Tessa Ross, controller of film and drama at Film 4, which is currently riding high on the success of Slumdog Millionaire, has told a UK House of Lords select committee that the channel could be in danger in the face of Channel 4 cut-backs.
'We would be foolish not to be worried,' Ross told the House of Lords Communications Committee.
Ross also suggested to the committee that one way to help Film 4 would be to re-write the remit of the channel's public service broadcasting role to include the film channel.
Ross commented recently to Screendaily on Film 4's future in the context of the current financial pressures facing C4.
'The current economic climate has put pressure on Film4's budget and Channel 4 is having to respond to market conditions, protecting commercial programming while also fighting to preserve areas like film which makes Channel 4 distinctive and offer huge cultural value to our audiences. Film4 is a unique home for British filmmakers and we are passionate that we should be able to continue to take the risks that allow projects like Slumdog to get off the ground,' Ross said.
The committee is currently looking at the contribution of the UK film and television industries to the British economy and ways that might be increased.
Ross told the committee Film 4 had backed Slumdog Millionaire with $2m (£1.5m) out of its $14m (£10m) annual budget and was concerned that Film 4's future should be protected as part of C4.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said of the potential cuts 'What's really important is to try to preserve as much as we possibly can of what is a distinctive public service. The budget will be protected in so far as we can but there is a big squeeze going on across the channel as a whole.
'There's this financial pressure that has come from a real plummeting in the advertising market - all commercial broadcasters are suffering. It's difficult to put a figure on Film 4, we are still having to gauge to what extent those market forces are going to put pressure on the overall C4 budget.'