British Film Institute takes up the torch

Blighty’s film support body, the U.K. Film Council, shutters today.

From Friday, the British Film Institute will become the lead body with financial and policy responsibility for the film biz. Among duties it is taking over from the UKFC is distributing National Lottery funds for films and overseeing the tax relief scheme.

The UKFC has been winding down since the government’s surprise announcement in July that it was closing the org to save money on administration.

Since its inception in 2000, the UKFC has invested $248 million in the production of more than 900 films, including “The King’s Speech,” “Bend it Like Beckham,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “This Is England” and Blighty’s first 3D production, “Streetdance 3D.”

Besides overseeing one of the three major sources of public coin that the biz is heavily reliant on — BBC Films and Film4 are the other two — the UKFC also stimulated the local biz by ploughing money into distribution, exhibition, film exports and training.

Some 44 of the UKFC’s staff will transfer to the BFI, including UKFC film fund head Tanya Segatchian, Peter Buckingham, head of distribution and exhibition, and business affairs topper Will Evans.

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