In a move cheered by the UK industry, the British Film Institute (BFI) has now pledged funds to support the export of British films. Film Export UK gets £70,000 in transitional funding.

This promise comes after film export had been left off the list of priorities when the government shuttered the UK Film Council and made the BFI the lead body for film in the UK.

In a statement, the BFI said it was “ensuring funds are immediately available to promote British film and talent internationally. This will include activity next year at Sundance (January), Berlin (February) and Cannes (May) film festivals.”

The BFI is also backing the Film London Production Finance Market (running now), which is held during the BFI London Film Festival.

The BFI has also awarded £70,000 in transitional funding to film sales organisation Film Export UK, specifically to ensure a strong UK presence at Hong Kong Filmart (in April) and the European Film Market in Berlin in February.

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill said: “This is a powerful moment for the British film industry and I want to congratulate our British film talent who are excelling on the world’s stage. Ahead of us we have major international markets and the awards seasons and it is crucially important that the BFI supports the industry now in this transitional period. Going forward we will be developing an international strategy as one of the key priorities in the BFI’s five year Forward Plan for Film, which launches next year, informed by the recommendations from the Review of Film Policy. It’s enormously exciting that the BFI will spearhead this new phase for British film around the world.”

Stephen Kelliher, Chair of Film Export UK [pictured], said: “It’s fantastic that the BFI recognises that export is a success story for British film and that timely and targeted help in partnership with our members at key events can make all the difference to the international success of British films and British sales companies.”

The BFI’s International Strategy, which will be fleshed out during the BFI’s Forward Plan for Film (which is set to be released in spring 2012), now includes:

  • Export/international promotion
  • Inward investment
  • Co-production
  • Talent and skills

Other further changes to the plan and international could come after the Government’s current Film Policy Review.

Chris Smith, who is chairing the Independent Review of Film Policy, added: “Enhancing the promotion of British films and talent around the world – especially in new emerging markets like India and China – is imperative if we are to build on the current success of our film industry. Let’s give this every bit of support we can.”