London Film Festival awarded £1.8 million

Capital arts event gets UK Film Council funding boost.

by Amber Wilkinson

The UK Film Council today announced £1.8 million Lottery funding for the Times BFI London Film Festival over the next three years.

According to their press release: "The money will fund innovative ways to allow audiences across the UK to access and share in the festival, allow the festival to drive forward its ambition to become a recognised destination where the international industry does business, and allow it to compete with other major international festivals."

The investment aims to boost audience access and the international profile of the festival by attracting more premieres, instroucing a city-wide public event and creating an online virtual presence.

The festival is also aiming to raise its profile by revitalising its awards and strengthening international coverage.

UK Film Council Chief Executive Officer John Woodward, said: "Today's £1.8 million in funding is part of the UK Film Council's commitment to bring a broader range of film to a wider audience across the UK, offering more people the chance to enjoy and participate in film."

Festival director Sandra Hebron said: "I'm delighted that the UKFC will be supporting the next exciting stage of the festival's life. Alongside our plans to raise the international profile and value of the event as a launch pad for films in Europe, initiatives such as the re-focused awards will reward imagination and creativity in film-making, and the development of our online and London wide activities will significantly increase the number of people who can enjoy and engage with the festival.

"This new investment is crucial in enabling us to take a huge step forward, building on our history to provide a festival that Londoners and the international film community will regard as an unmissable event." Film Minister Barbara Follett welcomed the £1.8 million funding: "The Times BFI London Film Festival is great for Londoners and an important celebration of one of our most vital and vibrant creative industries. This Lottery funding will help to secure London's position as a global centre for filmmaking and production talent." The Times BFI London Film Festival is a highly regarded and anticipated event in Europe's cultural calendar, attracting leading international filmmakers, industry professionals and the media together with large public audiences to London for a two week showcase of the best in contemporary world cinema. The 53rd edition of the festival will run from 14-29 October. The full programme will be announced in London on Wednesday 9 September.

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