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The British Film Institute has appointed Mia Bays as director of the BFI Film Fund.
Bays, currently director-at-large of the female-focused Birds’ Eye View film charity and due to take the position in October, will fill the role left open by Ben Roberts when he was promoted to CEO in early 2020.
The position is one of the key spots in the U.K. film industry, with Bays overseeing a fund worth around £30 million ($42 million) annually, the largest public fund for film.
“I mark 30 years in film this year,” said Bays, who has a three-year term with the BFI. “What a way to celebrate and commence a new chapter. I’m both excited and terrified! I’m looking to continue as a changemaker and cultural agitator; this time bringing that energy and commitment within an institution with a long history, knowledge and passion for film, which I wholeheartedly share.”
Bays has worked on the releases of over 150 feature films, is a multi-BAFTA-nominated producer (including for Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, executive produced by David Bowie), and produced the Oscar-winning Six Shooter directed by Martin McDonagh. Mia served as creative producer from 2007-14 on the Film London BBC Films microbudget scheme Microwave, which made eight features including Shifty and Ill Manors starring Riz Ahmed, Freestyle starring Arinzé Kene and Lilting directed by Hong Khaou.
“We’re so thrilled that Mia is joining us to lead the Film Fund team,” said Roberts. “The Fund really could not be in better hands as we look to the future of the fund and build our next strategy. Mia has such a wealth of experience across production, curation and audience development, and I have immense admiration for her transformative work at Birds Eye View. She has been championing diversity and emerging talent throughout her career, so she will be a key driver of our commitment to creating the widest possible opportunities across the U.K.”
Mia is set to remain in a consultancy role with Birds’ Eye View and intends to return there at the end of her fixed-term contract with the BFI Film Fund.
In other changes at the Film Fund, Natascha Wharton and Lizzie Francke, formerly senior production & development executives, have been appointed to the new roles of head of editorial and editor-at-large, respectively. Farhana Bhula and Kristin Irving are promoted to senior production & development executives, and Fiona Morham has taken on expanded responsibilities in her head of production role.
Recent BFI-backed projects include seven-time BAFTA nominee and multi-BAFTA Award winner Rocks; Ammonite, directed by Francis Lee and starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; and Saint Maud directed by BAFTA nominee Rose Glass featuring Rising Star nominee Morfydd Clark.
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