Liam Neeson and Mike Leigh attack decision to axe UK Film Council

British film industry comes out against government cuts

Top British film industry players have spoken out against the government’s decision to axe the UK Film Council.

Speaking at the UK premiere of The A Team last night, actor Liam Neeson told BBC News he hopes to protest the move.

“I think the decision is… the word deplorable comes to mind. We have to do something about it,” he said. “We need movies. It’s a powerful industry that provides a credible entertainment for millions of people and I think it is wrong, I just think it is wrong for the government [to do this]. I know we need to tighten our belts but not with our movie council. They can’t, we need it. It is a lifeblood for any culture.”

British director Mike Leigh has also condemned the decision, calling it “remarkable and extremely worrying” and “totally out of order”. He added: “It’s from left of field in a very sudden and devastating way.”

Neeson and Leigh are two of many to have received funding from the body, which has an annual budget of £15m to invest in British films.

Leigh received money for Happy Go Lucky and Vera Drake, both of which gained Oscar nominations, and Neeson appeared in UK Film Council-funded films Breakfast On Pluto and The Other Man.