Big names back new London Film School


LONDON -- A slew of heavyweights from the British cultural establishment, including the BBC's Alan Yentob, actor John Hurt and Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, are throwing their weight behind a 7 million pound ($14.4 million) appeal for the London Film School.

The school governors, chaired by Mike Leigh, said Thursday that they hope to raise the money to pay for a brand new school in the West End of London.

The proposed new home for the LFS will come complete with teaching and filmmaking facilities alongside public access cinemas, a bar and meeting spaces.

Other LFS patrons backing the appeal are Chris Auty, Tony Elliott, Roger Graef, Christopher Hird, Hanif Kureishi, Charlie Parsons, Franc Roddam, Anthony Smith, Iain Smith and Tilda Swinton.

"The London Film School is going to create a permanent center which will bring together film students, graduates, industry professionals and others who are generally passionate about film culture from all over the world," said Leigh, who attended the school.

The school is housed in Covent Garden and, according to the governors, a "suitable" larger site where "the ambitious plans" can be realized has been found nearby.

The school plans to begin building work on the new site in 2008, with completion in 2010 subject to the full funds being raised over the next two years.