Cinemas outside London will receive financial support to show films other than the latest Hollywood blockbusters as part of a £285m National Lottery investment in the British film industry.
The British Film Institute (BFI) announced the move, designed to broaden the range of films that cinema-goers can see, after claiming that, outside of London and the South-East, just 7 per cent of all cinema screens regularly show non-mainstream films.
The BFI was itself in danger of becoming the "London Film Institute" when he joined, admitted Greg Dyke, chair of the body which took over responsibility for the UK's film policy, including the Lottery funding of potential hits.
Discussions are taking place with the distributors and multiplex chains to give more prominence to British films, following the success of The King's Speech. Promising "a new deal for audiences", the BFI will commit £4m a year to a Prints and Advertising fund, created to help give potential "breakout" British hit films nationwide distribution.
A UK-wide network of "film hubs", based at independent cinemas and linked to community cinemas, film societies, schools and universities will be created. A village hall cinema club could get funds to buy the digital technology to screen classic films, Mr Dyke suggested.
The plans, backed by Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, who cited The Inbetweeners Movie as a recent UK hit, include the digitisation of 10,000 of the most important films in the BFI archive.