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BAFTA Winner Samantha Morton Wants More Investment in British Cinema

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Acclaimed British actor, writer and director Samantha Morton who was awarded a Fellowship at the EE BAFTA Awards on Sunday has called for more investment in British cinema.

The award is the highest recognition given by BAFTA to an individual for their exceptional contribution to the film, games or television industry.

Addressing a press conference after accepting her award, Morton said: “We need more investment in British cinema. I’ve been saying this for years because we can’t just be a service industry for the wonderful Americans. They are amazing and thank God they come here and make movies and put us in as well, thank you. Like in France, we need our own quotas and we need to be making those investments.” Inward investment in the U.K. film and high-end TV industry was $4.22 billion in 2023, with the bulk of it coming from the U.S.

The U.K. culture minister is responsible for culture, media and sport. “If our government only gives us a culture and sport minister rather than separating that and identify what we do all of us in the creative arts – it’s a billion dollar industry and it’s foolish of them not to understand that,” Morton said. “So we need more investment in schools, we need education, we need books in our schools again, we need drama teachers. It really is grass roots, for people to believe there is an opportunity for them to pursue a career in film, media, TV and music.”

Morton’s breakthrough film role was Carine Adler’s “Under the Skin (1997) that earned her a BIFA nomination and the Boston Film Critics Award for best actress. She has been Oscar nominated twice – for best supporting actress for Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown” (1999), and for best actress for Jim Sheridan’s “In America” (2003).

For her portrayal of child-murderer Myra Hindley in “Longford” (2006) Morton scored best actress nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and BAFTA Television Award, and won a Golden Globe. In 2009, she made her directorial debut with television film “The Unloved,” a semi-autobiographical film based in the British children’s care system, which won the BAFTA Television Award for best single drama.

Other notable film credits include Lynne Ramsay’s “Morvern Callar” (2002), for which she won best performance, Toronto Film Critics Award and a BIFA for best actress; Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” (2002); Michael Winterbottom’s “Code 46” (2003); Shekhar Kapur’s “The Golden Age” (2007); Harmony Korine’s “Mister Lonely” (2007); Anton Corbijn’s “Control” (2007), earning her a supporting actress BAFTA Film Award nomination; Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” (2008), David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” (2012), Andrew Stanton’s “John Carter” (2012), Spike Jonze’s “Her” (2013), David Yates’ “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016), Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” (2022) and Maria Schrader’s “She Said” (2022).

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