BFI announces BFI2022, its five-year strategy for UK film

Investing almost £500 million from 2017-2022, BFI2022 outlines how the BFI will continue to focus on audiences and culture, supporting film education and skills development and backing exciting new filmmaking.

BFI Film Academy, Barbican, London

At an event in Birmingham today BFI Chair Josh Berger and BFI CEO Amanda Nevill launched BFI2022 – a new 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, supporting film education and skills development and backing exciting new filmmaking.

BFI2022 sees the BFI adopt a new approach to funding filmmaking not necessarily destined for the cinema; building capacity across the UK by devolving more decision making and funding outside of London; aspiring to greater diversity of filmmaking and audiences with a new skills strategy and by working towards a goal that all UK film productions are encouraged to voluntarily adopt the BFI Diversity Standards.

BFI2022 will prioritise Future Audiences, Future Learning and Skills, and Future Talent, and capitalise on the international opportunities available to 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 develops the success of Film Forever, which saw the establishment of Into Film now with 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 3 million jobs. Film plays a central part in that and we recognise that supporting continued success is vital. I welcome the BFI’s new strategy and I am pleased that the BFI has strengthened its commitment to diversity and is looking to further its reach by doing more to support creativity outside of London. This will help to equip more young people with the skills they need to succeed whatever their background, wherever they live, and ensure that the UK remains a great place to make films.”

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.”

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI said:

“There is one word at the heart of this strategy: future. We will be supporting filmmakers so they are free to experiment and innovate for the future of the medium, opening doors to a future that includes greater opportunities for a diverse generation of individuals to find their voice in the industry; expanding the circle of decision-makers so that the energy behind the current success of film radiates across the whole of the UK.”

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Credit: 2014 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

Celebrating and supporting film in all its forms, not just for the cinema: The BFI has championed the art of the moving image since 1933, embracing advances in technique, form and technology since that time. There are now more ways to enjoy and create powerful stories on screens than ever before – in recognition, the BFI will now support and celebrate the future of the moving image across every platform, not just the big screen. 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, but 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 work, and narrative filmmaking on other platforms including immersive and interactive work
  • 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
  • preserve our TV cultural heritage for future generations by digitising at least 100,000 of our most at-risk, British TV programmes, including comedy (Do Not Adjust Your Set, At Last The 1948 Show) major one-off dramas and documentary series (Rainbow City, A Superstition, Eastern Eye, Nationwide), children’s TV (How, Basil Brush, Tiswas, Rubovia, Vision On) and the birth of breakfast television, currently held on obsolete video formats and in danger of being lost forever

Driving forward diversity and skills: Diversity is good for creativity, supports economic growth, taps into under-served audiences and makes good business sense. Launched during Film Forever, the BFI Diversity Standards encourage greater diversity across all BFI Lottery funded projects, and public programmes like Black Star and Black Britain on Film are setting a wider cultural agenda and providing a platform to spark public debate. To future-proof continued growth and vibrancy in UK film, from 2017-22 the BFI will:

  • launch a major new 10 year skills strategy with Creative Skillset to create new opportunities for 1000s of individuals from all backgrounds from across the UK to join and progress within UK film 
  • work with producers active in the UK to create the right conditions so that all productions in the UK can voluntarily adopt the BFI Diversity Standards
  • use the power of the BFI cultural programme to set agendas, including:
    – an exploration of Britishness through the experience of dual identities, starting with British Asian and Black British
    – year-round programming celebrating the representation of women, including a season spotlighting the work of trail-blazing women writers and directors including Kathryn Bigelow, and a focus on girlfriends, looking at the dynamics of female friendships on screen
  • create a Manifesto for Film in the Classroom in partnership with Into Film, demonstrating the educational and cultural importance of the art of film and its role in inspiring the next generation of a creative workforce
  • to inform future policy-making, the BFI will launch the largest searchable, interactive database ever compiled of British feature films. The BFI’s UK Filmography reveals for the first time a complete picture of British film including over 100 years of data, and offering a complete dataset relating to the diversity of UK film

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Devolving decision-making and funding out of London: Growth in the UK’s screen industries is outstripping almost every other sector – in the third quarter of 2016 film and TV production grew by over 16% while the economy overall grew by 0.5%. BFI 2022 seeks to supercharge areas of screen industry potential across the UK, to amplify this growth and empower decision-makers to drive this success locally and globally. The BFI will:

  • devolve 25% of all BFI production funding to decision-makers based outside London by 2022
  • create a clearer progression path and  gateways to accessing support for ambitious emerging filmmakers across the UK, including new regional BFI NETWORK Talent Executives based in key cultural venues within the BFI Film Audience Network
  • pilot a new £10 million Enterprise Fund providing repayable working capital for innovative projects in smaller companies working across the screen industries outside London

We have to keep pace with competition and navigate through a completely new world order following the decision to exit the EU. The BFI will, with the British Film Commission, undertake a review of production services in the UK and make sure we remain the best country in the world to make films, and a review of production infrastructure to identify priorities for future investment and growth.

The full BFI2022 Strategy can be accessed online at:

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