The British Film Institute's exhibition department is to be closed and its functions taken over by the UK's Film Council.

According to local reports from the BBC, the BFI is to close its programming unit, which supplies support to regional film theatres for the screening of arthouse product.

According to the BBC, the unit, which also supports the distribution of films, will have its duties re-distributed to the Film Council, the parent body of the BFI.

The move comes as the Film Council gears up its strategy of implementing an increased choice of films at UK cinemas, involving most recently, the announcement of a £1m specialised p&a fund for independent films.

According to the Film Council, "The p&a initiative is the first in a series of initiatives by the UK Film Council's new Distribution and Exhibition Fund to offer a more diverse range of films to a wider range of audiences."

The p&a initiative expects that the first films to be released with its support will get distribution from June.