UK distributor Soda Pictures has teamed with the BFI, film education programme Into Film, UK children’s festivals and indie exhibitors to launch Children’s Cinema Club, an initiative to boost the number of independent children’s films on release in the UK.

Four films will be selected for distribution by a panel of 12 curators and programmers including Mike Tait from Discovery Film Festival in Dundee; Chris Shaw from Cinemagic in Belfast; Joan Parsons from Showcomotion in Sheffield; Gemma Woolley from Zoom Cymru in Wales; Ian Francis from Flatpack Film Festival in Birmingham; and Nicky Beaumont from Brighton’s Cine City, alongside Simon Ward from the Independent Cinema Office, Leah Byrne from Picturehouse Cinemas, Susie Evans from the Barbican, Kate Gerova from Birds Eye View Film Festival; Moira McVean from Into Film; and Soda MD Edward Fletcher.

The partners will collaborate on the acquisitions, press and marketing for the films.

Sally Hodgson of Pipoca Pictures will co-ordinate the project alongside Soda’s Fletcher and Anna Kime of Film Hub North.

Fletcher said: “It’s great to see some genuine cross sector collaboration in such a vital area of cinema. All those involved have a keen interest in audience development and in particular offering younger audiences a broader choice of films, which has been recognised with the support of the BFI as part of its wider plans for audience development.

“Now comes the more fun part of finding some new exciting films for children and attracting audiences to them across the UK.”

Soda’s past children’s titles include Oscar-nominated Cat in Paris, Petit Nicolas and films by animator Michel Ocelot.

Eddie Berg, BFI director of UK partnerships, said: “Outside of mainstream films, there is a limited choice of releases for younger audiences, and yet the UK’s children’s film festivals show there is an appetite in younger audiences to enjoy a broader range of films.

“In supporting this innovative partnership between distribution and exhibition, we want to ensure young film fans everywhere have the opportunity to enjoy new film experiences.”