Briony Hanson

Director of Film


Briony began her career working in cultural exhibition. She became director/programmer of Tyneside Cinema before heading the BFI Programme Unit providing programme advice for regional independent cinemas and curating nationwide tours of film and TV material. During this time, she also acted as a Consultant for Channel 4’s Independent Film & Video Dept, wrote broadcast support booklets also for Channel 4, and co-programmed the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival from 1996-2000. She joined filmmaker training organisation, The Script Factory, in 2000 and was its Director for over 10 years, developing its programme of activities internationally, programming and chairing live events, and overseeing its web and public profile. She has conducted numerous onstage interviews with filmmakers and performers from Julianne Moore and Gus Van Sant to Dustin Hoffman and Andrej Wajda. She makes occasional broadcast appearances as a film critic contributing to BBC TV's The Culture Show, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Front Row and The Film Programme, and has guested on Sky, ITV and C4. She co-edited the 2008 Filmmakers' Yearbook for A&C Black, and was the Film Editor for DIVA Magazine from 2007-11. She is a board Member of the Grierson Trust and European Film Promotion.

Specialties at British Council: Briony is responsible for leading the team in its work championing UK films and filmmakers internationally, and seeking opportunities for creative international exchange.

Joined British Council in: 2011

Best thing about working on British Council Film Team: The colleagues (obviously!) and the fantastic daily office chat around the films we’ve all been watching. A colleague in another team recently suggested that overhearing the Film team was like ‘listening to a foul-mouthed Radio 4’ – and Briony takes that as a badge of honour..

Career highlight so far: From her time at the British Council it would have to be arranging an event screening of the first Hitchcock silent film, The Pleasure Garden, accompanied live by the Brazilian National Orchestra’s Youth Ensemble, under the stars on Rio’s Copacabana Beach, for an ecstatic audience of 7,000 people. They booed when the girl was killed, they cheered when the baddie was caught - and we all cried when the orchestra took their bows. Brilliant, life-changing stuff!

She is however unlikely ever to top her greatest career achievement: Briony was responsible for co-devising and organising the first ever Sing-along-a-Sound Of Music which premiered at the NFT in 1999, still runs in London’s West End, has toured America, Australia and Europe – and is “sacred” to Kurt from Glee.

Favourite British film of all time: It’s a dead heat between Kes and Don’t Look Now

Favourite British film of 2016: American Honey – she explains why here

contact: briony.hanson@britishcouncil.org