The British Film Institute (BFI) has revealed a one-year fund worth £500,000 ($690,000) to support the U.K. distribution of international titles.
The funding comes by way of the National Lottery and will be administered by the BFI Audience Fund. It is aimed at supporting exhibitors and distributors in the wake of the pandemic and aims to bring in exciting, new films to British audiences.
The funding is intended to increase the number of films in cinemas now that audiences can attend again, including those supported by the U.K. Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Films that can potentially benefit from the fund must be independent, international and in a language other than English. Applicants applying to the fund will need to show how they meet the BFI Audience Fund’s objectives of improving audience choice and diversity in the U.K.
The money is the result of an underspend following the lack of international travel and physical market attendance due to COVID-19. The fund was developed following consultation with industry organizations including the Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) and the U.K. Cinema Association (UKCA).
“We’re pleased to repurpose this National Lottery funding to help support a larger number of independent international films reach U.K. audiences,” said Ben Luxford, head of U.K. audiences at the BFI. “This one-year measure recognises the especially challenging distribution and exhibition environment caused by the pandemic, and will support distributors looking to acquire titles for U.K. release, giving both audiences and venues an opportunity to engage with a broader range of films. In a year where international travel is limited, we’re bringing the world to audiences.”
FDA chief executive Andy Leyshon said: “Clearly U.K. audiences desire ever more on-screen diversity, and this funding should help sate that demand in cinemas.”
“Many smaller foreign language titles understandably find it a challenge to ‘cut through’ given their limited marketing budgets and distribution support,” said UKCA chief executive Phil Clapp. “This new funding will help address that issue, and ensure that such titles remain a key part of the programming mix.”