UK Global Screen Fund announces latest awards for international promotion of independent UK feature films

International co-production funding is now open for applications.

8 February 2024

Superman (1978) © Courtesy of Warner Bros

The BFI has made 9 new awards through its UK Global Screen Fund, supporting international opportunities for the UK’s independent screen sector. Financed through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the awards see a further £129,498 being allocated through the fund’s International Distribution strand. To date, this strand has now made 66 awards totalling over £2 million.

Financial support for International Distribution provides sales agents and producers from all over the UK with funding via three tracks:

  • Film Sales, supporting UK sales agents to increase their international promotion and sales of UK feature film projects
  • Prints and Advertising (P&A), supporting UK films to reach international audiences
  • Festival Launch, supporting the festival launch of UK films in order to enhance their promotion, reach and audiences internationally

The funding, awarded in the form of non-repayable grants, is focused on helping recipients enhance the profile and reach of UK feature films in the global marketplace, and on increasing their international sales potential through promotion and new international partnerships.

Denitsa Yordanova, BFI Head of the UK Global Screen Fund, said: “This latest round of international distribution awards has helped launch a truly exciting range of UK feature films into the international arena, supporting seven premieres at the Sundance Film Festival as well as further promotional activity coming soon at the Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals. We are delighted that these films are well on their way to reaching new global audiences, having already achieved major sales deals with key territories around the world with the fund’s support, and we look forward to following them on their journey to international growth and success.”

UK Global Screen Fund applications are currently open for:

  • International Co-production – closing on 5 April
  • International Distribution Festival Launch Support (assessed on a rolling basis)
  • International Distribution Film Sales Support (assessed on a rolling basis)
  • International Distribution P&A Support (assessed on a rolling basis)

UK Global Screen Fund re-opening dates coming soon are:

  • International Business Development – Opening 4 April
  • International Co-production – Round Two – Opening 30 September

UK Global Screen Fund International Distribution awards via the Festival Launch Support track have been made to support the following:

10 Lives

Directed by Christopher Jenkins with a screenplay by Christopher Jenkins, Karen Wengrod and Ken Cinnamon. The animated family comedy feature film about a pampered cat has a cast led by Mo Gilligan, Simone Ashley, Sophie Okonedo and Zayn Malik. The Festival Launch Support grant contributed towards the world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, enhancing the presence of the title and its UK talent during the festival. The film is produced by Guy Collins and Sean Feeney and the award is granted to 10 Lives Productions.

Eno

Directed by Gary Hustwit. The US/UK co-production, and feature documentary about British musician Brian Eno, uses generative software to offer unique viewing experiences, providing audiences with a different version of the film every time they watch it. The Festival Launch Support grant contributed towards enhancing the film’s world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film is produced by Gary Hustwit and Jessica Edwards and exec produced by Natasha Dack Ojumu and Nikki Parrott. The award is granted to Tigerlily Productions, who co-produced the film with Film First Co.

Kneecap

Written and directed by Rich Peppiatt. This first feature, and Irish-language Ireland/UK co-production, denotes the rise of Belfast-based hip-hop trio Kneecap, starring the band members themselves as well as Michael Fassbender. The Festival Launch Support grant contributed towards the world premiere of the film at the Sundance Film Festival in January, boosting its profile and helping to secure its first major sale, with Sony Pictures Classics acquiring all rights to the title for North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. The film is produced by Trevor Birney and Jack Tarling and the award is granted to Fine Point Films.

Last Swim

Directed by Sasha Nathwani and written by Helen Simmons and Sasha Nathwani. A feature directorial debut, this day-in-a-life drama follows an ambitious British-Iranian teenager in London who has been diagnosed with a life-changing condition. The Festival Launch Support grant contributes towards the world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2024, with the aim of boosting its profile and securing strong international sales in key territories. The film is produced by Campbell Beaton, Nisha Mullea, Bert Hamelinck, Sorcha Shepherd and the award is granted to Last Swim Ltd.

Layla

Written and directed by Amrou Al-Kadhi. This feature directorial debut is a British romance about a struggling Arab drag queen falling in love for the first time. The Festival Launch Support grant contributed to the world premiere within the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January, enhancing its presence with the aim of securing strong international sales in key territories. The film is produced by Savannah James-Bayly and the award is granted to Fox Cub Films.

Sebastian

Written and directed by Mikko Mäkelä. This second feature and UK/Finland/Belgium co-production stars Ruaridh Mollica as Max, an aspiring writer living in London, who begins a double life as a sex worker in order to research his debut novel. The Festival Launch Support grant contributed to the world premiere within the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January, boosting the profile of the film and its UK producer at the event. The film is produced by James Watson and the award is granted to Bêtes Sauvages.

Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story

Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui and written by Peter Ettedgui. The feature documentary film is about actor, director and disability activist Christopher Reeve. The Festival Launch Support grant contributed towards boosting the profile of its international premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, enhancing marketing and promotion and creating a buzz around the title, which has since secured its sale to Warner Bros. Discovery during the festival. The film is produced by Lizzie Gillett, Robert Ford and Ian Bonhôte. The award is granted to triple Academy Award-winning Passion Pictures, who co-produced the film with premium label Misfits Entertainment.

The Outrun

Directed by Nora Fingscheidt and written by Amy Liptrot and Nora Fingscheidt. The UK/Germany co-production stars Saoirse Ronan as a woman returning home to Scotland’s Orkney Islands to confront her troubled past. The Festival Launch Support grant contributed to enhancing the world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, boosting the profile of the title and its UK producers with the aim of securing strong international sales. The film is produced by Sarah Brocklehurst, Dominic Norris, Jack Lowden and Saoirse Ronan and the award is granted to Protagonist Pictures.

A UK Global Screen Fund International Distribution award, via the Film Sales Support track, has been made to support the following:

The Bayou

Directed by Taneli Mustonen and written by Gavin Mehrtens and Ashley Holberry. The thriller sees a group of friends hunted by a fearsome alligator in an inhospitable Louisiana swampland. The Film Sales Support grant contributes towards promotional activities to increase the profile of the film in the international marketplace, including presenting to buyers at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with the aim of boosting sales and widening distribution outside of the UK. The film is produced by James Harris, Mark Lane, Gavin Mehrtens and Ashley Holberry and the award is granted to Finely Crafted Media (trading as Architect).