The BFI has set out its plans for The Times London Film Festival, following a $2.7 million cash injection from the UKFC.

Speaking earlier today at an event to formally announce the funding, Sandra Hebron, the festival director, outlined the BFI’s plans to raise the profile of the festival on an international scale and to make the festival a recognised destination where the international industry does business.

The $2.7 million will go towards funding innovative ways to enable the festival to reach new audiences and to compete with other major international festivals.

Hebron said the BFI intends to attract more world, international and European premieres to the festival and aims “to attract more international journalists to the festival in order to boost its profile overseas”.

The funding will also go towards new initiatives such as the creation of an online virtual presence for the festival to enable it to reach new audiences across the UK and internationally.

The awards format will be changed and awards will now be presented on a separate stand alone night rather than on the closing night. Hebron said“We feel that that’s the best way to shine a greater light on the awards”. Further investment will go towards the opening and closing night and red carpet activities.

The BFI also plans to work with the Mayor’s office and Film London to organise a major new public, cross-London one day event. Hebron said“It’s tentatively called Big Film Night but it will also consist of activities going on through the day, the Leicester Square premiere and premieres across the London boroughs.”

She said the funding would allow the festival to “take a much bigger step forward towards being an international festival for London and the UK.”

John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council said  “Today’s $2.7 million in funding is part of the UK Film Council’s commitment to bring a broader range of film to a wider audience across the UK, offering more people the chance to enjoy and participate in film.”

The 53rd edition of the festival will run from 14-29 October.