Eastwood makes plea to save Film Council

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The Independent Culture

Clint Eastwood has urged George Osborne to reconsider the Government's decision to close the UK Film Council.

The Hollywood actor-turned-director wrote to the Chancellor claiming that without the "vigorous support" of the council his Malpaso production company would not have made its latest movie Hereafter, starring Matt Damon, in Britain.

"I cannot stress how important the Film Council is to me," Eastwood wrote. "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."

The Oscar winner warned that scrapping the council could stop some film-makers coming to Britain. "The Film Council gave us the crucial detailed information we needed to make our decision to shoot in the UK 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."

Last month the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced the decision to axe the council, which receives £63m a year in grants and Lottery funds to develop the domestic industry.

Eastwood's letter follows a campaign launched last week to save the council by more than 50 British actors including Bill Nighy, Timothy Spall and Emily Blunt, who accused the Government of threatening a "British success story".