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Film investment increase of Channel 4

Channel 4 has said it will increase the budget of its film-financing division, Film4, to £15m per annum for five years from 2011

The anouncement came on the first day of the London Film Festival

Channel 4’s commitment follows the public outcry over the Government’s decision to abolish the UK Film Council, without any consultation, as part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s contribution to the public sector efficiency drive.

The new budget, effective from 2011 onwards, represents a 50% increase on Film4’s current spend on film development and financing, and a spokesman said it was central to the “creative renewal process” launched by Channel 4 earlier this year.

David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, said: “Film4 has played a central role in supporting the British film industry and the current team, led by Tessa Ross, has an unrivalled track record of success in developing and supporting British film making.”

The London Film Festival’s opening gala film ‘Never Let Me Go’, starring Keira Knightley and directed by Mark Romanek, and the closing gala film, Danny Boyle’s ‘127 Hours’, are both Film4 films.

Abraham said: “Film has a special and unique role in UK culture, promoting a wealth of extraordinary British talent from storytellers and producers, to directors and actors. I have been determined during the current process of creative renewal to ensure that it plays a commensurate part in Channel 4’s public service delivery.”

In its 10 years of existence, the Film Council invested more than £160m of funding generated by the National Lottery in more than 900 films, and claims to have generated £5 for every £1 it spent.

Ross, controller of Film4 and Channel 4 drama, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to deliver some good news to our industry, most importantly because we believe that there is a wealth of great talent here in the UK that this extra money will allow us to support.”

The campaign to save The UK Film Council is supported by director Mike Leigh and actor Liam Neeson, and a Facebook page called “Save the UK Film Council” has more than 55,000 fans.


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