In an effort to give a leg up to UK films premiering in Sundance this month, the British Film Institute has launched an initiative to help them attract theatrical distribution and reach wider audiences in the U.S. The scheme will start out as a pilot and is limited to British films currently without Stateside distribution which have a production budget of less than £2M ($3.28M). The BFI will award up to £25K ($41K) per film to U.S. distributors to help with theatrical marketing campaigns and to support the promotion of UK film talent. The funds will be available only if a distributor acquires one of the three eligible films within three months of their Sundance debut, and only if the distributor intends to release the film theatrically in the U.S. with screenings in a minimum of five of the top 25 markets within 12 months of the acquisition. There are three films eligible for funding at Sundance: Hong Khaou’s Lilting, the opening film in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition sold by Protagonist Pictures; Stuart Murdoch’s God Help The Girl, also premiering in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition; and Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s drama-documentary about Nick Cave, 20,000 Days On Earth, which bows in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. The latter two films are handled by HanWay. The maximum funding available per film will be the lower of £25K or an amount equal to 50% of the total distribution costs. Applications must be made to the BFI by the U.S. buyer at least 14 weeks before the film’s release date. Sundance runs January 16-26.
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