BFI head of distribution & exhibition to step down after nine years at UKFC and BFI.

Pete Buckingham, currently head of distribution and exhibition at the BFI, is to step down after nine years at the UK Film Council and BFI.

Buckingham is leaving to pursue “a more direct and hands on role in the same arena.”

Buckingham is the latest high profile, former UKFC executive to leave the BFI after Film Fund head Tanya Seghatchian announced her departure in September. A succession plan for Buckingham’s role has yet to be announced with the government’s film policy review findings, due in January, potentially impacting the nature of the position going forward.

During Buckingham’s tenure at the UKFC he developed a number of important funds and programmes in support of the distribution and exhibition sectors in the UK, including the popular P&A fund, which supported the marketing and distribution of releases such as An Education, Red Road, Control, This is England, A Prophet, The Lives of Others and Pan’s Labyrinth, the Film Festivals fund, which channeled £4.5million Lottery funding to the London Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival and Sheffield Documentary Film Festival among others and the Digital Screen Network, which supported the installation of 240 digital projectors in more than 200 cinemas.

Other initiatives developed under Buckingham’s watch include anti piracy initiative, which has had 11 million visits in two and a half years, the Digital Innovation fund, which included support for hit campaigns such as Monsters and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the Fast track fund, the Lottery Transition fund and audience development initiatives such as the FilmClub, Capital and Access fund and Rural Cinema pilot scheme.

Buckingham said: “We have achieved many things that I am very proud of in my time at the UKFC and the BFI. Ultimately my goal has always been to connect audiences with great films. I had had the privilege of achieving this by working with many talented partners and people. I now intend to play a more direct and hands on role in the same arena. The past has been great. The future promises to be equally as exciting.”

Amanda Nevill, CEO, BFI added: “Pete has had a fantastic nine years in the public sector. His achievements are immense and varied; they involved the introduction of ground breaking and innovative solutions such as the Digital Screen Network, the Prints and Advertising Lottery Fund and the highly successful which has had over 11m visits since its launch. His pioneering drive, innovative thinking, strategic vision and knowledge of film, specifically film audiences will be missed by the BFI. I wish him every success and eagerly await his future initiatives in the world of film.” 

Prior to joining the UKFC in 2002, Buckingham worked as deputy chief executive FilmFour Ltd, MD Oasis Cinemas, director Virgin Film Distribution and MD Recorded Cinemas. He began his career in the industry as a projectionist.