British film industry must target US market

MUMBAI: A new, groundbreaking scheme designed to boost the export of independent UK films to the US will receive no future funding, leaving a huge gap in the market, according to industry insiders. 
From Britain with Love – the last initiative by the UK Film Council’s Export Unit – will showcase six independent UK films including Toast starring Helena Bonham Carter and In Our Name with Downton Abbey actor, Joanne Froggatt, across more than 30 US cities and towns from June 11.
The Film Industry Export Alliance (FIEA) – a new industry-led independent alliance representing a range of parties and interests – is calling for Lottery Funding to support UK film export in order to fill the gap created by closure of the UK Film Council’s Export Unit.
“From Britain with Love provides an opportunity to showcase talent – both in front of and behind the camera – to the US, Britain’s most important market. It would be impossible for any of these films to get this sort exposure without wider industry support and it is essential to crack the US market in order to survive. The huge potential of the UK film industry has most recently been demonstrated by The King’s Speech which wowed American audiences – but without a big lead like Colin Firth it could have so easily been overlooked. From Britain with Love is giving new British talent that essential, extra push,” says FIEA chair Carey Fitzgerald.
This comes at a time when the UK’s policy on film is set for a major shake-up with the establishment of a Government Review led by the former secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Chris Smith. The eight-strong committee includes Lord Julian Fellowes and representatives from the new Board of the British Film Institute (BFI), which recently became the lead body for the delivery of film policy in the UK.