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02/11/2007

Film Festivals Receive Boost From UK Lottery

Film festivals across the UK will be part of a new £4.5 million drive to raise the profile of British film and give people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to see more films, meet filmmakers, and enjoy the world of film.
The UK Film Council is making available £1.5 million a year of National Lottery money over three years to help fund up to two festivals which have a national and international standing and up to eight festivals which are of national significance.
The money will be channelled into two funding streams:
  • £1.25 million a year for three years to film festivals of major international and national significance which aim to support new talent and showcase films internationally;
  • £250,000 a year for three years for up to eight festivals of national significance which will give UK audiences access to a richer, more exciting and diverse film experience.
This initiative follows the UK Film Council’s consultation with the film industry earlier this year on its future funding and policy priorities. There was widespread demand for more funding for film festivals to help them achieve their potential and offer more opportunities for people across the UK to access and enjoy the world of film.
Speaking ahead of the closing gala event of the Times BFI London Film Festival, Culture Secretary James Purnell said: "As the curtain closes on the 51st Times BFI London Film Festival, I’d like to congratulate the BFI on another quality, star-studded event and take this opportunity to launch a £4.5 million festival fund which will benefit film fans across the country.
“The UK is the third largest film industry in the world and we know that people in the UK love films. Film festivals are incredibly important in bringing new, exciting and important films to audiences and in the process deliver cultural, social and educational benefits. The UK’s film festivals showcase creativity and create economic, company, and global value for the UK film industry. I hope this new fund will help festivals to boost their pulling power on the global stage.”
John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council, said: “We’ve got a very diverse array of film festivals in the UK, achieving great results with relatively little funding. With a bit more targeted support we believe that the bar can be raised for the benefit of UK audiences and for filmmakers from the UK and around the world. That’s why we are committing £4.5 million of additional funding over the next three years to a new festival strategy.”
The announcement comes on the same day that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that, following the latest Comprehensive Spending Review, the UKFC’s Government resource funding, currently £22.36 million, will be inflation-proofed for the next three years.
The UK Film Council had been awarded £25 million to safeguard the future of the UK’s national and regional film archives. It will enable the UK Film Council to implement its screen heritage strategy to preserve the visual memory of the UK and ensure access for all.
(SP)
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