The UK Film Council (UKFC)’s Festival Fund is poised to inject $2.7m (£1.88m) of extra funding into theThe Times BFI London Film Festival. A decision on the new money is expected in the next two weeks.
The additional money is one-off sum and is expected to be spread across two to three festivals, as LFF organisers have to match it with money raised from other sources. It is already expected that the LFF will need to secure a new headline sponsor as The Times is not expected to renew its deal after this year’s event, which will run from 14 to 29 October.
The UKFC’s decision to consider awarding the funding suggests the organisations have resolved their differences over the direction of the event. The Festival Fund turned down the LFF’s application for money last year because it did not believe the event’s plans showed enough ambition. UKFC Chairman Stewart Till had called for “a bigger, louder festival with more wattage, more star power and more impact on the worldwide film stage.”
Speaking to Screen International this week, Till said there would “absolutely be a happy ending” to the funding situation and he praised festival director Sandra Hebron for last year’s event.
“She deserves credit, opening with Frost/Nixon as a premiere and closing with Slumdog Millionaire was absolutely their best line-up for a long time in terms of razzle dazzle,” he said. “There was a lot of substance in the middle as well.”
LFF received nearly 30% of last year’s $5.9m (£4.1m) budget from public money, which it received though the British Film Insitute, via the UKFC, Film London, the London Development Agency and Skillset, while the rest was made up by box-office and sponsorship.
The UKFC’s head of distribution and exhibition Pete Buckingham declined to comment on whether UKFC had yet made a decision about the extra LFF funding.