BFI chair Josh Berger and BFI CEO Amanda Nevill recently launched BFI2022, a five-year strategic plan for UK film. BFI2022 builds on the foundations laid by Film Forever, to create the conditions for a vibrant, national film culture in which independent film is widely enjoyed as part of a thriving and diverse UK film industry, equipped to meet the rapid changes in the film landscape.
Investing almost £500 million from 2017-2022, made up of Government Grant-in-Aid, BFI-earned income and National Lottery funding, BFI2022 outlines how the BFI will continue to focus on audiences and culture, support film education and skills development, and back exciting new filmmaking.
BFI2022 sees the BFI adopt a new approach to: fund filmmaking not necessarily destined for the cinema; build capacity across the UK by devolving more decision making and funding outside of London; create greater diversity of filmmaking and audiences with a new skills strategy; and to encourage all UK film productions to voluntarily adopt BFI Diversity Standards.
BFI2022 will prioritise international opportunities for UK film, including a commitment to increase in-house expertise to help secure the best possible position for film and moving image during the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU.
BFI2022 aims to further develop the success of Film Forever, which saw the establishment of Into Film (that now has active film clubs in nearly 10,000 schools), the introduction of the BFI Film Audience Network, BFI Film Academy and VOD platform BFI Player, which increased public access to the BFI National Archive with the digitisation of 10,000 of its unseen titles. It also supported British filmmakers including Ben Wheatley, Amma Asante and Ken Loach whose I, Daniel Blake won the 2016 Palme d’Or at Cannes.
Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said, “The creative industries are one of the UK’s greatest success stories, contributing a staggering £84 billion a year to our economy and supporting nearly three million jobs. Film plays a central part in that and we recognise that supporting continued success is vital.”
BFI Chair, Josh Berger said, “UK film is the envy of the world – great talent telling incredible stories in imaginative ways, wowing audiences and contributing £4.3 billion to UK GDP in the process. The BFI’s job is to champion the future success of film in the UK and this plan is designed to do that – we want to back the brave, the new and the experimental. Our aim is to find, educate and support the very best talent, give them the skills, tools and creative freedom needed to tell their stories, and make sure as many people as possible can enjoy and be inspired by those stories on the big screen, the small screen and even the screen in their pocket.”
From 2017-22 the BFI will, for the first time, use Lottery to support the creation of new and innovative works not necessarily destined for the cinema. Feature films will remain core to the BFI’s production funding. However, a new, more flexible approach to encourage creative filmmaking – that expands the possibilities of storytelling and form – may also include episodic, hour-long or other non-feature-length work, a greater variety of animation and digital projects, plus narrative filmmaking on other platforms, including immersive and interactive projects.
It will also encourage future filmmakers and creative risk-taking by launching a new model for fast funding to fully-finance the production of low-budget and debut films and introduce more flexible support for distributors to build audiences for this work. BFI2022 also seeks to preserve UK TV cultural heritage for future generations by digitising at least 100,000 of the most at-risk, British TV programmes.
The BFI will continue its drive for diversity and launch a major new 10-year skills strategy with Creative Skillset to create new opportunities for thousands of individuals from all backgrounds across the UK.
In further news, the BFI Future Film Festival returns to BFI Southbank from 15-19 February 2017 for its 10th birthday edition. Blackmagic Design will be the first ever headline partner of both the festival and the BFI’s monthly Raw Shorts programme (soon to be known as Future Film Labs). The 10th BFI Future Film Festival will include over 60 industry workshops, practical masterclasses, panel discussions, screenings, Q&As, and networking opportunities to help aspiring directors, producers and cinematographers take their filmmaking journeys to the next level.