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Independent British films 'fighting for attention amongst superhero movies'

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

British independent films are struggling to fight for attention amongst the sheer number of big budget tentpoles from major studios, the co-director of the British independent film awards (Bifas) has said.

Deena Wallace told the PA news agency that while there is a wealth of gifted creatives working in the UK film industry, it is harder to get attention for their output.

Speaking after nominations for the 2019 ceremony was announced, she said: "I think there is an enormous amount of talent in the UK, I think what is harder is to get the audience's attention, because it's so much easier to watch great stuff wherever you happen to be and there is just that much more competition for audiences' attention.

"What we are trying to do is to cheerlead as much as we can for these film because a lot of filmmakers who come through Bifa with their first film will go to make incredible world-conquering Star Wars films and all sorts, so it's a real breeding ground for talent that feeds the whole of the rest of the industry.

"They are fantastic stories that need to fight for every bit of attention they can get and the budgets still are not what maybe they used to be, so it is particularly hard to spend the money on getting the films seen.

"So to help to compete against the big studio tentpoles, we think it's really important for things like Bifa to shine a spotlight on those films."

Addressing the glut of superhero films and big franchises, Ms Wallace added: "Those films are continuously there, it's not like there is just one.

"There are others and merch as well, and not so much merch with For Sama (a documentary filmed through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria, which is nominated for the best British independent film), so it's a harder sell.

"But what Bifa does is bring those stories together, which makes it easier for people to discover something that might be a bit less familiar."

The British independent film award ceremony will held at Old Billingsgate on December 1.

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