Working Title co-chairman Tim Bevan is emerging as a front-runner to become the new chairman of the UK Film Council when current chair Stewart Till leaves at the end of July.

Bevan has confirmed his candidacy for the job, which is on an unpaid part-time basis but is still a hugely influential position at a difficult time for the UK film industry.

Interviews are being held this month. The appointment will be announced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in the summer.

The UK industry will look to the new chairman to safeguard UKFC’s place at the heart of British film culture, both as a funding body and as the organisation which shapes UK government policy toward film.

“It’s going to be an increasingly tough battle to fight for the retention of (public) resources for film given all the other demands on Lottery funding,” commented Origin Pictures’ David Thompson. “Film is consistently now seen as vulnerable along with other sectors in the arts. Film has been in a strong position in the past. There is going to be a huge amount of lobbying required [from the new UKFC chairman]. It will need someone with real political nous and the ability to navigate their way around both politics and industry. There will be less money around so how it’s spent will be important - the chairman will have a key role in that.”

Bevan’s relative youthfulness as well as his track record at Working Title would - many in the UK production sector suggest - make him an ideal candidate to succeed Till.

Till took the post in 2004, taking over from Alan Parker.