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International strategy

The BFI’s International Strategy aims to help UK film achieve maximum economic growth and cultural reach.

The strategy is the result of detailed consultation and research with the BFI’s partner agencies and industry stakeholders.

A screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail at the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival

A screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail at the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival
Credit: British Council

The International Strategy is underpinned by a budget of £1.5m per annum for the duration of Film Forever, the BFI’s five year plan which runs to 2017.

We identified a number of key areas for support and intervention on which the BFI will lead, and which will encompass and inform the activity of our funded partners and other agencies.

UK Film Focussed Activity at International Festivals, Markets and other Platforms

In addition to existing festival related support schemes, such as the Film Export Fund, the BFI has dedicated a limited amount of support from its International Fund for industry facing initiatives promoting UK film and supporting the engagement of UK filmmakers with international counterparts.

Supporting UK-focussed activities at important international festivals, markets or through other platforms or events delivers the following benefits to UK film:

  • helping to connect UK filmmakers (producers, writers, directors) with international counterparts;
  • enhancing the profile of UK talent to international industry decision makers, and/or
  • promoting the UK as a filmmaking destination or partner of choice (the Benefits).

The BFI has allocated funding of up to £50,000 from the International Fund towards this activity and we expect to make a very limited number of awards throughout the year.

There is no application deadline but we would encourage applicants to apply at least six months in advance of the initiative.

Key areas for support and intervention

Inward investment

The BFI funds – and works in partnership with – the British Film Commission (BFC), and film agencies across the UK, to deliver economic growth through investment in the UK.

The International Strategy has committed £200k per annum to support the BFC in attracting film inward investment from the US. This is in addition to £400k Grant in Aid funding from the BFI, and a further £200k from UK Trade & Investment to help it attract TV inward investment and, possibly, film inward investment from emerging markets.


The BFI International Strategy is committed to growing the value of UK Film exports year on year.

The BFI International Strategy builds on a number of interventions to understand and enhance the value of UK Film exports. These include the Film export funding, the unified UK brand We Are UK Film and support for the UK film presence at festivals and markets such as Berlin International Film Festival, FILMART, Cannes International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

Territory-specific initiatives will be undertaken from time to time and calls for participants announced here.


An effective co-production landscape enhances opportunities for growth as it opens up streams of international finance, removes trade barriers, and increases audience.

As of 1 April 2013, the BFI Film Fund has committed up to £1m per annum to encourage creative excellence in co-production where the majority creative input comes from outside the UK. Priority will be given to projects where:

  • A world-class, non-British filmmaker wishes to engage with UK talent or cultural content.
  • UK involvement enhances the international appeal of an exceptional project that has been originated outside of the UK.
  • An international project gives an opportunity to an outstanding, emerging talent from the UK.

The BFI Film Fund accepts applications for British qualifying co-productions through the standard process.

Cultural exchange

Film has a powerful ability to open windows of understanding on another cultures, open hearts and minds, and effect change.

The International Strategy will help maximise the cultural, creative and diplomatic impact of our cultural programme through greater co-ordination with our partner agencies, and increased resource to help increase the scope of the BFI’s international cultural exchange activity.

Audiovisual policy

The international political and regulatory environment has a huge impact on the conditions for success and growth in film.

Through effective engagement with its partner agencies and government departments, both in the UK and internationally, the BFI will continue to lead on key issues such as IP protection and State Aid.

Skills and talent

The BFI will work in partnership with Creative Skillset and partner agencies to identify and develop the best of UK’s film talent and skills base, equipping it to compete, innovate and lead in a global environment.

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  • We Are UK FILM

    We Are UK FILM

    We represent UK filmmaking internationally at festivals and markets.

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