Further details have emerged of The UK Film Showcase, the new screenings initiative for British films being launched in London this summer.
London mayor Ken Livingstone is investing roughly £50,000 into the event, due to be held in late June at the three-screen National Film Theatre in London. The Showcase is being organised by Film Export UK, UK Film Council and Film London.
Among the blue chip titles likely to be on offer to buyers are Roger Michell's Enduing Love, Danny Boyle's Millions, Gurinder Chadha's Bride And Prejudice and Peter Richardson's Churchill: The Hollywood Years. The emphasis will be on premieres. No films will be accepted that have been screened earlier than the AFM.
The organisers are promising a range of "incentives" to lure over 100 leading international buyers to London, where they will have the opportunity to see around 20 British films over three days as well as to rub shoulders with British talent. There will be a "Buyers' Lounge" at the nearby Marriott County Hotel, where delegates will stay. There is also likely to be a video library. Representatives from Bim and Diaphana have already confirmed they will be attending.
If the inaugural event is a success, the organisers will consider introducing such initiatives as "pitching points" and a "project market" along the lines of Rotterdam's CineMart at future editions.
The event, touted as London's answer to the Paris Screenings and the Perugia Screenings, has raised a number of questions. Why is it being held so close to Cannes' Is this an attempt to revive the discredited old Pre-Mifed London Screenings under another name'
The answer to the Pre-Mifed question is a resounding "no." "Absolutely not. That's the last thing it would want to be," Pathe's Alison Thompson, head of the steering committee, stated.
Other leading industry figures involved in the steering committee include Jamie Carmichael of Content, Hilary Davis of Beyond and Janine Gold of Element x.
Most British sales agents are welcoming the initiative. Cobalt Media's Gareth Jones said: "If we find we have a film that's available, we'd certainly consider putting it in the UK Showcase."
The event, which will cost an estimated £150,000, is being funded by Film London, the UK Film Council and by commercial sponsors. "We still need to do more to grow the UK's market share," said John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer UK Film Council, "This important initiative brings buyers from around the world to London and shows them new British films and talent."