The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) has been awarded $248,000 to boost the export of US films, starting with an American Pavilion at Hong Kong Filmart in 2011.

Awarded by the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the US Department of Commerce under its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP), the grant creates a partnership between IFTA and ITA to establish pavilions at upcoming film and TV markets.

Hong Kong Filmart, which runs March 21-24 in 2011, will host the first pavilion reflecting the interest from US sales companies in penetrating the mainland China market.

The Hong Kong event, which marks its 15th anniversary next year, has long had country pavilions from Europe and Asia - including delegations organised by the UK Film Council and UniFrance - but this marks the first time that US companies will have a unified presence at the market.

“We are proud that MDCP recognised IFTA’s ability to help US independent film companies compete more effectively in the global marketplace,” said IFTA president and CEO Jean Prewitt.

IFTA projects the pavilions will generate $112m in export revenues over three years for small and medium-sized companies, creating 1,120 direct and 2,464 indirect American jobs.