17 May 2014

Cate Blanchett criticises film fund cuts

2:49 pm on 17 May 2014

Australian actress Cate Blanchett has hit out at multi-million-dollar budget cuts to Australia's television and film funding body.

The budget unveiled earlier this week included huge cuts not only to health and education spending but to arts and cultural activities, including Screen Australia.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, Blanchett said it was a very short-sighted move, because culture is a huge economic driver domestically and also works internationally as a form of diplomacy.

Cate Blanchett at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cate Blanchett at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: AFP

The Australia Council - the equivalent of Creative New Zealand - will get about $30 million less over the next three years, while Screen Australia will lose $41 million over the next four years, the ABC reports.

Australia Council chief executive Tony Grybowski said the cuts would mean "fewer and smaller" grants to individual artists and cuts to small arts organisations.

A spokesman for Arts Minister Senator George Brandis said budget reform meant the "heavy lifting was spread across the board and arts was not immune".

Blanchett started out as a theatre actress in Sydney, where she won critical and popular acclaim with a string of successes for the Sydney Theatre Company.