THE head of film at Scotland's cultural funding body has resigned only months before the establishment of a new screen unit dedicated to boosting movies.

Natalie Usher, who joined Created Scotland in 2014, is to leave the body in March, before the new Screen Unit becomes operational on April 1.

The body, which distributes government and National Lottery funds to the arts and creative industries, said it was "very sorry" to see her step down.

Ms Usher says she is now to pursue new opportunities.

She added: "Stepping down now allows the organisation the appropriate time to recruit a new Director of Screen as plans for the Screen unit develop."

Creative Scotland said that Ms Usher has "played a pivotal leadership role in Creative Scotland’s support for, and development of, the Screen Sector and her work has been key to achieving the record levels of Film and TV production spend that Scotland is currently experiencing."

The new screen unit, boosted by £10m from the Scottish Government, is to have a new director of screen position.

The post has not yet been advertised.

Ms Usher said: "It has been a privilege to work towards achieving the ambitions for the industry set out in Creative Scotland’s Film Strategy with the brilliant Screen Team and Scotland’s incredible talent.

"I joined the organisation at what was a challenging time for film and TV in Scotland, and leave when we have secured vital government commitment and financial support.

"It’s an exciting time of change and possibility.

"I wish the whole organisation the very best for the years to come."

Janet Archer, the chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: “Natalie's work with our screen team has stimulated major new opportunities locally and globally for Scotland’s screen sector.

"Over the past four years she has transformed Creative Scotland’s approach to supporting screen and established a strong foundation for the future.

"We are very sorry to see her step down and wish her well for the future.”

Creative Scotland said it will recruit the new Director of Screen and, in addition, an Executive Director, Creative Enterprise who will lead the new screen unit.

Ms Usher joined the body in May 2014.

Before taking the post, she was a partner at Lee & Thompson, a leading media law firm.

She specialised in in law regarding the financing, production and distribution of film and TV.

Ms Usher was a senior executive at the UK Film Council, where she was the legal adviser to the New Cinema Fund.