U.K. Film Council taps Till chairman

UIP topper to replace Parker at Blighty org

This article was updated at 6:33 p.m.

LONDON — Stewart Till, chairman and chief exec of United Intl. Pictures, has been named chairman of the U.K. Film Council.

Till, who has been org’s deputy chairman since the Film Council was launched in 2000, will replace Alan Parker, who is stepping down at the end of this month.

Till was the favorite to succeed Parker in the unpaid role, which he will perform alongside his day job at UIP. The appointment is for four years.

Making the announcement, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said, “Stewart is taking on this key role at a very important time for our film industry.

“His proven track record of delivery in the audiovisual industries, allied with a keen business sense and passion for film, make him the ideal chairman as we approach such major developments as the introduction of new tax relief and the results of a major review of our international film co-production agreements,” she added.

Till’s appointment represents a vote of confidence by the British government in the Film Council’s performance over the past four years.

“There will be a continuation of the strategy we’ve got, which I’ve helped contribute to and which I think is working,” Till said. “But we won’t stand still. There are issues where we need to get a more developed strategy, such as piracy and the relationship of the film industry with broadcasters.”

Some British producers have expressed concern that such a key leadership role will be held by an employee of the Hollywood studios.

Till himself sees no conflict of interest.

“In my five years as vice chairman, I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being influenced by who I worked for,” he said. “But the critical thing is that the chairman doesn’t set the strategy; the board sets the strategy, and the managers make the funding decisions.”

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