More on what we mean by film, diversity and UK-wide opportunity.
What we mean by ‘film’
Our aim is to inspire excellence across the range, depth and diversity of the moving image, in ways that pique and support creativity, can augment experience, enrich cultural context, and create contemporary relevance.
Filmmakers and creatives are leading the development of the art form across high-end television, 3D and virtual reality, while simultaneously, in a digitally dominated world, others are fighting for the artistic freedom to continue working with original analogue materials.
Those working in video games are seeking to evolve the grammar of filmmaking to push the boundaries of the moving image into the interactive world.
For the future, (and throughout this strategy) ‘film’ will mean anything that tells a story, expresses an idea or evokes an emotion through the art of the moving image, whilst honouring the platform for which the work was intended.
We will support the continued experimentation, innovation and development of the art of the moving image, whether for the big or small screen, whether delivered in a linear or interactive form. We will introduce greater flexibility in our funding criteria to encourage innovation in moving image. We will expand further the sphere of our cultural programme and the expertise of those who deliver it.
What we mean by diversity
Diversity is good for creativity, supports economic growth, taps into under-served audiences and makes good business sense.
That’s why our definition of diversity is to recognise and acknowledge the quality and value of difference. We believe that in order to have a healthy, world-class, and resilient film culture and industry we need to showcase, invest in and present the best talent we have in the UK. This means that diversity needs to sit at the heart of our decision-making.
We want to make it easy for everyone to engage with film and the moving image, no matter what their gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background or geographic location. The BFI is committed to promoting a wider range of voices in British film, both in front of and behind the camera. We believe this is an industry-wide challenge and an industry-wide responsibility, and the introduction of the BFI Diversity Standards was an important early initiative that signalled our commitment to achieving real change.
True diversity means a film culture that stretches across the UK in a meaningful way – and that’s far from where we are today. We can be proud of the internationally recognised expertise in our capital city. But when voices from all the regions and Nations of the UK are not properly represented, that is detrimental to UK film as a whole.
In this strategy we will do all we can to bring forward the next generation of British talent, to spread opportunity where it might not exist, to make career progression as easy as possible and to make sure doors are opened where they might appear closed. We will be asking all our funded partners to work with us to advocate hard for the BFI Diversity Standards to be adopted and celebrated across the whole industry.
Alongside Creative Skillset, we will lead an overhaul of skills and training, working with Government, the devolved administrations and industry for a proper professional skills framework that has the specific aim of removing barriers. Our Black Star programme is a demonstration of how we will curate our cultural programmes to influence a change in perspective.
What we mean by UK-wide opportunity
This strategy makes a major commitment to devolving more decision-making and funding opportunities to the English regions and the Nations. During our UK-wide roadshows, there was frequent call for the BFI to be more directly involved, to add support at a local level and advocate more effectively on devolved and regional issues.
While London is – and will remain – one of the most successful global centres, the greatest opportunity and imperative for the future is to focus on supporting the development of additional internationally ambitious, economic and cultural centres across the whole of the UK. We anticipate that our Creative Clusters Challenge fund will lead to the identification of one or two priority international clusters for the future, and we commit to working with partners, including the Local Enterprise Partnerships, with specific incentivisation funding to support production, skills, enterprise and business development.
We will be passing greater devolution of decision-making and funding to our partners across the Film Audience Network, using the existing infrastructure to keep overheads as efficient as possible. We will also be working with them to increase the number of funding access points for future filmmakers, who naturally congregate around these cultural hubs, as well as working more directly with locally based production companies so that their professional ears and eyes can better augment opportunity across the UK.
We introduce a new funding initiative providing repayable working capital to support enterprise and higher risk innovation projects in smaller companies working across the screen industries. The British Film Commission will lead on developing a new UK-wide strategy for film and screen production services to include and encourage individual city screen agencies alongside the services in the Nations, as part of our ambition that the UK is the best place in the world to make film.
We want to be more visible across the UK, working with our partners to advocate for film, television and moving image culture to be at the heart of the new devolved strategies and funding plans, as well as shouting louder about their achievements in Westminster. To do this we commit to BFI personnel across England, and closer working with LEPs, education institutions, councils and creative agencies in each of the Nations. There will also be trustee positions on the BFI board reserved for individuals who bring a particular understanding of film in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.