As the UKFC handover comes into effect, the BFI also notes that UK production funding will rise from £15m to £18m

Today, April 1, is the day that the BFI takes over from the abolished UK Film Council to become the government’s lead body for film in the UK.

On this occassion, the BFI notes that it is increasing funding for film production annually from £15m to £18m, which it says “delivers on its commitment to put overhead savings back into film.”

BFI chair Greg Dyke has confirmed the first five of six new Governors joining the BFI Board. More than 100 applications were received, and those joining the board are:

  • Josh Berger [pictured], the President and Managing Director, Warner Bros Entertainment UK, Ireland and Spain
  • James Purnell, former MP and Cabinet Minister
  • Beeban Kidron, filmmaker and founder of film education charity Filmclub
  • Lisbeth Savill, head of film and TV practice at Olswang
  • Matthew Justice, producer and MD of Big Talk

They take the posts as of today, replacing three exiting governors: Eric Fellner, Caroline Michel and Peter Watson (plus taking two vacant posts). The sixth new governor will be announced in coming days.

Greg Dyke said: “We are about to see the biggest change to the film landscape in the past ten years and these new board members have each been chosen for the individual skills, wisdom and strengths they will bring to the BFI so that it can lead on delivering a dynamic new plan for film in the UK.”

Amanda Nevill, Director of the BFI, added: “Today heralds a new chapter for the BFI and a new era for film, which I believe will be one of the most fertile, exciting and successful times for British film. Building on the experience and expertise of both the BFI and the UKFC, we now have an historic opportunity to create a single voice and cohesive vision for film. The new era isn’t about an organisation, it’s about film, film makers and audiences, and that will be our focus.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said that the transition was going well: “The transfer of UKFC activities has been concluded with no disruption to film makers. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of the staff at UKFC and the BFI who helped make this happen and who put the interests of film first.”

The former UKFC activities that the BFI now inherits are: Lottery distribution for film (including development, production and the P&A fund as well as Skillset and First Light); strategic partnerships for film across the nations and regions; responsibility for UK film certification for the UK film tax credit); promoting British film internationally, and the Research and Statistics Unit (for which the BFI is now seeking commercial partnership funding).

There are 38 UKFC staffers that now become employees of the BFI as of today. Not all are physically moving desks today, as that transition will carry on through the summer.