The British Film Institute created a pilot scheme in January to give a leg up to UK films premiering at Sundance with a view to helping them attract theatrical distribution in the U.S. The program has now been extended to five films in selection at the upcoming SXSW Festival which runs March 7-16. The BFI is making up to £25,000 ($41,750) available to U.S. distributors who acquire the films to boost marketing campaigns and help support the promotion of UK talent to American audiences. The films that fall under the initiative are documentary The Legend Of Shorty, co-directed by Angus Macquee and Guillermo Galdos; Vision selections Beyond Clueless, directed by Charlie Lyne, and The Possibilities Are Endless, co-directed by Edward Lovelace and James Hall; and 24 Beats Per Second entries Pulp, directed by Florian Habicht, and Soul Boys of the Western World, directed by George Hencken. The scheme was successful in Sundance with all three entries, Hong Khaou’s Lilting, Stuart Murdoch’s God Help The Girl and Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days On Earth, each sealing a U.S. theatrical deal. BFI Film Fund director, Ben Roberts, says, “With each of the eligible films at Sundance quickly securing U.S. distribution deals, we were very keen to extend the pilot to see if it has legs at SXSW, and explore further if it can help increase the visibility of a range of cultural British film in the all-important U.S. market.” Distributors are eligible to apply for the BFI U.S. Distribution Fund if they acquire a film within three months of its premiere at SXSW with the intention of releasing it theatrically within 12 months of the pick-up.
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