NESTA, U.K. Film Council seed new technologies

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LONDON -- A new £500,000 ($1 million) initiative from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and the U.K. Film Council launched Wednesday to help drive growth in British independent film companies by encouraging them to take better advantage of new technologies.

NESTA and the U.K. Film Council are calling for film companies to come forward who want to explore the potential of online sales, distribution and marketing.

"Many U.K. independent films released in the U.K. each year do not make it to DVD release. The 'Digital Innovation in Film' project will team-up independent film companies with specialist partners to reach audiences in new ways," the companies said in a statement.

Over the next few months, NESTA and the U.K. Film Council will select up to 10 film companies from across the U.K. to take part in the project. They will be involved in workshops and receive one-to-one support from "innovation partners" to explore emerging opportunities for new revenue streams.

The new ways of driving business growth that emerge from the project will be shared with support agencies across the U.K. to help other businesses.

Expressing her support for the project, Margaret Hodge Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism, said: "The U.K.'s creative industries are among the best in the world. But to remain competitive they must be prepared to rise to the challenge of the rapidly changing business environment. This new project is an exciting example of how the sector can move forward and really use the new technologies to its advantage."

John Woodward, CEO of the U.K. Film Council, added: "We know that the world is moving on. Consumers increasingly want to be able to access film any time any place, anywhere and that means online. This is an incredible opportunity for the film industry but it also presents some considerable challenges and means that film companies are going to need to adapt to survive and flourish.

"That's why this is such an exciting initiative as we are going to give companies who have the right kind of pioneering spirit the tools to be true trailblazers."
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