U.K. government bulks up film center plans

Committing $73 mil to project run by British Film Institute

LONDON -- The U.K. government said Friday that it is committing £45 million ($73 million) to plans for an all-singing, all-dancing national film center in the British capital.

The government cash is a welcome fillip to plans for a new center run by the British Film Institute but at an expected cost of more than £180 million ($290 million), there is still fund raising to be done.

The London Mayor's office has committed £5 million ($8 million) from its coffers to the project, and the BFI is expected to raise more than £18 million ($30 million) from the sale of its London offices to fuel the build.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he hopes the "state-of-the-art national film center" -- to be built on London's South Bank -- will be up and open by 2015.

The cash injection is one of a slew of government backed flagship cultural projects to help secure Britain's future "as a world leader in the creative industries," the government said.

Brown said: "These are challenging economic times but with backing from the public and private sector, the commitment to the new BFI National Film Center demonstrates the government's continuing support for the arts in Britain, and our determination to invest in leading creative industries as part of our economic recovery."

The film center investment comes on top of £25 million ($41 million) that the government has already committed to preserve for the nation the BFI's archive film collection.