Minister slates Film Council over 'self promotion'

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In The Loop
Image caption,
The Oscar-nominated In The Loop was backed by the Film Council

The UK Film Council has been summoned by government ministers to answer claims it misused resources to promote itself rather than the movie industry.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey has written to boss John Woodward expressing his concerns.

In July it was announced that the organisation was being axed.

A Film Council spokesman said: "The future of the UK film industry is the only thing the UK Film Council is interested in."

Mr Vaizey wrote in his letter that he is "very concerned about what has come to light".

He added: "It looks as though sources at the Film Council have been overzealously briefing in order to protect their interests.

"As a result they may be damaging the film industry that they purport to represent. This is completely wrong and I will be seeking urgent reassurances that the Film Council will promote the interests of the film industry rather than its own from now on."

'Enormous concern'

In response, a UK Film Council spokesman said the body would do everything it could to "reassure people that any change to us will not affect the UK's film offer to the world".

"Understandably, however, there has been enormous concern about the future of the British film industry since the government decided to abolish its film agency," he said.

"In the past three weeks, the UKFC has been contacted by hundreds of organisations and individuals seeking assurances and expressing their concerns about future funding and other related matters.

"We will continue to be as positive as possible under the circumstances."

The organisation, which was founded in 2000, had an annual budget of £15m to invest in British films.

It was set up to fund training and education for people who want to break into the film industry and promote Britain as a film-making location and British films abroad.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has said funding for films will continue, but would be distributed through other bodies.

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