U.K. film biz defends export trade

Campaign launched to promote U.S. deals

The Film Industry Export Alliance, a new independent org in Blighty, wants lottery funding to continue supporting U.K. film exports in order to fill the gap created by the closure of the U.K. Film Council’s export unit.

The unit’s last initiative, “From Britain With Love,” bowed in the U.S. this weekend. It showcases six indie pics — including U.S. preems of Helena Bonham Carter starrer “Toast”; “In Our Name,” starring Joanne Froggatt; and helmer Hattie Dalton’s “Third Star” — in more than 30 cities during the next month.

FIEA chair Carey Fitzgerald called the U.S. Britain’s most important market. “It would be impossible for any of these films to get this sort of exposure without wider industry support, and it is essential to crack the U.S. market to survive,” Fitzgerald said.

Sarah McKenzie, former head of the UKFC’s export unit and now managing director of Creative Screen Associates, founded “From Britain with Love.” She says the U.S. is one of the hardest places for U.K. indie films to secure a release, with an unusually high 1.9% market share in 2010 due to “The King’s Speech.”Other pics screening in the coming month include helmer Brian Percival’s “A Boy Called Dad,” Debs Gardner-Paterson’s “Africa United” and Peter Mullan’s “NEDs.”The move to continue to target and forge ties with the U.S. comes at a time when policy on film is being analyzed in the U.K.

A government review, led by former culture secretary Chris Smith, will examine film development, production, distribution, exhibition and inward investment in the U.K. and is expected to report back by the end of the year.

Bizzers on the panel include Sony Pictures Entertainment chair and CEO Michael Lynton; producer and m.d. of Big Talk Prods., Matthew Justice; producer and chair of the British Film Commission advisory board Iain Smith, and former Optimum Releasing topper Will Clarke.

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