BFI, Government unveil plans for future of British film industry

Both the BFI and the Government have today published responses to Lord Smith’s film policy review “A Future for British Film”.

The BFI has published its future plans in a document entitled New Horizons for UK Film, and announced that they will focus on three “strategic priorities” that arose from Lord Smith’s review. These are as follows:

  • “Supporting the future success of British film”, which will receive £28.2 million in funding;
  • “Expanding education opportunities and boosting audience choice”, which will see investment of £17 million per year; and
  • “Unlocking film heritage for everyone in the UK to enjoy”, for which the BFI has earmarked £3 million.

The 28.2 million set aside for filmmaking includes £16.5m for production, £4m for Development, £2m for Talent, £4.5m for Skills and Business Development and £1.2m for international activity. With these resources, the BFI hopes to:

  • Create a new UK-wide network of talent development hubs for writers, directors and producers;
  • Reward successful producers by restructuring Lottery funding;
  • Increase investment in skills and training;
  • Encourage further inward investment by developing a new partnership model.

The BFI’s aims for education and audiences include:

  • Ensuring every child in the UK between the ages of 5-19 has access to film and filmmaking as part of their education;
  • “Nurturing tomorrow’s talent” through a new national film academy;
  • Providing financial support for cinemas across the country to increase audience choice;
  • Supporting the UK’s international festivals.

Lastly, the organisation’s plans for heritage cover:

  • Making the BFI’s collection of film and television productions is accessible to all those in the UK;
  • Creating new public-private sector partnerships to enable rights holders to digitise UK screen heritage

Greg Dyke, Chair of the BFI, said: “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”.

Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, the Government also outlined their response to Lord Smith’s review. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey gave his endorsement to rewarding producers with box office success, and revealed plans for the British Film Commission to enter into a strategic partnership with UK Trade and Investment and BFI (providing an additional £400,000 to the BFC).

In a statement, Mr Vaizey said:

“The UK film industry is a real success story and I want it to thrive and grow. Economically and culturally British film makes a great contribution and it’s vital that we make the most of the very real opportunity for economic growth it offers.

“Chris Smith’s comprehensive review made practical and innovative recommendations. I’m pleased that Government and industry can sign up to much of this straight away. Along with the BFI, we’re committing to action that will not only drive and encourage investment in British films but will also develop and nurture the next generation of British film makers.”

To read the BFI’s New Horizons for UK Film document, click here. For the Government’s response, click here.