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BFI unveils new five-year plan including Lottery annual production funding boost to £28.2m

Three “strategic priorities” have now been identified: education and audiences (£17 million per year), filmmaking (£28.2 million) and Heritage (£3 million.)


The British Film Institute (BFI), the UK’s lead body for film, today issued its eagerly awaited “Future Plan For Film 2012-2017.” This is the blueprint for public film strategy and investment over the next five years. 

‘We have set out a bold, long term vision for film that will genuinely make a difference to education, audiences and filmmakers and support the UK’s growth agenda   by boosting jobs and the economy and stimulating inward investment and export,” BFI Chairman Greg Dyke declared.

The “Future Plan” (drawn up in response to Lord Smith’s recently published Film Policy Review document “A Future For British Film”) lays out just how the BFI proposes to handle the £285m Lottery investment in film over the next five years.

Three “strategic priorities” have now been identified: education and audiences (£17 million per year), filmmaking (£28.2 million) and Heritage (£3 million.)

On the filmmaking side, the BFI is increasing Lottery investment to to £28.2m. This incorporates £16.5m for Production, £4m for Development, £2m for Talent, £4.5m on Skills and Business Development and £1.2m for international activity including the British Film Commission. 

As part of the new education and audiences policy, the P&A Fund will be kept at its new ramped up level of £4 million.

There is also a new £1 million fund to support the UK’s international festivals. “It’s specifically to support those festivals of international importance which have a really important industry role as well as an audience development role. Typically, we’d be looking at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Edinburgh, possibly Encounters and obviously London,” Amanda Nevill, Chief BFI, said.

One hugely ambitious aim is to make sure every child in the UK aged 5-19 in (8.5m in 23,000 schools) has film and filmmaking as part of their education.

A consultation period on the Future Plan starts today (Monday) and lasts for a month. There will be meeting around the country as well as meetings with all the leading trade bodies. Once the evidence from the consultation has been written up, this will be presented to the Board Of Governors in July. The aim is to launch the policies in September.

Amanda Nevill told Screen that delivering the hugely ambitious plans outlined in the Future Plan For Film would not require the BFI to create new layers of bureaucracy.

“There is absolutely no intention in the plan to try and build up an administrative layer. We have just spent the last 12 months taking out loads of administration so that we were able to protect as far as possible funding to the direct line,” Nevill stated.

Goals identified for filmmaking include:

- Retaining the UK’s competitive edge in the industry by equipping 25,000 of the UK’s work force with new skills via a new film training scheme that includes next generation skills such as special effects and digital production. 

- Rewarding successful producers so they can reinvest profits in further UK productions and explore a joint venture approach for producers and distributors to maximise audiences and revenues.

- Putting in place an international strategy in which the BFI brings together partners including BBC Worldwide, The British Council, The British Film Commission, Film Export UK and BAFTA to work collaboratively to ensure and strengthen our position in the global film market place.

Goals on the Education and Audience front are:

- to ensure every child in the UK aged 5-19 in (8.5million in 23,000 schools) has film and filmmaking as part of their education in a £35m new Lottery initiative to boost success of British film. 

- to put in place new network of 10-15 BFI supported regional film hubs across the UK that combine exhibition, education and training activities to boost audience choice at a local level, working within a national framework.

- For digital equipment to be installed in up to 1,000 community centres, village halls and other non-theatrical locations across the UK over the next five years

- To provide financial support for cinemas across the UK to access a wider range of films to broaden audience choice out of London.

Meanwhile, on the Heritage front, the targets include digitising 15,000 of the most significant British film titles and making them available to the public across different platforms.

Speaking at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport this morning, culture minister Ed Vaizey said that the government had taken on almost all of Chris Smith’s recommendations. He said he felt “very strongly that there should be a joined up offer in terms of film education” as well as highlighting the importance of “building sustainable film production companies.”

Vaizey said that in terms of inward investment the UK should be looking beyond just the Hollywood studios. “While we welcome the significant investment from the Hollywood studios, we also recognise that there are more and more global film centres, particularly in China and India, which we hope we will be able to take advantage of in the future,” said Vaizey.

See Q&A with Amanda Nevill here

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