The UK Film Council is working with the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts (NESTA) to start a new $1m (£500,000) initiative to help British independent film companies take better advantage of new technologies.

NESTA and the UKFC are now scouting for film companies who want to learn more about online sales, distribution and marketing for the new Digital Innovation in Film project. Up to 10 companies from across the UK will be selected over the next few months to take part in workships and get one-on-one support from 'innovation partners,' such as Arts Alliance Media.

This programme will aim to connect smaller film companies with larger tech firms in most cases.

Unlike the many digital production schemes now set up across the UK, Digital Innovation in Film will be about changing business models, notfunding digital production. Companies applying could include production outfits (not for specific production funding, however), but are more likely to be independent distributors and sales companies.

Noting that many UK indie films don't have a DVD release, the initiative will partner independent film companies with specialist partners 'to reach audiences in new ways.'

The Digital Innovation In Film scheme is the first in a planned series of new Innovators Growth programmes from NESTA, which will help creative businesses grow by exploiting new technologies.

The pilot is being developed with national and regional development agencies. The UKFC said that if the pilot programme is successful, it could lead to more than 100 independent film companies benefiting.

John Woodward, CEO of the UK Film Council, said: 'Consumers increasingly want to be able to access film any time any place, anywhere and that means online. This is an incredible opportunity for the film industry but it also presents some considerable challenges and means that film companies are going to need to adapt to survive and flourish. That's why this is such an exciting initiative as we are going to give companies who have the right kind of pioneering spirit the tools to be true trailblazers.'

Interested parties can find more information and applications (due May 1) at