Wednesday, May 19, 1999 Published at 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Cannes boost for UK films
Chris Smith hopes the Film Council will make life easier for film-makers
Mr Smith made the announcement during his visit to the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.
The Film Council will act as an umbrella group taking over the role of channelling public funds into British film.
There will also be an extra £1.5m of private money from voluntary donations from the film industry to back training in technical skills.
Mr Smith said: "The Film Council will develop a coherent strategy for film culture, the development of the film industry, and the encouragement of inward investment, and determine the allocation of resources between them.
The hunt is now on for a chief executive of the new body. The post will be advertised next week, and the chair and board will be appointed over the next three months.
Meanwhile, Hollywood star Mel Gibson is to open a British arm of his Los Angeles-based production company Icon.
Icon's British offshoot will be based in Soho, in London's West End, and will produce largely European-based movies.
The Australian actor is in Cannes backing Felicia's Journey, made by Icon and starring Bob Hoskins.
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