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Ben Luxford is to join the British Film Institute as head of U.K. audiences, with instructions to expand audiences in the U.K. for British, independent and specialized film.

Luxford, who will report to BFI Film Fund director Ben Roberts, starts at the BFI in February.

Luxford will work with Roberts and the Film Fund’s U.K. audiences team, which encompasses the Distribution Fund, the Program Development Fund, the Film Festivals Fund and support for the BFI Film Audience Network and BFI Neighborhood Cinema.

Luxford will also work alongside development and production executives within the BFI Film Fund, and the BFI Cultural Program, Distribution and Digital departments, to develop a strategic approach to audience development across the U.K.

Roberts said: “The future economic success of British films depends upon active and new thinking, and is absolutely key to achieving our ambitions for growing audiences for British and specialized film across all platforms, and in as wide a geographical area as possible.”

Luxford joins the BFI from distributor Koch Media, where he is head of distribution. Before joining Koch, he was head of theatrical distribution at U.K. distributor Curzon Artificial Eye. Prior to Curzon, he was theatrical sales manager at U.K. distributor Optimum Releasing, now renamed Studiocanal.