Buckingham exits British Film Institute

Exec led innovative programs in distrib'n, exhib'n

Industry stalwart Pete Buckingham has stepped down as head of distribution and exhibition at the British Film Institute.

Buckingham, who spent more than nine years at the now-defunct U.K. Film Council before overseeing the transition of responsibilities from the UKFC to the BFI earlier this year, is the second head in as many months to jump ship.

In September, Tanya Seghatchian, head of the BFI Film Fund, announced she was leaving after five years with the UKFC.

Buckingham joined the UKFC in 2002 and during his tenure he introduced an array of innovative solutions for the distribution and exhibition sector, such as the Digital Screen Network, a £12 million ($19 million) investment to digitize 240 screens, and the Prints and Advertising Lottery Fund, which supported distribution and marketing of specialty pics.

He also started up Findanyfilm.com, a website that helps Brits find any film to watch in any format.

Prior to the UKFC, his roles included deputy chief exec of FilmFour, managing director of Oasis Cinemas, director of Virgin Film Distribution and managing director of Recorded Cinemas. He also has worked as a 35mm projectionist.

“We have achieved many things that I am very proud of in my time at the UKFC and the BFI,” said Buckingham in a statement. “Ultimately my goal has always been to connect audiences with great films. I had the privilege of achieving this by working with many talented people. I now intend to play a more direct and hands on role in the same arena. The past has been great. The future promises to be equally as exciting.”

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill said that Buckingham’s “pioneering drive, innovative thinking, strategic vision and knowledge of film, specifically film audiences, will be missed by the BFI.”

In April, the BFI took over the public funding responsibilities of the UKFC, which was axed in July 2010.