U.K.'s Film4 under threat from downturn

Tessa Ross tells government of growing economic squeeze

LONDON -- Channel 4's embattled filmmaking unit is under threat because of the current economic crisis, Film4 chief Tessa Ross told the U.K. government Wednesday.

Ross was appearing in front of a House of Lords Communications Committee, which is enquiring into the state of the British film and television industries.

She said that the shingle and its output could be in danger if the need for cutbacks grew.

Ross is one of the highest-profile executives in the British film industry right now, having backed "Slumdog Millionaire" to the tune of £1.5 million ($2.1 million) out of Film4's annual £10 million ($14 million) budget.

Ross previously told THR: "Our money is being squeezed like everything else across the channel. But we are still very driven by British talent and providing them with a place to develop projects and bring them to screen."

She told the committee that there should be ways to protect Film 4's future as part of the channel.