Briony Hanson

Director of Film


Briony has headed British Council's Film team since 2012, championing UK film internationally and seeking opportunities for creative exchange.

She began her career in cultural exhibition, as director/programmer of Tyneside Cinema, before heading the British Film Institute's Programme Unit advising regional independent cinemas. Simultaneously she was 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 (now BFI Flare). She joined filmmaker training organisation, The Script Factory, in 2000 and was its Director for over 10 years, developing its programme of activities internationally. She is a regular event host for UK and international organisations including BAFTA,  conducting numerous onstage interviews from Julianne Moore and Gus Van Sant to Dustin Hoffman and Andrej Wajda. 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,and is the in-coming Chair of BAFTA's Outstanding Debut Award Jury, a role she will hold from 2019-21. She is a regular Film Critic and broadcaster for BBC Radio 4's Front Row, Film Programme and Saturday Review, and has guested on BBC TV's The Culture Show, Woman's Hour, and across BBC, Sky, ITV, C5 and C4.

Specialism 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: 2012

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 wears 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 films of the last few years:
American Honey - she explains why here
God's Own Country
Arcadia -
she explains why here

Contact Briony at