Blairite Parker to head Film Council

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The Independent Online
ALAN PARKER, erstwhile scourge of the British movie industry and the director of Midnight Express and Evita, has completed his conquest of the establishment by becoming chairman of the Film Council.

The council is the powerful new body that will run the British Film Institute, the British Film Commission and take over the funding role of the Arts Council's film department. It will have pounds 145m of government and Lottery money to spend over three years on promoting and producing British films.

Mr Parker, 55, who once described the British film industry as a "minority pursuit" dedicated to pretentious films, surprised the film world when he became chairman of the institute two years ago. He took up the position and moved back to Britain from Hollywood because of his support for Tony Blair and the Government's plans to back the film industry. The Film Council is the Government's big idea to give the film industry strategic leadership. It will begin operations in April next year.

Mr Parker was chosen for the unpaid part-time post from a field of several candidates and will now resign as chairman of the film institute. He is replaced by his deputy, the broadcaster Joan Bakewell.