filmmaking skills to hundreds of kids from Oldham to Exeter, from Barnsley to Belfast.

Most recently we set up the single largest initiative ever mounted in Britain to improve the distribution and exhibition of specialised films on screens across the UK.

And of course we inherited responsibility for the bfi. Over the longer term we intend to support this very valuable organisation to enable it to more widely reach out to everyone in the UK with an interest in film culture.

But whatever our efforts to date, we should recognise that all of us – industry, Film Council, Government – are prisoners of history – whether we like it or not. That’s why, until now, the Film Council has focussed on what we could most directly control and reform – the use of public subsidy.

But that, in itself, is not enough. Not nearly enough. Now it’s time to raise the bar of our ambitions.

For despite the Film Council’s considerable success in putting public subsidy for film on a sensible footing, to be honest, there is still a mountain to climb before we can help to create anything like a truly sustainable film industry.

This is something the Film Council cannot do on its own. Because bluntly, direct subsidy solely to production will never, ever form the basis of a successful film industry – even if we double, triple or quadruple the money presently on offer.

In three years, we’ve created an organisation that is a model of its kind – anywhere in the world. But to state the blindingly obvious, the Film Council is the interface with Government. We exist to serve our industry and to advise Government. But we can’t be the industry, we exist only to encourage an environment in which the industry out there can flourish and thrive.

Our job is to help build a stable and growing industry— not to run one — 
and it’s in that spirit that I’d like to look at the history of film in the UK over the past two decades, and see what can we learn from our history.

The past

If we go back 20 years, the situation was desperate. Audiences were marching away from the cinema in droves, back to the comfort of the TVs flickering in their living rooms. Our cinemas were run by the duopoly of Rank and EMI, whose executives seemed to see it as their mission in life to turn cinemas across the country into Bingo halls.

We were walking backwards into the future with our eyes down, hoping for a full house. The disastrous failure and bad management of these once cash-rich, highly resourced, giant companies to develop in line with their global competitors cast a dark shadow under which all of us who make and distribute films in the UK still toil.

In those dark days, as always in our industry, we were not without our creative successes.

Richard Attenborough, Hugh Hudson and David Puttnam had won Oscars for Gandhi and Chariots of Fire, and it’s true, we had Goldcrest, the leading UK film financier – the catalyst for such international successes as Gandhi, The Killing Fields and The Mission.

Colin Welland cried, “the British are coming”, at the Oscars in 1982. As any American school kid knows, Paul Revere – because he considered himself British at that time – never said this phrase – and probably neither should have Colin, because it proved to be an albatross around our necks for the next 20 years. In reality, the reborn British film industry trumpeted by the press was just another temporary production boom.

In 1984 the Conservative Government announced that it was abolishing the Eady Levy, which had for so long sustained our industry. They also niftily withdrew the capital allowance tax breaks for production. Chaos reigned once more. Producers were thrown the bone of £2 million a year to finance film production through a new private company, British Screen. Not nearly enough to build an industry, but it did support some important work by providing opportunities for some, but not all, of our most gifted filmmakers like Ken Loach and Mike Leigh who, frankly, might have been silenced without it.

Then Goldcrest – the pride of the British film industry – which had, over seven years, made 24 major feature films – collapsed with a bridge loan too far. At a time before the ancillary rights explosion of video and pay TV, and when 90% of the revenue for a film still came solely from its theatrical release. The company was woefully short of capital and was sold for a knock-down price.

With Government relegating us to pauper status and the City turning its back on us, production levels plummeted and even the most optimistic of us realised the game was up. With great frustration, many of our directors – the absolute heart of any film industry – namely, Ridley and Tony Scott, Adrian Lyne, Jon Amiel, Roland Joffe, Michael Apted, Mick Jackson – and so many others, including myself – followed David Puttnam to America. There we were welcomed with open arms and we could ply our trade as we have done since 1911 when an Englishman, William Horsley, made the very first film in California.

But back in the UK, against all expectations, the audiences were returning to the cinema with the same alacrity with which they had abandoned it just a few years earlier. This was because of what was called at the time the “multiplex experiment”. The cinema chains – principally, the American- owned ones – were building new venues and people actually started enjoying going to the movies once more. Proof, apparently, that if you build it, they will come. But the audience certainly weren’t seeing many British films. Probably because there were so few, if any, to see at the time.

On to the late 80s and early 90s, when British cinema became the handmaiden of television. Channel Four, and to a lesser extent, the BBC, kept the film cameras turning over – just about. But for the most part, a generation of filmmakers got stuck making small-screen filmed drama and the legacy of Lean, Reed and Korda was forgotten.

Then, in June 1990, Margaret Thatcher invited Dickie Attenborough, David Puttnam and a number of others into Number 10 Downing Street for a seminar. “Something must be done,” the woman said. I have this on hearsay, I have to add, because I wasn’t invited. The end result was a handout of £1 million a year to create the British Film Commission which, together with the introduction of Section 42 tax relief in 1992, provided a necessary boost toward inward investment – principally for large-scale American productions in the UK.

But it had little effect on energising or creating a proper film industry.

Then, in the mid-1990s, Dickie Attenborough once again – thank God for you, Dickie – persuaded the Conservative Government to give a share of “good cause” Lottery receipts to film. And as crucial, absolutely crucial, as this was for the survival of film culture in this country, there was a “catch” and hence a fatal flaw. The way the National Lottery Act was framed meant that, for the first few years, all the money for film had to be sunk into production, with a bit left over for capital projects such as refurbishing art house cinemas. The decision to force Lottery money solely into production and doling it out through an unprepared Arts Council was a mistake. A mistake gleefully jumped on in the press, in what can only be described as a tabloid editor’s dream. Frankly, it was a badly thought out, “amateur night out” system, resulting in many films of which we as an industry could never be proud. Also many of these films were made in a vacuum completely disconnected from distribution. A mistake which was not rectified until a change of Government and the creation of the Film Council. This is not self- serving, this is fact.

With the election of the Labour Government in May 1997, Gordon Brown’s first budget reinstated the 100% first year write-off for British films. A few months later, the DCMS/Film Policy Review, steered by Stewart Till, delivered the most thorough and comprehensive review up until then of our industry’s problems. Its conclusive document, “A Bigger Picture”, offered a cogent analysis of our industry, identifying the need for a distribution-led approach.

But sadly, its key policy proposals were quickly shot down in flames by the ITV companies. Incidentally, the same ITV companies who boasted that, instead, they were going to invest £100 million in British films. Yeah, sure. This investment never, ever materialised.

To digress for a second:

The BBC invests less than 1% of its entire budget in UK feature film production. And, believe me, we’re grateful for that 1%. Less than 1%! Worse still, ITV, Channel 5 and Sky, whose schedules also are driven by American movies, invest even less than that. Even less than 1%! This lack of commitment from broadcasters to indigenous British film production is completely out of step with the rest of Europe.

But back to recent history and the film industry.

Throughout these years, one film company stood out. PolyGram.

At a time when the overwhelming majority of British films barely registered at the box-office at home or abroad, PolyGram, a production and distribution company led by Michael Kuhn, was responsible for supporting talent and financing British films which did have popular appeal: the work of Richard Curtis, Duncan Kenworthy, Hugh Grant, Mike Newell, Danny Boyle, Michael Winterbottom and many, many more was suddenly visible on the world stage. Not least of which was Working Title – still the jewel in the crown of British film production – run by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. PolyGram patiently persevered – it most certainly wasn’t created in a day. But that’s about how long Philips – the Dutch parent of this singularly British success – took to sell it, when it was suddenly gobbled up by Seagram.

In the meantime, governmental responsibility for film had been shunted around from the Office of Arts and Libraries to the DTI, to the DNH and then to the DCMS. Acronyms that not many of us could keep up with. But it was never a recipe for consistent policy execution. And finally, in 1999, came the creation of the Film Council.

What our recent history teaches us is this: as a nation we’ve got an uncanny ability to produce world-class filmmaking talents. We too readily boast of our Oscar triumphs, our Berlin Bears and Venice Lions -proof that we can make outstanding films, whether here or within the Hollywood machine or, frankly, anywhere else we choose to tell our stories and make our films. It’s how we define our success, but although this makes headlines for newspapers, it’s not nearly as important as the vast numbers of people who are employed whose work creates those headlines.

And, except for brief bursts from time to time, as with PolyGram, those triumphs have never been supported by significant structures. If we’d had a proper film policy, with industry and Government working in partnership, those structures would have then been created. But they haven’t been.

But equally, what about emerging talent? At all levels? Something that as an industry we’ve done almost nothing to address, largely because of a scandalous neglect of training for too many years.

The present

So just what kind of film industry do we have right now? Let’s start with our strengths. I’d identify three in particular.

First. We have outstanding creative skills. We’ve got superb writers, directors and actors – not to mention the creators of hugely valuable intellectual properties like Harry Potter. Richard Curtis, for instance, has written British films which have grossed over a billion dollars at the world box office.

Second. We have outstanding studios and facilities companies, world-class costumiers, camera companies and digital post-production houses – studios and facilities which have been a magnet for inward investment, principally from the US.

Third. We still have – just about – the finest technicians and craftspeople anywhere – although their numbers are diminishing at a worrying rate.

I could also add a fourth: we have the English language – not just the same language of American movies, but that of the Internet.

But frankly, if you take a look at the reality of our industry, it’s apparent that we’ve failed to use our strengths to our real advantage.

The basic truth of the film industry is that it is a distribution-led business. It has been since Adolph Zukor, William Fox, Carl Laemmle and the rest of the pioneers planted their flags out west. The formula used now by Hollywood majors is exactly the same as it has been for 80 years. The Hollywood studios’ mathematics are simple: money spent on production is more than earned back in distribution, profits are taken and the balance is used to help finance the production and distribution of more films.

Make no mistake, international distribution is where the real money is made in the film industry.

The global market for film is estimated to be worth $60 billion dollars annually. A market totally dominated by American cinema. Yet instead of focussing on our strengths or addressing our biggest weakness – getting strong British films into global distribution – much of the British film industry has developed a serious production habit for the last 50 years. And like any addict, it has obsessively gone about feeding its addiction in any way that it can.

But now the years of plenty are over and presently it’s harder to close the finance on independent British films than it has been for many years. Of late, FilmFour has drastically scaled back, Granada has shut its dedicated film arm, and there’s a general shortage of finance in the market. As I have already mentioned, the fortunes of TV and film are intertwined. We simply must address the lack of investment from broadcasters into our industry.

Last week the Government published its response to the Joint Committee on the Communications Bill, in which it accepted that the broadcasters should play a positive role in the development of UK film. The Film Council will pursue this vigorously, but if Ofcom and Government drop this ball, frankly you can pretty much say goodbye to an indigenous film industry.

This year, our indigenous production industry will make around 40 films, representing £150 million in investment, down from the high of 1997 when 84 films were made. At the same time, inward investment into film production – principally large-scale American films – fluctuates year-to-year thanks to events far beyond our control: foot-and-mouth, swings in the sterling-dollar exchange rate, the threat of the SAG and Writers Guild strikes and, of course, international terrorism.

We had the boom and now we’ve got a bust. Sound familiar?

To sum up, here’s the paradox of our industry: worldwide demand for film has never been stronger. Yet our ability to cash in on that demand remains almost as weak as it was two decades ago. The audience has grown. But much of our industry has failed to respond to that growth.

There’s been little consistency of performance or growth across the UK industry as a whole.

That’s why we need to reinvent our industry, and make it fit to face the future.

The future

So what do we want that future to look like?

We have a Government that tells us it is willing to work in partnership with our industry. Willing to try to help us unlock the capital which gives us our best shot in years at creating a sustainable film industry.

We must evolve – and quickly – or this window of opportunity will slam shut in our faces. The results may not be apparent in the short term or even in the medium term, but reinvention of our industry must start now.

We need to abandon forever the “little England” vision of a UK industry comprised of small British film companies delivering parochial British films. That, I suspect, is what many people think of when they talk of a “sustainable” British film industry. Well, it’s time for a reality check. That “British” film industry never existed, and in the brutal age of global capitalism, it never will.

I hasten to add that personally, as a film director, I am not standing before you to celebrate world capitalism. But as Chairman of the Film Council I have to point out its reality regarding our industry’s future.

We need to stimulate the growth of an industry that embraces the international market. At the same time, we must maintain an environment which supports the production of British films of enduring cultural significance. It’s not either/or. It’s both. We must stop talking about the British film industry and start considering our film industries.

We have to stop worrying about the nationality of money. We want to encourage investment into our film industry from anywhere in the world – without tearing up the roots of cultural film production.

Also, now is the time, once and for all, to recognise that our industry’s obsession with public funding for production is taking us nowhere. This might seem like kicking someone when they’re down, but it’s not. As crucial as it is for our short term survival, public funding solely for production is not the answer to the industry’s larger structural problems. I’m sorry, but it honestly isn’t.

I know it’s tough out there right now. I too work at the sharp end of production and I am fully aware that people are suffering in our industry.

But we’ve had seven years of Lottery subsidy, and five years of a production-focussed tax break. Neither has delivered the structural changes that we need in order to deliver the consistent performance and growth to prevent a crisis every five years.

So let’s accept that production will never be a major profit centre. The idea of a self-sustaining, purely British film industry has been the Holy Grail for Government and industry for many years. But the idea of building a stable of rights-owning film production companies is a fantasy. Independent producers are a form of entrepreneurial talent, but they’re not moguls. With perhaps one shining exception – Jeremy Thomas – the evidence from too many years is clear that our producers are never going to build the companies which will form the basis of a successful film industry. It might work in television, but it hasn’t worked in film. Producers are a form of talent; they take a fee for their services just like directors, cinematographers, production designers and everyone else. On their own, producers will never be able to deliver the sustainable film industry we need.

It’s time for that reality check and a time for reinvention.

This means reinventing the UK as a “film hub” – a creative core. A film hub which is a natural destination for international investment. A film hub which is a natural supplier of skills and services to the global film market. A film hub which consistently creates British films that attract worldwide distribution and large audiences, while still using subsidy to support cultural production and new talent.

To be clear, if we are going to make that vision of the hub a reality, we need three key ingredients:

Number One. Distribution. That means an industry that is led by distribution. Production led by distribution, not the other way round. Pull, not push. Robust, UK-based distributors and sales agents with a serious appetite for investing in British films and helping to make them a success all around the world. We have to stop defining success by how well British films perform in Milton Keynes. This is a big world – really successful British films like Notting Hill can make up to 85% of their revenues outside the UK.

Number Two. Skills – the best-equipped, most highly-skilled, most flexible film workforce in the world.

Number Three. Infrastructure – state-of-the-art studios and post-production companies, complemented by outstanding service companies operating at every level of the international film business.

Distribution, Skills, Infrastructure. The keys to making the UK a film hub for the 21st century. It’s not rocket science, you might be thinking. But how do we make it achievable?

By reinvention. If we are to succeed, what is needed is not mere change, but transformation. And not transformation in one sector, but at every single level of the UK film business.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick. But if we don’t try, then we won’t survive. It really is as simple as that.
So what do we need to do to make that hub a reality?

In a successful industry, distribution pulls production behind it. Distribution pull, not production push, as I said before. But public policy in the UK has always largely focussed on production. So how can we effect a shift of emphasis, thereby increasing the strength of both the distribution and the production sectors?

The Government has a number of levers it can pull, the most powerful of which is fiscal policy.

We need a tax break that gives incentives to distributors – both strong independents and American studios – to invest in and acquire British films.

We need a fiscal policy which stimulates market investment rather than one that primarily serves “producer interests”. We need to be led by demand, not pushed by supply.

If we don’t focus on strengthening distribution for our films, then soon we might not have a production sector at all.

The existing tax breaks have delivered many significant benefits.

The 100% first year write-off – Section 48 – introduced by the Government in 1997, has generated jobs, brought fresh blood into the industry and delivered decent films enjoyed by audiences.

The other tax break, Section 42, continues to help attract big American movies here – movies that keep the gates from slamming shut at Pinewood and Shepperton.

But although these current tax breaks have performed a valuable function, they are inefficient. They mainly rely on using a sale and leaseback structure originally invented for oil pipelines and factory lathes. It’s not ideally suited to a business in which ultimately the only physical asset is a few cans of 35mm film negative.

That’s why there’s been such uncertainty over the rules governing the tax break. And is it any wonder that it hasn’t produced structural change? Particularly when so little of the benefit ends up with our filmmakers.

Don’t get me wrong. Without these tax breaks, there would be little or almost no production in the UK. But they haven’t improved the distribution of British films.

But in any event, the international landscape of film production is in the middle of a colossal transformation. This alone demands that we have a review. Tax breaks that were manna from heaven in 1997 may not be right for the next stage in our evolution.

I believe that the locomotive of any new tax break must relate to film distribution. We need a tax break that powers up that distribution locomotive. So that it can pull a healthier British production industry behind it. An industry composed of ambitious, large-scale British films, as well as smaller, “cultural” ones.

I don’t have to remind anyone here – that’s you, the industry – the current Section 48 relief will expire in July 2005. In production planning terms that means it’s good for another 18 months from today. We need to start planning for the future now. The Film Council is ready to work with you to cogently and persuasively put our case to Government.

But before I move on, allow me to digress for a short while, because there is a specific problem with the costs of low-budget British films, whose principal market is the UK.

For too long, we’ve assumed that the economics and mechanics of high- budget films can simply be scaled down and applied to low-budget films. They can’t. That’s a recipe for killing off the low-budget sector, not sustaining it. Fundamentally, how can we justify a parochial film industry that doesn’t travel beyond these shores and hence has no hope of returning its costs? If the work is of such cultural importance, but might not even return its investment in the UK – let alone anywhere else – it will have to be subsidised, or its costs downsized considerably.

Earlier this year the Film Council commissioned a report from Simon Relph on low-budget filmmaking around the world – the best industry report I’ve ever read. I urge all of you involved in producing and distributing British films to read it when it’s published in a few weeks time. It illustrates, extremely persuasively, that we need to fundamentally change the way in which we go about making low-budget British films; if we don’t, then in a few years time, British filmmaking at this level will cease to exist. It really is as simple as that.

The Relph Report shows that the solutions lie with filmmakers and with talent. It thoroughly illustrates that the French, Germans and even the Danish make films far more cheaply than we do. Why can’t we make films at budgets that reflect their market value? Why can’t we adopt the more flexible attitude of the vibrant American independent sector, and thereby create more opportunities for more people to enter our business?

Let me throw down a challenge to British filmmakers and British talent: if you continue to make films for which the costs far exceed potential revenues then you have to have a very good reason to ask for public money to support you in that effort, or you need to reduce the cost of low-budget films by changing the way you work.

Moving to the second element of the hub: skills.

Again, a self-evident truth – we simply won’t have an industry at all unless we invest in people.

As proud as we are of our existing talent and skills base, there simply aren’t enough good new writers, new editors, new production designers and new cinematographers coming through. The technical and skills workforce is ageing. My own editor is 75 years old, acknowledged to be one of the world’s great editors, but he’s a product of a system – studio apprenticeships – which long ago disappeared. We desperately need a new generation of talented filmmakers because they are our life-force and our future.

So what do we intend to do about this?

The Film Council and Skillset are undertaking a major study into the training needs of our industry. Stewart Till is chairing the steering group. Only when we accurately know what we need can we possibly plan for the future.

When the report is complete, we will draw up a realistically budgeted training strategy, one designed to ensure that with Skillset we will create a world-class workforce right across the entire UK film business.

This won’t be cheap, of course. As existing funding commitments expire, the Film Council is prepared to shift more Lottery money into training. But in return we will also insist that the industry invests seriously in its own future for the first time – by investing in training right across the board – all the way from script development, through production, to post-production, distribution and exhibition.

We’d also like to tie a contribution to public training funds to the availability of any possible tax break. Something that was mooted during the Film Policy Review, the advice then was that it needed primary legislation, which wasn’t achievable at that time. If as an industry we demand our rights, then we’ve got to deliver on our responsibilities.

We also want to see Government release more funds to train and re-skill our industry. The Government says it’s serious about developing skills and creativity in this country; now’s the time to prove it.

At the moment, we’re scattering our efforts in too many directions at once. We’ve a National Film and Television School out at Beaconsfield which looks like an abandoned set from The Day of the Triffids, and some good, but seriously under-resourced film courses at Leeds, Bournemouth, the London Film School and elsewhere. There’s presently no attempt to make these courses complement one another, and no attempt to offer a structured entry plan into our industry for all of the different creative, technical and craft roles.

The Film Council intends to put together a coherent training strategy for film, organised at the centre, but delivered at colleges and training establishments all around the country. A strategy in which a revitalised National Film and Television School has a prominent role. Schools equipped for the digital world of 2010 and beyond.

What we’ve got at the moment is not a policy for “training” or “skills development” – it’s an excuse for one. We have to have a real policy and we have to see it through.

But if we’re to build a world-class film industry, we also need to draw on all the talents available to us; we have to broaden access to our industry to all sections of our society. Not just for cultural reasons, but for straightforward commercial ones. This is not altruism or political correctness; it’s common sense to make use of the best talents that we can lay our hands on.

Now to the third key element of the film hub: infrastructure. Everything from our studios, to post-production houses, to labs, to camera hire, to costume hire – everything that is needed for a film to get made.

The environment in which all of these companies operate is undergoing radical change and we can’t pretend that cosy transatlantic assumptions will endure. Around the world, investment is pouring into new film studios from India to South Korea, from Australia to Thailand, and dozens of other Governments are dreaming up new tax incentives seemingly month-by- month in an effort to attract big-budget Hollywood movies. The world is suddenly a much more competitive place. The Hollywood studios are more cost-conscious than ever before. Once we were fearful that US production would stay at home instead of coming to Pinewood or Shepperton or Leavesden. The new reality is even more worrying; they might even go somewhere else altogether.

That trend won’t be reversed – instead it will accelerate with the collapse of traditional trade barriers, as our industry becomes more mobile and as digital production technologies make it far easier to produce films set almost anywhere in the world.

As we speak, in Romania, one of my colleagues on the Film Council Board, Iain Smith, is co-producing Cold Mountain for Miramax. Directed by one of our finest directors, Anthony Minghella, they have an international crew – 150 of them British – with many British actors and using mostly British services. It’s an American Civil War story about a wounded Confederate soldier, played by Jude Law, hoping to reunite with his pre-war sweetheart. Not a lot to do with Romania, you might think. But if you want to know why they’re filming there in the Carpathians, just look at the costs of construction and extras. Luring an $80 million film away from locations in the United States and studios in the UK would have been unthinkable five years ago.

Over time, these non-traditional filmmaking countries will build their own film industries as they further develop their own skills. But if we form partnerships with them now, we will have a much better chance of supplying services to them – particularly our high-end skills – as their industries mature.

How can the Film Council, working with Government, help the industry achieve that transformation?

We must make our crucial financial incentives more flexible.

We need to revise the definition of a British film, finding ways to recast it to reflect the fact that actual production increasingly will take place in countries with a lower cost base than ours.

We must begin to view the world beyond the UK.

We need to encourage greater British involvement in international film production, by creating strategic alliances with new territories outside Europe who are already playing host to big-budget productions and are hungry for more, at the same time ensuring that British talent – technicians and craftspeople – work on these films.

Film production, David Lean once said, is the “last of the travelling circuses”. It’s taken a long time to heed his advice.

We will need to strengthen our traditional links with the American industry at every level; encouraging them to continue to invest in production here in order to develop our infrastructure to the benefit of jobs and skills – even in an environment that is far more competitive than it was, ten, or even five, years ago.

In Europe, it will mean focussing on the obvious benefits of being part of the biggest single market in the world. Encouraging financial bridges with Europe’s major film companies across the continent, and bringing additional investment into the UK. And, crucially, we must increase our influence on policy at the European Commission.

The Film Council will examine whether there are existing fiscal incentives which might be adapted to stimulate investment into the infrastructure, most notably into studios and post-production.

So let’s try to draw everything together before I finish. Which, by the way, will be soon. To achieve our aims, we also need Government to help us – not with handouts, but by acting in a cohesive way so that we can work with different departments to achieve our objectives – without running into turf wars every five minutes. If the Film Council is to have a real chance of creating a new and meaningful film industry in this country we will need to work not only with the DCMS, but also with the Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department for Education and Skills, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and doubtless other parts of Government.

Pretty obvious, you might say, but in our experience, not always easy.

I’d like to finish with a story which sums up our predicament. It’s a story about a boiling frog, a story widely told in France where, as you know, they regularly eat these unfortunate creatures. Apparently, if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, not surprisingly, it will immediately jump out. However, if you place the frog into a pot of cold water and slowly heat the water to boiling point the frog will never notice the change. It will not attempt to jump out. It will not feel any pain. From one moment to the next the change in temperature will be slight, and its metabolism will try to adapt. It will be remarkably successful at adapting. Then it will die, boiled to death.

I’d contend this is the danger facing the British film industry. Slowly, but inexorably, many of our “competitive advantages” are evaporating. Our creative and technical skills, our cost-base, our ability to compete in the world market at every level – they are all under threat in the long term, and unless we jump out of the pot in the next few years then eventually we too will be goners. Make no mistake.

To conclude:-

We need distribution-led companies to carve out a British share of the $60 billion world market and we can’t do this simply by staying at home.

We have to not worry about the nationality of money. We have to redefine what a British film is.

We are not one film industry, but many industries. One solution doesn’t fit all.

Absolutely, we need cinemas that show not just American blockbusters, but films made in the UK with stories for and about ourselves.

We need a robust infrastructure that will enable us to make those films here and also compete in the world marketplace.

In the immediate future, we are going to have to compete on the basis of skills, even more so than costs, so we need to rapidly expand the quality of our skills base because it is the life-force that will protect the UK’s ability to make film.

We are at a crossroads. Film Council and film industry.
The tide is turning and we can’t sit here like cultural Canutes.

We can retreat back to “Little England”. Or we can mount a sustained assault on wider horizons. The choice is there for all of us. And just in case anyone has any doubts about our talent in the UK, in the spirit of optimism, I’ll leave you with a taste of our industry’s most recent and future work.

Thank you very much.

Sir Alan Parker CBE, Chairman FILM COUNCIL
, 5th November 2002

Background on the Exhibits, Students and Competitions at the White House Science Fair

The second White House Science Fair celebrates over 100 students from over 45 states, representing over 40 different competitions and organizations that work with students and inspire them to excel in STEM. A subset of the students being honored today will have the added opportunity to exhibit their award-winning work. More than 30 student teams will have the opportunity to exhibit their projects this year, almost twice as many as the first White House Science Fair. In addition, senior Administration officials and leading STEM advocates and educators will attend the White House Science Fair and meet the students.

Expected attendees include:

Senior Administration Officials
John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Charles F. Bolden, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Jane Lubchenco, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Patrick Gallagher, Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Stephen Van Roekel, Federal Chief Information Officer
Harold Varmus, Director, National Cancer Institute
Carl Wieman, Associate Director for Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Leading STEM Educators and Advocates
Bill Nye, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Executive Director, Planetary Society
Craig Barrett, former Chairman of Intel
Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, Director of Hayden Planetarium
Alan Leshner, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Michelle Cahill, Vice President of Carnegie Corporation of New York
Linda Rosen, CEO, Change the Equation
Jo Handelsman, Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the Yale School of Medicine

A sampling of the exhibits that the President will see include:

  • Student “Making” and Starting Small Business to Sell his Invention.   Fourteen year old Joey Hudy from Phoenix, Arizona is already a Maker Faire veteran.  He invented an Extreme Marshmallow Cannon and an LED Cube Microcontroller Shield, which he has exhibited at Maker Faires in New York, San Francisco, and Detroit.  He received 2 Editors Choice Awards from Maker Faire, and has started a small business selling the microcontroller (Arduino) shield kits on several websites.  As the World's Largest Do-It-Yourself Festival, Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots American innovation.
  • Designing a More Efficient Way to Collect Solar Energy.  Aidan Dwyer, a middle school student hailing from Northport, New York, won first place in the American Museum of Natural History’s 2011 Young Naturalist Award for his study of a more efficient way to collect solar energy.  Modeling the natural design of tree limbs which Aidan predicted must serve a benefit for the trees to optimize sun collected to feed photosynthesis in the short, dark days of winter, Aidan worked to devise a potentially more efficient way to collect solar energy.
  • Seventeen-Year Old Girl Designing Targeted Cancer Treatment.  Angela Zhang, a seventeen year old senior from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California, won the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology for using nanotechnology to eradicate cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for initiating and driving tumor growth yet are often resistant to current cancer therapies.  In her research, Angela aimed to design a nanosystem to target drug delivery to these cancer stem cells, which could potentially help overcome cancer resistance, minimize undesirable side effects, and allow for real-time monitoring of treatment efficacy.
  • Teenage CEO Inventing Dissolvable Sugar Packets to Reduce Waste.  Hayley Hoverter, a 16 years old student from Downtown Business Magnet High School in Los Angeles, California, won first place at the 2011 Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship's National Challenge for her idea for patent-pending ecologically conscious dissolvable sugar packets.  Hayley, now CEO of Sweet (dis)SOLVE, started her business as a part of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE's) business plan competition. 
  • Improving the Environment One Community at a Time.Isabel Steinhoff, Rico Bowman, Genevieve Boyle, and Mina Apostadiro, of Kohala Middle School in Kapaau, Hawaii, took first place in the grade 6-8 division of the Siemens “We Can Change the World” Challenge, for their household battery recycling effort to collect 6,000 batteries in 60 days.  The team, named 6000 in 60, embarked on a campaign to improve their community’s use and disposal of batteries by giving local people information on the environmental harm of batteries disposed improperly along with providing local opportunities for recycling.
  • Fifteen-Year Old Student Modeling Brain Control of a Robotic Arm.  Anand Srinivasan, a fifteen-year old sophomore from Roswell High School in Roswell, Georgia, qualified as a top 15 Finalist in the 2011 Google Science Fair.  Anand used data recorded via electroencephalography (EEG) from his brain and, after coupling it with the custom software that he wrote, used it to control a home-built robotic arm.  Anand believes that this technology could be put to use for amputees and patients suffering from paralysis and muscular dystrophy.
  • Team of Girl Scouts Seeking Patent on Prosthetic Hand Device Which Enables a Young Girl to Write.  A group of middle school-aged Girl Scouts from Ames, Iowa, including Gaby Dempsey, Mackenzie Gewell, and Kate Murray developed a patent-pending prosthetic hand device, winning them the inaugural Global Innovation Award at the FIRST LEGO League competition, beating out nearly 200 other submissions.  Their invention was in response to the need of a little old girl in Duluth, Georgia, enabling her to write for the first time although she was born without fingers on her right hand.  Their patent pending BOB-1 has earned the girls the Heartland Red Cross Young Heroes Award, scholarships at Iowa State University College of Engineering, recognition on the Floor of the Iowa and the US House of Representatives, and the title of finalists for the 2011 Pioneer Hi-Bred Iowa Women of Innovation Awards. 
  • Using Genes to Improve Farming.  Dyersburg High School senior, Maryanna McClure, made Tennessee Future Farmers of America history by becoming the first student from the Tennessee FFA Association to win the National FFA Agriscience Fair, placing first in Division II of the Zoology event, for her study of Cotswold sheep genetics.  Maryanna breeds, raises, and markets sheep and their fleece and was inspired to do a project to research how to breed the natural color of sheep back into the industry.  The National FFA Agriscience Fair is a competition for FFA members grade 7-12 who conduct a scientific research project pertaining to the agriculture and food science industries.
  • Young Women Rocketing to Nationals.  Janet Nieto and Ana Karen of Presidio, Texas were members of the Presidio High School Rocketry Team that competed as a National Finalist in the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Gwynelle Condino, a 7th grade student at Lucy Franco Middle School, also of Presidio, Texas, is the leader of her TARC team this year.  All three girls have successfully competed in a number of rocketry challenges and have attended the NASA Student Launch Initiative Advanced Rocketry program. 
  • Detroit Students Imagining the Energy Efficient City of the Future.  The Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy student team from Detroit, Michigan, competed in the Michigan Regional Contest of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition for the second year in a row.  Lucas Cain Beal, Jayla Mae Dogan, and Ashley Cassie Thomas, all aged 13, were part of a team that won the Excellence in Engineering Award at the 2012 Michigan Regional Competition focused on designing a city around the theme of "Fuel Your Future: Imagine New Ways to Meet Our Energy Needs and Maintain a Healthy Planet."   After being named Best Rookie Team in 2011, the students had to overcome losing their school to a fire.  Despite the adversity and having to merge with another school, the students were energized to take on the Future City challenge again, saying “(Future City) helps me make a better city to live in.”
  • High School Student Developing System to Detect Nuclear Threats.  The Davidson Academy of Nevada student Taylor Wilson, 17, of Reno, Nevada conducted researchon novel techniques for detecting nuclear threatsand developed an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and highly sensitive system capable of detecting small quantities of nuclear material. Taylor’s system, which won him the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and Best of Category in Physics, could be used as a monitor at ports to scan cargo containers for Uraniam-235, Weapons Grade Plutonium, and Highly Enriched Uranium.
  • Young Students Developing a Sanitizing Lunchbox.  Sixth graders Ma’Kese Wesley and Isis Thompson and their LEGO robotics team from the ACE Collegium Campus in Kansas City, Missouri researched ways in which they could improve food safety.  Their invention, a UV-light lunchbox, sanitizes food between when it is packed in the morning and a student opens to eat it at lunchtime.  A UV light, which is turned on by a darkness-detecting sensor when the lunchbox is closed, kills bacteria that could make the food unsafe to eat.  The FIRST LEGO League competition aims to engage kids ages nine to fourteen in engineering. 
  • Succeeding at Science Even in Difficult Circumstances: Samantha Garvey, 18, of Bay Shore, New York, attends Brentwood High School -Sonderling Center in Brentwood, New York.  From a field of over 1,800 applicants, Samantha has been named a semifinalist for her Intel Science Talent Search 2012 environmental sciences project examining the effect of physical environment and predators on a specific species of mussel.  Despite personal obstacles, Samantha believes her education will bring her and her family a better life. 
  • Student Designing a Robot to Connect Senior Citizens with their Families.  Concerned with the loneliness of seniors at his grandmother’s senior living center, fourteen-year old Salesianum High School (Wilmington, DE) student Benjamin Hylak of West Grove, Pennsylvania, built an interactive robot, which qualified him as a BROADCOM Masters 2011 Finalist.  His telepresence robot which moves around the center and allows seniors to connect via Skype with their family and friends when they are unable to visit in person, earned him second place in the BROADCOM Masters Engineering Category.  
  • Building an Award-Winning Robot and Learning Entrepreneurial Lessons.   Morgan Ard, Titus Walker, and Robert Knight, III, 8th grade students at Monroeville Jr. High School in Monroeville, Alabama won high honors at the South BEST robotics competition.  BEST teams mimic industry by designing and developing a product and delivering it to market, including a marketing presentation, engineering notebook, trade-show style exhibit booth and robot competition.   Through the experience, these middle school students not only learned the innovation and engineering  necessary to develop an award-winning robot, but the marketing and business  skills that spark true entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Writing a Video Game that Focuses on Saving the Environment.  Eleven year old Hannah Wyman who attends St. Anna's School in Leominster, Massachusetts, won the grand prize in her age group (9-12) for her video game Toxic, in Microsoft's first-ever U.S.  Kodu Cup. In Hannah’s game, which is now available for free on the Kodu Game Lab site, a player must solve puzzles and collect coins in order to remove soot from trees, zap pollution clouds to clean the air, and convince friends to plant more trees, all in an effort to save the environment.
  • Developing a Portable Disaster Relief Shelter. Jessica D’Esposito, Colton Newton and Anna Woolery from Petersburg, Indiana are representing the Pike Central High School InvenTeam, one of fifteen schools selected nationwide.  They won a grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program to develop a lightweight, portable disaster relief shelter, designed to be complete with a water purification system and a renewable energy source to power an LED light, which could be used after disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes to house people who have been displaced.

Additional exhibits at the White House Science Fair include:

  • A Mobile Medical Alert Device That Could Save Your Life.  Ada Taylor and Katrina Gutierrez, both 17, along with Greeshma Somashekar, 18, all seniors at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina, are members of the award winning Unisecurity team which took the 2011 Grand Prize in the Cyber Security category at the Conrad Innovation Summit.  The team’s product, MedPAL, is a smartphone app that works in conjunction with a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor to notify contacts in the event of a medical emergency, version 1 of which is currently available for purchase on the Web.
  • Designing a Next-Generation Airplane Wing.  John William Voelker and Miraj Rahematpura, seniors atXavier High School in Middletown, Connecticut, are co-captains of the Xavier High School Engineering Team which won the 2011 National Championship of the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) for designing a next-generation airplane wing that maximizes fuel efficiency and enhances performance. 
  • Developing a Device to Help in the Clean Up of Oil Spills. Caroline “Carlie” Schulter and Matthew Tompkins hail from Marietta, Georgia and are members of the Carlton J. Kell High School InvenTeam, one of fifteen schools selected nationwide.  They won a grant from the Lemelson-MIT program to develop a remotely operated watercraft that skims oil off the surface of shallow water after offshore oil disasters.  In addition to their invention, the team has assisted in the development of the community-based Innovation Center for youth interested in invention, innovation and robotics. 
  • Ohio High School and Middle School Teams Sweeping National Science Olympiad.  Andrew Mikofalvy and Lisa Guo, both seniors at Solon High School, in Solon, Ohio were members of the Solon 2011 National Champion Science Olympiad team in addition to the Solon Middle School National Championship teams of 2008 and 2009.  Kevin Sun and Katrina Mikofalvy, now sophomores at Solon High School, were co-captains of the 2011 Solon Middle School National Champion Science Olympiad team and members of the Solon Middle School teams that took home first prize in 2009 and 2010.  The 2011 teams continued the tradition of Solon High School and Middle School success in the Science Olympiad, qualifying for Nationals twelve times and nine times, respectively. 
  • Research on Patient Attitudes Toward their Health.  Seventeen-year old Manasa Bhatta of Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek, Georgia, was a Regional Finalist in the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition.  Manasa conducted a case-control study, surveying women at a health clinic and found certain personal beliefs had a strong negative influence on the likelihood of patients being open with their physicians and having the recommended screenings.  
  • Exploring Improvements to Cancer Treatments by Overcoming Chemotherapy Resistance.  Shree Bose, a 17-year old senior at Fort Worth Country Day School in Fort Worth, Texas, took top honors at the 2011 Google Science Fair for her discovery of a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs. Her conclusions hold tremendous potential for the improvement of cancer chemotherapy treatment and for future research. Shree has presented her research at numerous international competitions and has been honored as one of Glamour Magazine's 21 Amazing Young Women of 2011, spoken at TEDxWomen 2011, and served as a panelist at Google Zeitgeist. 
  • Studying Sickle Cell Disease.  Prarthana Dalal, now an 18-year old freshman atNorthwestern University in Evanston, Illinois,took First Place at the International BioGENEius Challenge, for herproject on hemoglobin genetics and how sequence changes can effect fetal hemoglobin production in mouse models, research which can be used to understand treatment mechanisms for sickle cell disease.  Prarthana is originally from Leawood, Kansas where as a senior she attended Shawnee Mission East High School. 
  • Middle School Team Studying Environmental Impacts of Chemicals on their City’s Groundwater Resource.  Team “DR. MED” from San Antonio Texas is comprised of NEISD STEM Academy students Jocelyn Hernandez, Ricardo Rodriguez, Nathaly Salazar, and Carlos Zapata, all aged 13.  The students studied the effects that the improper disposal of pharmaceutical chemicals has on Edwards Aquifer, a groundwater resource for the city of San Antonio, Texas.   The team discovered that the introduction of pharmaceuticals has an impact on the pH, alkalinity, hardness, and nitrates in water sources, resulting in negative implications for the ecology of Edwards Aquifer, winning them recognition as an 8th Grade National Finalist for the eCYBERMISSION competition.  
  • Developing A Concussion-Detecting Helmet to Combat Sports Injuries.  Fifteen year old Peninsula High School (Rolling Hill Estates, CA) freshman Braeden Benedict from Rancho Palos Verdes, California developed a low-cost impact detection device for use on youth and high school contact sport helmets.  Braeden’s invention, winning him the top prize of America’s 2011 Top Young Scientist  at the 2011 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, will allow coaches and trainers to be alerted that a player has received a hit with enough force to cause a concussion.
  • Developing a System to Improve Water Quality in Underdeveloped Countries.  Eighth graders Emily Ashkin, Matthew Howard, and Alexander Roupas, all 15, of Providence Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina developed an inexpensive and easily accessible method for improving unsanitary water conditions in underdeveloped countries.  Their water purification system filtered out large particles, reduced turbidity levels, and increased the pH level to a value closer to that of pure water, winning the team the eCYBERMISSION Southeast Region for 8th grade.  
  • Re-Designing a Helmet to Better Protect U.S. Troops.  Eleven-year old Jack Dudley of Stone Hill Middle School and Sydney Dayyani of Belmont Ridge Middle School are members of a Virginia team that designed a military helmet to protect soldiers from traumatic brain injuries on the battlefield due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs).  Both young students have previously competed in national science competitions and this past year won first place in the 2011 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition with their HEADS UP! Helmet. The helmet is a redesign of the standard-issue military helmet and is equipped with bullet and shrapnel-stopping gels and highly sensitive temperature and air pressure sensors to notify medical personnel of the presence and level of brain injury.
  • Designing a Mine Detecting Device.  Marian Bechtel, a 17-year old Hempfield High School student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania was inspired to take on the serious issue of abandoned landmines which are still found in many places around the world and investigated an innovative method for safe demining. Marian’s design could lead to a simple, cheap, and reliable humanitarian demining tool and earned Marian honors as a Finalist at the 2011 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  Marian also won a second place award from the American Intellectual Property Law Association, a merit award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, a $1,000 award from the U.S. Army, and has recently been named an Intel Science Talent Search 2012 finalist.
  • Student Programmer Creating Dynamic Educational Video Game.  Jasper Hugunin, a thirteen year old eighth grade student from Island Middle School on Mercer Island, Washington, developed a video game which introduces players to programming concepts as they provide instructions to guide a robot through increasingly challenging mazes.   This clever design of “Robot Commander” won Jasper the Playable Game, Open Platform and Playable Game, and Incorporating STEM Themes categories at the National STEM Video Game Challenge.
  • All-Girl Team Winning National Award for Solving Community Problem.  Bethany Slayton and Christian Hanna, both 13, along with MaKayla Arteaga, 12, middle school students from South Carolina, are the River Rangers, a Christopher Columbus Awards team from Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina who took home the 2011 $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant  award.  The girls addressed the issue of abandoned boats crowding the waterways, posing threats to wildlife and humans in the area.  The team helped pass a law, assisted with the removal of abandoned boats, and launched a website to provide warnings about abandoned boats sighted in the area.
  • A Winning Robotics Alliance, with Astronauts Cheering Them On.  John Drake of Schaumburg, Illinois along with Sean Murphy of Atascadero, California and Eric Bakan of San Jose,California, represent the Winning Alliance of the 2011 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship.  A NASA Ames Research Center-mentored team, Team 254 which goes by the name The Cheesy Poofs, Team 111 or WildStang, and Team 973 or the Greybots, came together to form the Winning Alliance at the 2011 FIRST international competition for high school robotics teams.  
  • Observing Earth Surface Temperatures, Alongside Teams Around the World.  Huntington High School Students, Ben Jones and Emily Waybright, both 16, along with Derek Carson, 17, from Huntington, West Virginia, were recognized by the GLOBE program for their project examining the effects of cloud cover on Earth surface temperatures.  The project involved students developing a question that data from the GLOBE website could help inform.

In addition to the exhibiting teams, student winners invited to White House Science Fair include:

  • Jayme Warner, 11th grade
    Intech Collegiate High School, North Logan, UT
    Dupont Challenge Science Essay Competition Sr. Division 1st place winner
  • Michelle Woods, 10th grade
    Waubonsie Valley High School, Aurora, IL
    DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition Jr. Division 1st place winner
  • Jessica Steinort, 8th grade
    Scarborough Middle School, Scarborough, ME
    DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition Jr. Division 3rd place
  • Shireen Zaineb, 8th grade
    Milwaukee Montessori School, Milwaukee, WI
    National STEM Video Game Challenge Playable Game – Gamestar Mechanic category winner
  • Kevin Burdge
    Heidelberg High School, Germany DoDDS-Europe, MIT
    DoD Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
  • Elmer Tan, 17
    John P. Stevens High School, Edison, NJ
    Silver Medal winner, International Chemistry Olympiad
  • Ziyuan Liu and Cassee Cain, 12th grade
    Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN
    Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology
  • Kyra Smith, 13
    Stuart-Hobson Middle School, Washington DC
    Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
  • Suzan Shalhout, 7th grade
    O.W. Holmes Elementary-Middle School, Detroit, MI
    DoD STARBASE program
  • Priyen Patel, 11th grade
    Sussex Technical High School, Seaford,DE
    Media Award, 2011 U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge
  • Naomi Shah, 11th grade
    Sunset High School, Portland, OR
    Google Science Fair 15-16 age group winner
  • Lauren Hodge, 14
    Dallastown Area High School, York, PA
    Google Science Fair 13-14 age group winner
  • Gavin Ovsak, 17
    Duke University, Hopkins, MN
    Google Science Fair finalist
  • Anthony Edvalson, 13
    Mont Vernon Village School, Mont Vernon, NH
    Christopher Columbus Awards winning team member
  • Cassandra Lin and John Perino
    Westerly, RI
    Christopher Columbus Awards winning team members
  • Abhinaya Gunaseker, Fatima Elsheikh, Lauren Meyer, 9th grade
    John F. Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids, IA
    National Engineers Week Future City Competition, National Best Research Essay award
  • Audrey Thimm, 12th grade
    Bishop Kelly High School, Boise, ID
    Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam member
  • Travis Ramsey, 10th grade
    Eureka Spring High School, Eureka Spring, AR
    Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam member
  • Baxter Bond, 12th grade
    Tununak, AK
    Alaska Summer Research Academy / MIT Edgerton
  • Eta Atolia, 18
    Rickards High School, Tallahassee, FL
    Intel Science Talent Search finalist
  • Emily Chen, 18
    Brownell-Talbot School, Omaha, NE
    Intel Science Talent Search finalist
  • Tanner Coppin, 19
    Hankinson High School, Hankinson, ND
    Intel International Science and Engineering Fair finalist
  • Taide Ding, 17
    Oxford High School, Oxford, MS
    Intel International Science and Engineering Fair finalist
  • Michelle Hackman, 18
    John L. Miller Great Neck North High School (currently Yale University), Great Neck, NY
    Intel Science Talent Search 2nd place
  • Coleman Kendrick, 13
    Los Alamos Middle School, Los Alamos, NM
    Broadcom MASTERS 2011 finalist
  • Scott Wu, 9th grade
    Baton Rouge, LA
    2011 MATHCOUNTS middle school champion
  • Alex Kimm, 9th grade
    Brookings, SD
    2011 MATHCOUNTS finalist
  • Zachary Farr
    St. Albans, VT
    2011 MATHCOUNTS finalist
  • Arimus Wells, 12th grade
    Fountain-Fort Carson High School, Fountain, CO
    National Math and Science Initiative APTIP
  • Kayla Burriss, 14
    East Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC
    National Academy Foundation
  • Tayo Ogunmayin, 14, and Eva Perez, 14
    Berkeley High School and Envision High School, Berkeley, CA and Oakland, CA
    Girls Inc. InnovaTE^3 
  • Victoria Xia, 11th grade
    Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Vienna, VA
    2011 USA Mathematical Olympiad; 2011 China Girls Math Olympiad
  • Jacen Sherman, 15
    Springbrook High School, Silver Spring, MD
    Microsoft Kodu Cup First Prize
  • David Hayden
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, originally from AZ
    Microsoft Imagine Cup Team Note-Taker member
  • Noor Muhyi, 18
    Las Cruces High School, Las Cruces, NM
    NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing 2012 National Winner
  • Travis Sylvester, 18
    Greybull High School, Greybull, WY
    Wyoming State Science Fair
  • Landon Fisher, 12th grade
    Rockwall Heath High School, Heath, TX
    2011 Team America Rocketry Challenge National Champion team member
  • Steven Colon, 17
    New York, NY
    Posse Foundation

More details on the more than 40 competitions and organizations represented by students include:

  • Alaska Summer Research Academy at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, works with the Lemelson Foundation and MIT, through the MIT Edgerton Center, to inspire youth in their area to invent. http://www.uaf.edu/asra/
  • BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology),headquartered at Auburn University, BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) is a free robotics program for middle and high school students that demonstrates real-world relevance and exposes student teams to industry practices by challenging them to design and develop a product and deliver it to market. http://www.bestinc.org/
  • Broadcom MASTERS(Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars), a program of Society for Science & the Public, is a new national science, technology, engineering and math competition for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, launched in the past year. www.societyforscience.org/masters
  • Chemistry Olympiad, organized by the American Chemical Society, is a competition that identifies the top chemistry students across the nation. This year, the International Chemistry Olympiad will held in the United States at College Park, Maryland in 2012. www.acs.org/olympiad
  • Christopher Columbus Awardsis a national, community-based STEM program for middle school students that challenges teams to identify a problem in their community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution. www.christophercolumbusawards.com
  • Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Awards,a flagship program of the Conrad Foundation, is an annual competition that challenges high school students to develop commercially-viable, technology-based products that address real-world issues. http://www.conradawards.org/
  • Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a premier science competition for middle school students, cultivates the nation’s next generation of great thinkers and innovators by encouraging and rewarding students for their science acumen, curiosity, and how they share that passion through the creative communication of their findings. www.youngscientistchallenge.com
  • DoD STARBASEis an educational program sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. At DoD STARBASE, students participate in challenging "hands-on, mind-on" activities in STEM. They interact with military personnel to explore careers and observe STEM applications in the "real world."  The program provides students with 20-25 hours of stimulating experiences at National Guard, Navy, Marine, Air Force Reserve and Air Force bases across the nation.  http://www.starbasedod.com/
  • DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competitionseeks to increase science literacy among students and to motivate them to excel in communicating scientific ideas. The annual challenge encourages students to write a 700-1,000 word essay discussing a scientific discovery, theory, event, or technological application that has captured their interest. http://thechallenge.dupont.com/
  • eCYBERMISSION, as part of the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program, is a web-based, STEM competition free to students in grades six through nine, that awards teams based on their ability to identify a problem in their community and use the scientific method/inquiry or the engineering design process to propose a solution. www.usaeop.com
  • FIRST Lego Leagueis a competition created by inventor Dean Kamen to get young students interested in science and technology. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League Teams (grades 4-8), build LEGO-based robots and develop research projects to develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society.http://www.firstlegoleague.org/
  • FIRST Robotics Competitionis an international high school robotics competition run by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) dubbed by its creator Dean Kamen as a "varsity sport for the mind." It combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology by challenging teams of 25 students (grades 9-12) or more to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. The program is one of the five effective programs being scaled by CEO-led coalition Change the Equation. http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc
  • Girls Inc.InnovaTE^3, developed by Girls Inc. of Alameda County, in conjunction with SRI International and TERC and with funding from the National Science Foundation, is a STEM curriculum in which Girls participate in engineering teams, develop green innovations, and present their designs to STEM professionals. www.girlsinc-alameda.org
  • GLOBE(The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program which promotes and supports students, teachers and scientists to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth system working in close partnership with NASA, NOAA, and NSF. http://globe.gov/
  • Google Science Fair: TheGoogleScienceFair, held for the first time in 2011,is an online science competition seeking curious minds between 13 and 18 years of age from the four corners of the globe. In the first year, over 10,000 students from over 91 countries participated, with three exceptional young women from the United States winning.  www.google.com/sciencefair
  • Intel Science Talent Search,a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the United States’ oldest and considered the most prestigious pre-college science competition. Every year, roughly 1,600 students enter with original science projects and the winners represent some of the brightest young minds in the United States. www.societyforscience.org/sts
  • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science &the Public, is the premier science competition in the world and provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students from 70 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research and projects for a chance to win over $4 million in prizes and scholarships annually. www.societyforscience.org/isef
  • International BioGENEius Challenge,organized by the Biotechnology Institute and co-led and sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur and Janssen Pharmaceutics, Inc., provides high school students the opportunity to compete for the chance to showcase their biotechnology research to the 16,000 attendees of the leading international biotech industry convention. http://www.biotechinstitute.org/programs/9
  • Junior Science and Humanities Symposium,jointly sponsored by the Military Services and administered through the Academy of Applied Sciences, is a program that encourages students (grades 9-12) to do original research in STEM disciplines by competing for scholarships and recognition. http://www.jshs.org/    
  • Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam™ initiative inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention by granting teams up to $10,000 each to conceptualize, design and build technological solutions to real-world problems, the products of which are showcased at MIT at the Lemelson-MIT Program’s EurekaFest event. http://web.mit.edu/inventeams/index.html
  • Maker Faire is one of the premier movements for grassroots American innovation. Dubbed the"The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth," Maker Faire celebrates the growing Maker Movement by showcasing the work of makers, including students, through events in over 25 cities worldwide. www.makerfaire.com
  • Math Olympiads, established in 1979, stimulates a love of mathematics and understanding of mathematical concepts in students at the elementary and middle school levels (grades 4-8) through regular contests and extracurricular clubs.  http://www.moems.org/contests.htm
  • MATHCOUNTSis a national enrichment, club and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement in every U.S. state and territory through a number of activities including a national 100,000 student multi-level math competition. https://mathcounts.org/
  • Microsoft U.S. Kodu Cup: Kodu, by Microsoft, helps children learn how to use computers while developing useful skills such as problem solving, creative thinking and planning in a fun and engaging way through the creation of games. The competition challenges students across the United States (ages 9 to 17) to create their own game. http://www.kodugamelab.com/
  • Microsoft U.S. Imagine Cupis one of thepremier technology competitions for students ages 16 and up, providing an opportunity for students to use their creativity, passion and knowledge to help solve global challenges and make a difference in the world. Since 2003, over 1.4 million students have participated and last year, over 358,000 students from 183 countries participated. http://www.imaginecup.com/
  • National FFA Agriscience Fair is a competition for Future Farmers of America (FFA) members who are interested in the science and technology of agriculture. FFA was founded in 1928 as a national network to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population and the Dyersburg FFA Chapter is recognized as one of TN’s best and most historic FFA chapters. www.ffa.org
  • National Math Science Initiative’s Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program(APTIP) focuses on dramatically increasing the number of students taking and passing AP math, science and English exams, and expanding access to traditionally under-represented groups and children of military families. The program is one of the five effective programs being scaled by CEO-led coalition Change the Equation. http://www.nationalmathandscience.org/programs/ap-training-incentive-programs
  • National Academy Foundation(NAF) is leading a movement to prepare young people for college, with a focus on industry-focused curricula, work-based learning experiences and business partners, and including engineering and informative technology. The program is one of the five effective programs being scaled by CEO-led coalition Change the Equation. http://naf.org/
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)’s Aspirations in Computing: The National Center for Women & Information Technology is a coalition of more than 300 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in technology and computing. NCWIT’s Aspirations in Computing is the only nationwide recognition for young women in computing and information technology. www.ncwit.org
  • Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is a business plan competition that helps young people unlock their potential for entrepreneurial activity. Since 1987, NFTE has reached more than  350,000 students and runs programs in 21 states. http://www.nfte.com/what/competition
  • National Engineers Week Future City Competition,a program of the National Engineers Week Foundation, encourages teams of middle school students to work with a teacher and engineer mentor to imagine, design, and build cities of the future. http://www.futurecity.org
  • National STEM Video Game Challenge, inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on STEM education, is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. http://stemchallenge.org/
  • Posse Foundation is an effective program to bring under-represented, urban students from diverse backgrounds to college and help them graduate. The Posse Foundation started because of one student who said, “I never would have dropped out of college if I had my Posse with me.” Since its founding in 1989, Posse has sent 4,223 urban public high school students to college in multicultural teams of 10 students—Posses – with a persistence and graduation rate of 90 percent. http://www.possefoundation.org/
  • Real World Design Challenge isan annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams are asked to address a challenge that confronts our nation's leading industries. Students will utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and will also generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions. http://www.realworlddesignchallenge.org/
  • Science Olympiadencourages teams of students in grades 6-12 to develop their interest in science and technology through competing in 23 events in the areas of chemistry, earth science, physics and technology.  http://soinc.org/
  • Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technologyis a premier science research competition for high school students. Administered by the College Board, the Competition is a program of the Siemens Foundation and was launched in 1998. http://www.siemens-foundation.org/en/competition.htm
  • Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages students to learn about science and conservation while creating environmental solutions that impact the planet,is the premier national environmental sustainability challenge for grades K-12 and is a collaborative effort of the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, the College Board and NSTA. http://www.wecanchange.com/
  • Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) launched in June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC, is a U.S. STEM education program that immerses an entire community of grade 5-12 students in real science. Student teams propose microgravity experiments for flight in a research minilab. The minilab is provided to the community and flown to the International Space Station with the community’s selected flight experiment. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture. SSEP is enabled through NanoRacks working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. http://ssep.ncesse.org/
  • Team America Rocketry Challenge(TARC), created in 2002, is the world's largest rocket contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). It was created in the fall of 2002 as a one-time celebration of the Centennial of Flight, but the enthusiasm about the event was so great that AIA and NAR were asked to hold the contest annually. Approximately 7,000 students from across the nation compete in TARC each year. Teams design, build and fly a model rocket that reaches a specific altitude and duration determined by a set of rules developed each year. http://www.rocketcontest.org/
  • Toshiba/NSTAExploraVision has, since its inception in 1992, involved more than 287,000 students from across the United States and Canada.  The competition encourages K-12 students to simulate real research and development as they study a technology of interest and predict and model what the technology might be like 20 years from now. http://www.exploravision.org/
  • Wyoming State Science Fair(WSSF) is supported by the University of Wyoming and provides a forum for over 300 Wyoming scientists to share their research. It encourages students in Wyoming grades 6-12 to plan, organize, research, prepare, and present a project of their interest. http://www.uwyo.edu/sciencefair/
  • Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition(YES) was established in 2003 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the College Board to inspire talented high school students to apply epidemiological methods to the investigation of health problems and, ultimately, encourage the brightest young minds to enter the field of public health. http://yes.collegeboard.org/
  • Young Naturalist Awards, now celebrating their fifteenth year, are a research-based science competition for students in grades 7 through 12 run by the American Museum of Natural History, recognizing the accomplishments of students who have investigated questions they have in the areas of biology, Earth science, ecology, and astronomy. http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/youngnaturalistawards/select.html

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