Iain Smith to Chair the British Film Commission
LONDON -- British producer Iain Smith, a familiar name to Hollywood studio-backed productions basing themselves here in the U.K., has been hired to chair the British Film Commission (BFC).
Smith, whose extensive resume of Hollywood-backed productions includes The A-Team starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel and Clive Owen-starrer Children of Men, will now head up U.K. efforts to attract inward investment from Hollywood and beyond.
The veteran producer will chair a fresh advisory board for the BFC which now falls under movie and media agency Film London’s remit.
The shakeup comes after the government’s decision to shut down the U.K. Film Council and spread its administrative tasks across Film London and the British Film Institute.
Smith’s hire is a key spoke in the biggest shakeup to public funding, distribution and promotion here in the U.K. for over a decade.
The role of attracting inward investment is a big ticket in town and taken seriously by the U.K. government and the British based behind the lens talent who rely on it for lucrative studio movie work.
Data from the UKFC showed that inward investment from international filmmakers in 2010, mainly Hollywood studios, reached $1.48 billion, an increase of 15 percent over 2009.
Shoots here included Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, Captain America: The First Avenger, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Hugo Cabret.
Film London said British Film Commissioner Colin Brown, another face familiar to Hollywood and his team will transfer to Film London to work at the new look BFC.
Smith described the task facing the U.K. to remain competitive for shoots to locate here as “essential” to the industry.
“Our film infrastructure across the U.K. is the envy of the world, but in changing times it must be sustained, informed and supported by awareness and strategic intervention at the sharp end of the wider international business,” said Smith. “That will be the primary function of the British Film Commission’s new Advisory Board.”
The BFC, is partnering with key film industry bodies including Pinewood Studios Group, U.K. Screen Association and the Production Guild to further its impact with Smith joined on the advisory board by reps from Warner Bros. and Oscar-winning producer David Parfitt among others. The unit will receive funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), via the BFI.
Film London CEO Adrian Wootton said: “Having the DCMS transfer responsibility of the BFC to Film London is a demonstration of how successful Film London has been as a regional agency.’