A number of leadingproviders of independent British film finance have joined forces to launch neworganisation, the Screen Financiers Association (SFA).

The founding members areAquarius, Baker Street Media, Magic Hour, Prescience, and Surefire. Between themthey have been involved in financing films such as Ladies in Lavender and forthcoming features Valiant, Tideland, A Good Woman, The Proposition and Bob theButler..

The SFA says it intends toprovide a representative forum for organisations which focus on finance for thelower budget British film sector - features that cost £15m or less. It aims to provide a link between thefinancial community, film producers, sales agents, distributors, thegovernment, and other interested private and public sector partners.

One of the SFA's firstinitiatives will be to establish a Code of Practice, binding on all members, tocreate a set of generally accepted ground rules for lower budget filmfinancing.

Acting SFA Chairman BillAllan of Baker Street said, "The creation of the SFA is overdue. The Government's introduction of substantialtax advantages for private investors in UK qualifying films has precipitated anenormous amount of activity over the past seven years. In that time the British film industry hasachieved an unprecedented level of commercial and critical successworldwide. However, it's clear that thetime has come for all this disparate activity to be organised, so that theindependent British production sector can go forward with confidence."

Acting SFA mediaspokesperson, Paul Brett added, "As the industry evolves, the need formeaningful dialogue between the public and private sectors, the financial andcreative communities, becomes more pressing. Since this government prioritisedoutside investment in the film industry seven years ago, huge bridges have beenbuilt between the city and the film production community. It would be a greatshame to burn these bridges."