Parker eyeing BFI reins

Director Alan Parker is believed to be about to accept the offer to become chairman of the British Film Institute when producer Jeremy Thomas steps down later this year.

The appointment of a filmmaker with such combative opinions about the state of the British film industry is likely to be welcomed by the many critics of the current BFI regime, who claim that the institution has lost its soul and its sense of direction in the past decade.

The BFI, which is also looking for a new director to replace the departing Wilf Stevenson, is in any case likely to be significantly restructured as the result of a radical public spending review that has been quietly launched by the new Labor government. This could lead to the merger of all the U.K.’s publicly funded film bodies into a single national screen agency similar to France’s Centre National de la Cinematographie.

The British Film Institute, the British Film Commission, British Screen Finance, the European Co-Production Fund and the Arts Council’s lottery film funds are all being put under the microscope to see whether their functions could be coordinated more efficiently.

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