Actors attack Film Council axe plan
Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt are among more than 50 leading actors and actresses have hit out at government plans to scrap the UK Film Council.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, stars such as Bill, Emily and Timothy Spall warned the decision over the industry support body threatened a "British success story".
Thanks to the success of films like Bend It Like Beckham, In The Loop and Gosford Park, the council was worth £4.5 billion to the UK, they added.
The letter said: "We all owe any success we have had in our acting careers, to varying degrees, to films supported by the UK Film Council.
"Everyone, including those in the film industry, knows that times are tough and the Government has to make savings.
"But the UKFC doesn't waste money, it makes it. For every pound it invests, the country gets £5 back."
Other signatories include Sir Ian Holm, Pete Postlethwaite and Sophie Okonedo.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the closure plans last month, sparking criticism from across the industry.
He said he wanted to establish "a direct and less bureaucratic relationship with the British Film Institute" and that Government and Lottery support for film would continue.
The UK Film Council was created in 2000, and has invested more than £160 million of Lottery funding into more than 900 films which has helped generate more than £700 million at the worldwide box office.