One of the most spectacular features of the recent London riots was the burning of the three-storey Pias/Sony warehouse in Enfield on Monday night. Unfortunately for the British film industry, the warehouse housed an estimated 120,000 DVDs awaiting release through the BFI, many of them belonging to small, independent production companies. All were destroyed.
Although master copies of all the DVDs are safely stored elsewhere, and although insurance will eventually cover the cost of the stock itself, the loss is likely to hit the BFI and the companies involved very hard.
DVD sales are the most important source of income for the British film industry and companies struggling due to the tough economic climate may be unable to survive the delays in getting vital revenue. Fans looking forward to upcoming titles may have to wait for months as DVD release dates are set back.
The difficulties this will create for small companies means that investment in making new films is also likely to be set back, so the creative side of the industry will feel the impact, too. If you want to help, now is the time to pick up those independent British films you've been meaning to get round to buying on DVD.