The British Film Institute has appointed Ben Roberts as the new director of the BFI Film Fund. Roberts, the current CEO of Protagonist Pictures will take responsibility for deciding how the organisation’s annual funding of more than €25.2 million (Ł21 million) is spent. The BFI’s annual budget is drawn from the British National Lottery.
Thirty six year old Roberts takes over a newly expanded role for the BFI that will bring together development, production, distribution and exhibition for the first time.
He will take over the role held by Tanya Seghatchian, who previously headed production and development funding, and Pete Buckingham, who was in charge of funding for distribution and exhibition. Seghatchian resigned from her post last September.
Roberts, who has been at Protagonist since 2007, has 15 years experience in the film industry. At Protagonist he has overseen a range of sales and releases for British films including ‘Streetdance 3D’, ‘Submarine’, ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘Kill List’.
His previous roles include VP of worldwide acquisitions at Universal International. Pictures and he also ran theatrical distribution and acquisitions for indie distribution Metrodome.
Roberts, whose start date has yet to be announced, said of his new role: “This is a rare opportunity to make a difference in a really dynamic part of the film sector and I relish the chance to work across the industry, building on the successes of the last few years.
“This new role offers me the special opportunity to support talented British filmmakers in achieving their potential to make great and memorable films.
“It also means I can play my part in leading the development of a more joined-up approach to public investment in film in the UK by overseeing all of the BFI’s Lottery Film Fund investments - including distribution and exhibition - to better connect films with their audiences.”
Amanda Nevill, BFI chief executive, added: "I am thrilled that Ben is joining us to lead the BFI Film Fund at this important time for film in the UK. His experience reflects the future demands on this new role, combining creative flair with a very strong audience and market sensibility."