Julian Fellowes Joins U.K. Film Review Panel

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Former U.K. Culture Secretary Chris Smith will chair an eight-strong panel of industry experts including Oscar-winning actor and writer Julian Fellowes.

LONDON -- Oscar-winning scribe Julian Fellowes is joining a panel of industry experts tasked by the British government to examine the U.K. fiim industry.

Fellowes joins the panel chaired by former culture secretary Chris Smith to look over the entire movie industry landscape including development, production, distribution and exhibition and inward investment – cash from overseas being pumped into the industry here.

The review aims to identify the best ways to support successful business models that allow the U.K. film industry to contribute to economic growth, nurture talent and engage with British audiences.

The panel is expected to report its findings later this year and is the first major move by the coalition government here to get to know the British film industry landscape.

Creative industries minister Ed Vaizey noted it had been a good year at awards ceremonies for British movies with films such as The King's Speech garnering plaudits.

But he added: "British film making is still not as profitable as it should be for British film makers and there remain significant challenges in getting productions off the ground.”

Smith said he and his panel “want to hear from the industry, from film-makers, from experts, from audiences, and from all who have a contribution to make to the debate. Getting the right framework of policy in place for supporting British film is the challenge we are aiming to address."

He said that the panel would include representatives from the new board of the British Film Institute (BFI), which recently became the lead body for the delivery of film policy in the U.K. after the closure of the U.K. Film Council.

The BFI is responsible for setting and implementing detailed delivery plans within the new policy framework, which will be driven by the challenge to make the best use of the increased Lottery funding which will become available after the 2012 Olympic Games.