Freuds and Premier PR on alert as British Film Institute shakes up comms

Freuds and Premier PR on alert as BFI looks for new agency to promote film festival.

Blockbuster: King's Speech stars Geoffrey Rush (left), Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth
Blockbuster: King's Speech stars Geoffrey Rush (left), Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth

The British Film Institute is poised to overhaul its comms to prepare for a new era of film funding in the UK.

As the film industry celebrates the success of The King's Speech, the BFI is to stage the first major pitch for a PR agency in five years.

The BFI has used Freud Communications and film specialist Premier PR since 2000, with both consultancies focused on promoting the internationally renowned London Film Festival.

The two agencies have now been placed on alert as the BFI considers hiring a single shop to work on the festival's PR.

'The 54th BFI London Film Festival in 2010 broke all previous records for attendance and media coverage and this was aided by an impressive press campaign that really got us noticed, both in the UK and internationally,' said the festival's artistic director Sandra Hebron.

The new agency will seek to build on this success, as the festival strives to compete with glamorous rivals such as the Cannes Film Festival.

The winning agency will also work with the BFI as it becomes the lead strategic body for film and takes on most of the responsibilities of the soon-to-be abolished UK Film Council.

Last month, the BFI announced it was seeking to appoint five new governors to its board to help take it into the new era of film in Britain.

As of 1 April, BFI will work with Government, the industry and national and regional partners to develop a new strategy for British film.

Central to the strategy is investment in digital capability to provide greater public access to the BFI's film and knowledge collections.

News of the comms shake-up comes as the film world prepares for the 2011 Academy Awards taking place this weekend in LA, with The King's Speech leading the British nominations.


Premier PR has worked on the BFI London Film Festival since 2000, pitching for and retaining the account in 2005 after five years.

Freud Communications has managed the red carpet events, opening and closing galas for the past ten years.

The BFI's in-house comms teams are led by marketing director Gail Cohen, with head of press and PR Judy Wells and director of press and public affairs Nick Mason-Pearson.

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