U.K. org absorbs British Screen Finance

LONDON — British Screen Finance has agreed to be absorbed into the U.K.’s new Film Council, which opens for business in April.

The Film Council wants to use British Screen as the foundation for its own production department, and has guaranteed jobs for all 12 staff.

British Screen chief exec Simon Perry will not continue as head of the unit, but may find a role within the Film Council as the spearhead of its European strategy, overseeing the European Co-Production Fund.

Change accepted

Perry initially opposed the Film Council’s takeover bid, but now says, “I accept that this has to happen, even though I’m still bothered by the Film Council’s desire to re-nationalize British Screen.”

British Screen is owned by four private shareholders — Channel 4, Granada, United Artists and Rank — but bankrolled entirely from public money, which it invests as equity in the development and production of British and European films.

The Film Council is taking over responsibility for all public spending on film, and did not want to continue funding an outside agency. It may, however, continue to use the name of British Screen as the banner for its production department.

The British Screen staff is expected to move over to the Film Council by September.

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