BSkyB has unveiled plans to revamp its Sky Movies service, which include the addition of a World Cinema strand to showcase films such as Y Tu Mama Tambien and Good Bye, Lenin!

The weekly World Cinema strand will play on the Sky Cinema channel where it will present films from around the world every Wednesday night at 8pm and 11pm.

Sky director of films and acquisitions Sophie Turner Laing said there would be 'a new depth of programming to Sky Cinema', which had previously been 'a bit of a lost child to Sky Movies.'

Sky also intends to play documentaries about film-makers and stars on Sky Cinema as well presenting special features - such as a Chaplin season in December.

Sky has also programmed a 'Brit Hits Long Weekend' for November, which will feature a range of British hits such as Ali G In Da House, About A Boy, Bend It Like Beckham, Gosford Park and Enigma.

The changes are part of an overhaul of Sky Movies, which said this week that it had hit the 5 million subscriber mark - making it the most popular film service outside the United States.

The on-air look and logo of Sky Movies is to change. Enhanced services are also being introduced, such as allowing non-movie subscribers to sample premieres such as About A Boy for free.

Sky Networks managing director Dawn Airey commented: "When I first joined Sky, I was given various challenges. The first challenge was not Sky One, but looking at Sky Movies."

She added that Sky Movies was perceived to be lagging behind Sky Sport as a key driver of subscriptions and that she wanted to 'create a sense of ownership and passion' for the service.

The move comes at a time when BSkyB is under fire for its hefty payments for US product through output deals while doing little to support local fare. According to BSkyB figures, Sky Movies spends £400m on film rights per annum.

'It can't be said that Sky's record in backing new British film is one they could boast about," Gerald Kaufman, chairman of a parliamentary select committee looking into film, told Screen International last week.

The UK Film Council is set to begin lobbying to call on broadcasters to do more to support British film.