Michael French appointed to lead major project promoting London, UK as world-leading games destination

Friday 4 September 2015 - London, United KingdomUkie and Film London lead new initiative to promote UK’s generous Games Tax Relief, position London as a global games cluster and benefit wider UK games industry.

Film London Interactive (FLI) and UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) have appointed Michael French as Senior Games Programme Executive for a major new GLA-backed initiative that will promote London as a world leading destination to make and sell games, delivering a programme of activity that will benefit the wider UK games industry.

French is a highly respected games industry professional who has worked at games industry media publisher New Bay Media, responsible for trade brands Develop and MCV, for the last decade. He has over 13 years considerable experience delivering high quality games industry events, proven project management skills and has key contacts in the industry, both UK-wide and overseas, that will be invaluable in making this project a success. His most recent work includes devising and launching Interface, a B2B marketplace for developers and publishers, new talent initiatives such as the Women of The Year Awards, plus the widely respected Develop Awards.

French will oversee a programme of activity across London that will include business to business, cultural and consumer strands, celebrating and promoting the business and culture of games. A further announcement on the full programme will be made later this year.

Ukie bring games industry expertise and contacts with games businesses in the UK and overseas to the partnership. Film London has a proven track record of delivering successful programmes across the screen industries, championing the capital’s expertise, creativity, infrastructure and generous Creative Sector Tax Reliefs. The two organisations cemented their partnership in March 2015, with a successful ‘familiarisation trip’ for US games executives: an intensive, four-day tour of London’s cutting-edge games studios which sought to forge links between London and the US.

Michael French said of his appointment, “I cannot wait to get started on this exciting and powerful new project for Ukie and Film London. Our plan champions London as a major hub for excellence and innovation in games, the part it plays in the UK as a whole, and culminates in something very special for the industry, for consumers and for the cultural power of video games.”

Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, said, “We’re delighted that Michael will be heading up this exciting new project, which will be a huge boost for the whole UK games sector and further cement London as a global gateway for games businesses. This is a fantastic initiative and we look forward to working closely with Michael to deliver a truly exciting programme of activity.”

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, added: “This is an exciting time for Film London, Ukie and the Mayor of London, as we forge ahead with our partnership to make London one of the world’s most exciting centres for Games production. Appointing someone of Michael’s calibre promises to be a major step forward in delivering the ambition of our strategy. He will spearhead our work, capitalising on Ukie’s expert industry knowledge and Film London’s track record of boosting inward investment and promoting the capital’s excellence as a content production hub.”

Andy Payne, Chair of Ukie, Film London Board Member and chair of the project steering group, said, “I have the utmost respect for Michael and am really looking forward to working closely with him to establish London as a global digital capital. We will build on London’s reputation as the global financial capital enabling London to be the conduit to drive more investment, growth and jobs for the wider UK games industry.”

French will commence his new role on September 21st.


For all press enquiries, please contact press@ukie.org.uk

About Ukie
The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment or Ukie (pronounced YOU-KEY) is a trade body that aims to support, grow and promote the whole of the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry. Founded in 2010 (although formerly known as ELSPA), Ukie’s membership includes all the major UK and global games publishers and the best of UK development talent - from promising start-ups to some of the biggest, most successful studios operating in the UK today.

Ukie works with government to champion a range of issues including age ratings, education and skills, access to finance and protecting intellectual property rights. It also works with the media to ensure true and accurate representation of the sector by raising awareness of the industry’s positive economic contribution and the societal benefits of gaming to policy makers, regulators and consumers.

Some of the campaigns Ukie has been working on include the next gen skills campaign which pushed for computer science to be put back onto the national curriculum, Askaboutgames.com - a website where families can learn about playing games safely and sensibly and Ukie Student Membership which bridges the gap between education and industry for students leaving higher education.

Website: ukie.org.uk
Twitter: @uk_ie
Facebook: Ukie
Linked in: Ukie
Pinterest: Ukie

About Film London
Film London is the capital's screen industries agency. We connect ideas, talent and finance to develop a pioneering creative culture in the city that delivers success in film, television, animation, games and beyond. We work to sustain, promote and develop London as a global content production hub, support the development of the city's new and emerging filmmaking talent and invest in a diverse and rich film culture. Funded by the Mayor of London and the National Lottery through the BFI, we also receive support from Arts Council England, Creative Skillset and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Film London's activities include:

  • Maintaining, strengthening and promoting London's position as world-class city to attract investment through film, television, animation and games
  • Investing in local talent through a range of specialised production and training schemes
  • Boosting employment and competitiveness in the capital's screen industries by delivering internationally facing business development events
  • Maximising access to the capital's film culture by helping audiences discover film in all its diversity
  • Promoting London through screen tourism

Film London also manages the British Film Commission (www.britishfilmcommission.org.uk) through a public/private partnership which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through the BFI, and UK Trade and Investment.