Director-thesp writes to gov't finance minister
Clint Eastwood is the latest star to urge the British government not to shutter the U.K. Film Council.Filmmaker wrote a letter to the country’s chief finance officer, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, urging him to reconsider the decision. “I cannot stress how important the Film Council is to me,” Eastwood said. “I have been following the news of its proposed abolition with great interest. The prospect of losing such a valuable resource is of great concern as we contemplate future projects.” Eastwood shot his latest pic, supernatural thriller “Hereafter” starring Matt Damon, in Blighty. He added that filmmakers might lense elsewhere without the coin and help the UKFC provides. “The Film Council gave us the crucial detailed information we needed to make our decision to shoot in the U.K. with information on tax credits, availability of crews and other support,” he said. “Without such assistance in the early stages, the likelihood of a London shoot would have been greatly diminished. Locales with active, knowledgeable film commissions are far more appealing to us as producers.” Eastwood’s plea comes after more than 50 actors and actresses, including Emily Blunt and James McAvoy wrote an open letter to the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, condemning the government’s decision. Scottish-born producer Iain Smith, whose credits include “The A-Team,” “Children of Men” and “Local Hero,” expressed the need for the government to come up with a plan for the future quickly or risk producers looking elsewhere to shoot. “While we have a fantastic infrastructure, we have to protect that as much as we can, and to do that we have to compete against industries in other countries,” Smith said. “There’s no doubt we need to tighten purse strings, but we need to be careful we don’t asphyxiate the film industry in general.” Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt hit back at critics in an article written for the Observer newspaper on Sunday. “If we are going to face budget cuts, I have a duty to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent where it gets the most bang for its buck,” he said. “It is simply not acceptable in these times to fund an organization like the U.K. Film Council where no fewer than eight of the top executives are paid more than £100,000 ($160,000).”
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