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BFI Film Fund Chief Ben Roberts Waves Flag For New Spending Plans

By | Wednesday October 17, 2012 @ 9:08am PDT

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage

In a keynote at the Film Production Finance Market in London this morning, BFI Film Fund director Ben Roberts talked about plans for better cooperation with international partners, providing extra coin for minority co-productions and establishing development/production funds for UK producers. Roberts also insisted there will be “no favoritism” at the BFI, which took over responsibility for running the UK movie business last year. He was referencing criticism that was often lobbed at the now-defunct UK Film Council by producers whose applications for funding were unsuccessful. “I’ll be here until I’m despised,” he joked.

Earlier this month, the BFI launched a five-year “Film Forever” plan, which laid out a funding increase of £24M annually by 2017. Today, the message in Roberts’ keynote couldn’t have been clearer: This is not the UK Film Council. While he didn’t openly criticize the work of the organization that handed out public cash under the last government, he said the BFI’s new plan favored “originality, excellence and quality of vision.” In a nod to international partners, Roberts promised the org was hard at work on a new strategy. “We’re slightly hamstrung by the confines of the UK Tax credit. It’s very territorial. Qualifying is tough for co-productions. We’ve realized we have to come up with other ways to be useful to the international community,” he said. Calling the BFI a “global business,” Roberts added the body will allocate around £1M of its budget to minority co-productions. Read More »

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Mike Goodridge Segues Into CEO Role At Protagonist Pictures

By | Tuesday May 29, 2012 @ 6:35am PDT

It’s always interesting when a journalist goes from covering the biz to working in it. That’s what just happened to Mike Goodridge: The editor of UK trade Screen, will see the other side when he segues to become CEO of London-based Protagonist Pictures this summer, it was announced today. The move follows the appointment of Protagonist CEO Ben Roberts to head of the Fillm Fund at the British Film Institute last April. Protagonist is an international sales and finance company whose shareholders include Film4, Vertigo Films and Ingenious Media. Its roster of upcoming films includes Nick Loves’ action thriller The Sweeney, Richard Ayoades’ The Double starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, How I Live Now by Kevin Macdonald and John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary. Goodridge, a former colleague of mine at Screen, started there in 1994 and was based in LA for 12 years before returning to London as editor.

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Protagonist Pictures’ CEO Ben Roberts Named Director Of BFI Film Fund

By | Monday March 19, 2012 @ 5:13am PDT

BFI Film Fund Ben RobertsBen Roberts is to be the new Director of the BFI Film Fund, the BFI announced today. Thirty six year old Ben Roberts is currently CEO of Protagonist Pictures which represents many British films in the international market place. Since 2007 he has overseen a range of releases including recently, Submarine, Kill List, Nativity, Deep Blue Sea, Tyrannosaur, Streetdance 3D and In The Loop. Ben has 15 years film of industry experience across international sales, studio acquisitions, UK distribution and film finance, and has developed strong relationships with new and established filmmakers.

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