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The UK Film Council (UKFC) was set up in 2000 by the Labour Government as a non-departmental public body to develop and promote the film industry in the UK. It is constituted as a private company limited by guarantee governed by a board of 15 directors and is funded through sources including the National Lottery. John Woodward is the Chief Executive Officer of the UKFC. As at 30 June 2008, the company had 90 full-time members of staff[1].



In its own words, the aim of the UKFC is:

To stimulate a competitive, successful and vibrant UK film industry and culture, and to promote the widest possible enjoyment and understanding of cinema throughout the nations and regions of the UK.

The UKFC has a mandate that spans cultural, social and economic priorities.


The UKFC administers and funds a range of different activities, including:



Arguably the most visible activity of the UKFC is its direct funding for feature and short films. There are three funds offering around £17 million Lottery funding per year for the production and development of films.

The Development Fund aims to broaden the quality, range and ambition of film projects being developed in the UK. With £12 million of Lottery funding to invest over three years, the fund aims to build a talent-driven home for writers, directors and producers. It helps filmmakers of all experience levels develop their ideas and screenplays into viable feature films, be they fiction, documentary or animation, up until the moment they are ready to get production finance. There are two funding programmes, one for first-time feature filmmakers and one for established filmmakers. The First Feature Film Development Programme aims to identify and support emerging filmmakers (e.g. screenwriters, writer/directors and writer, director, producer teams) who have not made a feature film or who have not yet had a feature film released theatrically or broadcast on UK television. Awards are made up to £25,000. The Feature Film Development Programme is a dedicated industry funding programme for producers, production companies and filmmakers with a demonstrable track record of success in feature filmmaking or in production in the audio-visual arena, looking for funding and financing partnerships. The fund also offers Signature Awards to help further encourage ambitious and original filmmakers and projects.

Funded films include Jane Campion’s 'Bright Star'; Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrea Arnold's second feature 'Fish Tank'; Armando Iannucci's 'In The Loop'; and Sam Taylor Wood's 'Nowhere Boy', written by Matt Greenhalgh.

The New Cinema Fund supports emerging talent and established filmmakers working outside the mainstream, focusing on the most innovative writing and the most gifted directors. The fund has £15 million of Lottery money to invest over three years and funds eight to ten feature films each year. It has a strong commitment to supporting work from the nations and regions, from black, Asian and other minority ethnic filmmakers and encourages the use of digital technology in the production, distribution and exhibition of films. It also supports over 100 short films each year through its short film schemes. Four flagship short film schemes operate nationwide: Cinema Extreme[2] (administered by The Bureau); the Completion Fund[3] (administered by Maya Vision International); The Magic Hour[4] (administered by 104 films); and Blank Slate[5] (administered by B3 Media). The remaining short film funding offered by the UK Film Council is administered by the regional screen agencies and the national screen agencies via the Digital Shorts Scheme and Digital Nation (formerly known as Digital Shorts Plus).

Films supported by the fund include James Marsh’s Oscar-winning Man on Wire; Armando Iannucci’s In the Loop (Sundance 2009); Jane Campion’s Bright Star; Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank; Dominic Murphy’s White Lightnin’ (Berlin and Sundance Film Festivals 2009); Sally Potter’s Rage (Berlin Competition 2009); Noel Clarke’s Adulthood (BAFTA Rising Star); Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Cannes, Palme d'Or); Shane Meadows’s This is England (BAFTA, Best British Film); Kevin Macdonald’s Touching the Void (BAFTA, Best British Film); Andrea Arnold’s Red Road (Cannes, Jury Prize); Paul Andrew Williams’s London to Brighton (Edinburgh International Film Festival, Best New Director); Alexis Dos Santos’s Unmade Beds (also at Berlin and Sundance 2009); and Duane Hopkins’s Better Things (Cannes, Critics’ Week).

The Premiere Fund invests £8 million of Lottery funding per year into mainstream, commercially-driven films encouraging the involvement of British creative talent in a range of films that can attract audiences the world over.

Funded films include Mike Leigh’s award-winning Happy-Go-Lucky; Oliver Gerald McMorrow’s Franklyn; Christopher Smith’s Triangle; Oliver Parker’s Dorian Gray; Stephen Frears' Cheri; Bob Weide’s How to Lose Friends and Alienate People; Anand Tucker’s And When Did You Last See Your Father?; Julian Jarrold’s Brideshead Revisited; Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson’s St Trinian’s; Rupert Wyatt’s The Escapist; Roger Michell's Venus; Vito Rocco’s Faintheart; and Gabor Csupo’s The Secret of Moonacre.

The Office of the British Film Commissioner works to ensure that the UK remains an attractive production base for international films. Activities include: encouraging and supporting international films being made in the UK; strengthening the UK's production infrastructure; promoting UK talent and product around the world; working with the UK's Government to ensure that film friendly policies are in place; and reviewing and developing international co-production treaties, allowing the UK to collaborate with other countries to make films.

Distribution & Exhibition

The UK Film Council’s Distribution and Exhibition Department works to make non-mainstream films more widely available to cinema audiences in the UK through the following schemes:

The Prints and Advertising Fund - provides £2 million per year to help UK distributors produce extra prints of non-mainstream or more commercially-focused British films, or to publicise films more effectively through advertising and other channels.

The Cinema Access Programme (launched in 2003) - provided £350,000 to help cinemas purchase subtitling and audio-description technologies that improve the cinema-going experience for people with hearing and sight impairments. The programme also provided funds to, the film listings website of choice for film-goers with sensory impairments, and the Film Print Provision strand, an ongoing funding initiative that helps distributors produce fully accessible film prints.

The Digital Fund for Non Theatrical Exhibition (launched in 2004) - a £500,000 fund to help expand the activities of film clubs, societies community groups and mobile film exhibitors in order to improve viewing opportunities for audiences in rural areas across the UK that may not be able to support a full-time cinema.

The Digital Screen Network (set up in 2005 by the UK Film Council and the Arts Council England) - a £12 million investment to equip 240 screens in 210 cinemas across the UK with digital projection technology to give UK audiences much greater choice.

Capital funding – the Small Capital Fund (2006) provided £800,000 to help smaller cinemas meet the costs of essential building refurbishments and other improvements such as disabled access; and the Capital and Access Fund for Cinemas (2007) provided £500,000 to help cinemas upgrade their equipment and premises to improve the cinema-going experience for audiences. – the film search engine which tells users when, where and how a film is available in the UK, legally and across all formats and platforms – cinema, TV, DVD & Blu-ray sale or rental, or download.

Education & Training

The UKFC also funds:

The British Film Institute which champions moving image culture, education and cinema heritage to benefit as wide an audience as possible and aims to deepen and encourage public debate about film.

The Skillset Film Skills Fund which ensures a strong, consistent supply of skilled and talented professionals in line with market demand and aims to build a bigger and better future for the film industry in the UK. As the first ever comprehensive training strategy for the British film industry, it was launched in September 2003.

First Light Movies, a digital short filmmaking scheme that offers children and young people more opportunities to participate in and learn about filmmaking.

FILMCLUB, free to all state after school programmes in England, FILMCLUB opens the world of film to school children with free DVDs for screenings, visits from film professionals and a great interactive website.

Regional & National Film Activity

The UKFC funds nine regional screen agencies via its Regional Investment Fund for England (RIFE) which provide funding for production, screen commissions, cinema exhibition, training, archives and education within each English region. These are: EM Media; Film London; Northern Film & Media; North West Vision and Media; Screen East; Screen South; Screen West Midlands; Screen Yorkshire and South West Screen. It also funds three national screen agencies responsible for developing film television and broadcast new media in the UK nations: Scottish Screen; Northern Ireland Screen; and the Film Agency for Wales.

See also


External links


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