The Brit 50 is Screen International’s survey of the independent UK-based production companies actively engaged in originating, developing and producing feature films for both local and international distribution. We wanted to share the list to celebrate the Founders and Creative Entrepreneurs behind each of the production companies listed!

In pulling together The Brit 50, Screen International decided to keep the focus on independent production companies, and their accompanying producers, whose primary business is developing and producing original projects, rather than also being involved in the financing, selling or distribution of them.

In the UK, as the world of independent film grows increasingly precarious, more companies are looking to board IP at the earliest stage possible, in order to participate more fully in the success at the other end. Sales companies such as Independent have been producing for years, while others including Protagonist, HanWay, Cornerstone, Bankside and Embankment are increasingly moving into production in order to have a better position on projects and get in on the good ones earlier.

Distributors including Lionsgate, Altitude, Vertigo, eOne and Entertainment Film Distributors are also actively engaged in this, while Studiocanal has indicated a stronger push towards production and away from distribution with its recent activities. Pathé UK, meanwhile, occupies a unique position, often sourcing material that it can develop in-house before attaching a filmmaker, while also boarding later on in the process as a financier and executive producer with projects brought to it by third-party producers.

As for the UK’s major public funders — BBC Films, Film4, the BFI — they remain the bedrock of UK independent film production. As well as being new-talent incubators, they nurture with significant funding and creative input the vast majority of independent UK films that go on to make an impression on the festival and theatrical circuit or as cultural or awards touchstones.

But as well as the companies and names we all know, who have been so instrumental in creating a dynamic UK production landscape, there are also exciting new faces on this year’s Brit 50 who will fly the flag for UK filmmaking in years to come.

For profiles of all 50 companies, and to learn more about the Creative Entrepreneurs who founded them, click on the links below.

The Brit 50

Company profiles by Ben Dalton, Charles Gant, Tom Grater, Geoffrey Macnab, Wendy Mitchell, Orlando Parfitt and Louise Tutt.

This story first appeared in the print edition of Screen InternationalClick here to subscribe