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British Film Institute Ups Ben Roberts to Deputy Chief Executive

BFI-backed films include 'Wild Rose,' 'Colette,' 'Peterloo'

The British Film Institute has promoted Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund, to deputy chief executive of the organization. He starts his new role on Nov. 1.

Roberts retains overall direction of the Film Fund, but he will now have a wider portfolio, working alongside CEO Amanda Nevill. This will include delivery of the organization’s five-year plan, BFI2022, helping to chart its strategic and cultural course. In particular, he will develop the BFI’s role beyond cinema, across all screen sectors and emerging media.

His responsibilities will include “strengthening BFI relationships with the wider screen industries, promoting cultural diversity across the organization, engaging new audiences and talent, and developing the BFI’s financial sustainability and future commercial strength,” according to a statement.

Roberts became BFI Film Fund chief in 2012, overseeing the BFI’s investments in film development, production and distribution, as well as its international activities. Among recent films to receive BFI funding were Tom Harper’s “Wild Rose,” Wash Westmoreland’s “Colette,” Mike Leigh’s “Peterloo” and Amma Asante’s “Where Hands Touch.”

Roberts helped launch the BFI’s Diversity Standards, which set out inclusion targets across all BFI funding, and he brokered a diversity-focused trainee program with Lucasfilm for the BFI Film Academy. He also stewarded the BFI Network, a development program for up-and-coming talent, among other initiatives.

Roberts has 20 years’ experience in the film industry, across international sales, studio acquisitions, U.K. distribution and film finance, gained during his time as CEO of Protagonist Pictures, and before that at Universal Pictures and independent British distributor Metrodome.

Nevill said: “As we deliver on the commitments made in BFI2022 and develop the organization’s future across the U.K.’s rapidly evolving screen industries, [Roberts’] clear-minded strategic thinking will be invaluable.”

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