The new BFI funding will aim to grow cinema audiences, engage 16 to 25 year olds and support talent development across the UK’s nations and England’s regions over three years.
BFI is awarding £15.2 million National Lottery funding over three years to 11UK-wide strategic partners as it begins to implement its recently published 10-year National Lottery Funding Strategy from April 2023. The partnerships will enable the BFI to grow the activity it supports UK-wide, building on frameworks and networks established since 2012. This ‘good cause’ National Lottery funding aims to grow cinema audiences for UK independent and international film, support development of new filmmaking talent and ignite a passion for screen culture in young people.
Pivotal in delivering one of the BFI’s core principles of being UK-wide, the BFI will work with key partners across the four nations to ensure its National Lottery funding effectively responds to the varying needs of the public and industry in different parts of the country. It will see many funding decisions devolved or taken collaboratively, and activity tailored by those on the ground who understand their local landscape, have valuable community networks, and can best reach people in their local area.
Partners selected and funded to lead on activity across the UK are:
- In London, Film London to manage BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) and BFI NETWORK activity
- In the Midlands, Broadway in Nottingham and Flatpack in Birmingham to manage BFI FAN, BFI NETWORK activity and BFI Film Academy Plus
- In the North, Showroom in Sheffield and HOME in Manchester to manage BFI FAN, BFI NETWORK activity and Film Academy Plus
- In Northern Ireland, Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast to manage BFI FAN and BFI Film Academy Plus; Northern Ireland Screen will deliver talent development activity as part of BFI NETWORK
- In Scotland, Glasgow Film Theatre to manage BFI FAN and BFI Film Academy Plus; Screen Scotland will co-fund talent development activity as part of BFI NETWORK as well as support BFI FAN
- In the South East, the Independent Cinema Office to manage BFI FAN, BFI NETWORK activity and BFI Film Academy Plus
- In the South West, Watershed in Bristol to manage BFI FAN, BFI NETWORK activity and BFI Film Academy Plus
- In Wales, Chapter in Cardiff to manage BFI FAN and BFI Film Academy Plus; Ffilm Cymru Wales will deliver talent development activity as part of BFI NETWORK
Our partners are fundamental to the successful delivery of our ambitious National Lottery Strategy across the UK. We are very much looking forward to working with the venues and organisations announced today to ensure the BFI Film Audience Network, BFI NETWORK and BFI Film Academy Plus programmes evolve and grow to meet the changing needs of our sector. Driven by our belief everyone should have access to screen culture – from experiencing a diverse range of films in cinemas through to creating original screen works and a chance to forge careers – we are supporting these fantastic partners so they can bring those opportunities to local communities and people of all backgrounds, across the whole of the UK.” – Harriet Finney, deputy CEO of the BFI
Access to a rich variety of screen culture inspires and informs our future filmmakers and creatives. The funding decisions announced today enable our partners to deliver three distinct but interconnected areas of work. These organisations will provide highly visible cultural hubs that are largely based out of independent cinemas and film venues across the UK. Crucially, the funded partners will make audience and talent development opportunities accessible to audiences, young people and aspiring filmmakers across their respective regions or nations.
Continuing to support this UK-wide structure also responds to a consistent message heard throughout the extensive consultation with public and industry undertaken to develop the strategy: that every part of the country has a different set of needs, opportunities and challenges around screen culture, and local organisations are best placed to respond to these. Further UK-wide partners will be announced in the coming weeks, as recipients of National Lottery funding to support skills and education activity which will complement this work. Alongside BFI FAN, support of the exhibition and distribution sector is available via the BFI National Lottery Audience Projects Fund which is currently open for applications.
The £15.2m announced today aims to address a number of primary objectives of the BFI’s National Lottery Strategy. These include seeking to:
- empower children and young people to develop their own relationship with a wider range of screen culture – as viewers, creators or as part of the future workforce
- ensure people across the UK can access a wider choice of film and the moving image, including stories that authentically reflect their lives
- tackle a range of social, economic and geographical barriers for UK audiences
- support the skilling up of the exhibition workforce so venues are better equipped to thrive in an increasingly challenging marketplace
- open up opportunities to those who want to express their creativity through stories on screen and support and nurture their careers
- encourage innovation and back a wide range of stories that wouldn’t otherwise be told
- open up equitable and more visible routes into the sector
A collaboration of eight leading venues or film organisations representing the UK nations and regions, the BFI Film Audience Network supports a stronger and more connected approach to growing audiences for UK and international film on the big screen. FAN has over 1,700 members comprising cinemas, festivals, mixed-arts venues, community cinema and film archives, which can access training, funding, programming support and network opportunities.
BFI NETWORK exists to support, develop and champion new and emerging filmmakers across the UK. Working with partners, NETWORK has an on-the-ground presence in every UK nation and region, led by BFI NETWORK Talent Execs, to connect with and deliver support to new and emerging filmmakers. BFI NETWORK offers funding for short films and first feature development, as well as a range of professional development support to writers, directors and producers.
BFI Film Academy Plus, the newly named UK-wide in-venue education offer, helps connect 16 to 25 year olds with opportunities to pursue their love of screen culture and learn how to set about a career in the industry. Funding will enable venues across the UK to provide locally tailored support packages such as masterclasses, screenings and bursaries, helping them to learn more about the film industry, watch cultural cinema, become familiar with their local venues and develop skills as independent filmmakers, film curators or film industry new entrants.
The BFI National Lottery Funding Strategy aims to build a diverse and accessible screen culture that benefits all of society and contributes to a prosperous UK economy. At its heart are three core principles: equity, diversity and inclusion, so everyone can develop a meaningful relationship with screen culture, regardless of their background or circumstances; UK-wide, so that everyone across the four nations of the UK should be able to experience and create the widest range of moving image storytelling; and environmental sustainability, from reducing the BFI’s own carbon emissions to supporting wider industry efforts to get to net zero and address biodiversity loss.