140 buyers to attend London UK Film Focus
by Annika Pham
09/06/2005 - The second London UK Film Focus (LUFF), a three day export event showcasing the latest British productions to international buyers, is going to take place this year from 27-30 June at the BFI’s National Film Theatre (NFT) on London’s South Bank.
Created last year on the ashes of the London Screenings on the request of UK sales companies who wanted a special mini-market in London to show their latest products to selected international distributors (very much like the Paris-Screenings for French films), the LUFF has already become a key event on the calendar of international film markets. The major partners and sponsors coordinating the event include the UK Film Council, Film Export UK, the London Development Agency through Creative London, the UK Trade and Investment, the British Film Institute and the Waldorf Hilton hosting the closing night dinner.
According to Helena Mackenzie, LUFF coordinator, as many as 180 buyers attended the event last year, with the highest presence from Germany, France, Japan and Australia. The buyers are offered free accommodation for three nights, and this year, 140 distributors have been invited to come to London to view 36 new British films in the NFT’s three screening rooms.
Among the titles premiering this year are Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto and Neil Marshall’s The descent sold by Pathe International, Silence Becomes You, a drama starring Alicia Silverstone and Sienna Guillory sold by IAC, and Steen Argo’s debut comedy Shut Up and Shoot Me sold by Moviehouse.
"Only UK sales companies organise the screenings, and only UK films are sold at the LUFF," explained Mackenzie to Cineuropa, "because the event is financed with UK tax money so we can’t really spend government money on launching non-UK films. However, as many buyers will be around, we decided this year to add another day at the end of the week (on Friday 1 July) for the screening of non-UK films. But this day will be completely separate and will not be funded by us as it won’t be part of our remit."
The fact is that the UK film production sector suffered in 2004-2005 from changes in local tax incentives available to foreign investors, and many British films in production were not finished. So although the LUFF would ideally like to remain a platform for 100% British films, the reality is that too few UK premieres will be available so quality non-UK titles sold by UK sales companies will also premiere at the 2005 LUFF, although the definite line-up had not been announced at press time.