BFI’s Programming Development Fund now open

A new BFI fund worth £5.6m over four years will bring ambitious programmes of films and events to UK audiences.


The Long Day Closes (1992)

The Long Day Closes (1992)

The BFI today announces the launch of its Programming Development Fund, worth up to £1.4m per year to 2017. The new fund is designed to empower programmers and exhibitors across the UK with the means to curate and present adventurous and ambitious programmes of film activity to bring specialised and independent British films to audiences across the UK in fresh and original ways.

The Programming Development Fund is intrinsically linked to the BFI’s pioneering UK Audience Network, set to launch autumn 2013, which will see a varied range of partners across the country working together to bring diverse and engaging film experiences to as many people as possible. As set out in its Film Forever five year plan, the BFI aims to increase the size, diversity and geographic spread of audiences viewing specialised and independent British films and the Programming Development fund and ground-breaking UK Audience Network will be central to achieving this goal.

Tim Cagney, Deputy CEO of the BFI comments:

We want audiences to develop a lifelong relationship with film and we passionately believe that everyone in the UK should be able to enjoy the very best in British and world cinema, no matter where they live. This fund will be a key tool for the UK’s expert programmers and exhibitors, giving them the opportunity to work with our UK Audience Network to present creative programmes of thought-provoking and inspiring films that will help audiences everywhere discover the power of great cinema.

The Programming Development Fund will support different levels of activity from smaller research projects through to activity on a larger scale, with the aim to encourage bold and ambitious cross-regional projects, including some with national reach. Projects are expected to utilise the UK Audience Network infrastructure and capitalise on programmers’ curatorial expertise and local knowledge to bring compelling seasons of films and events to UK audiences, particularly outside London where there is less access to cultural film. By encouraging a pooling of resources and expertise, the fund will foster curatorial ambition and create economies of scale.

Through widening access to cultural cinema at local, regional and cross-regional level, the BFI hopes to inspire UK audiences to take greater risks in their viewing choices, in turn helping to increase the public and media profile of specialised and independent British film. By encouraging ambitious thinking around the showing of films from programmers, cinemas and other venues, the BFI also hopes to increase skills, knowledge and capacity in these areas.

The Programming Development Fund, which will support comprehensive programmes of activity led by exhibitors, is designed to complement the BFI’s Distribution Fund, which supports distributors to widen the audiences for specialised and UK independent films on a title by title basis.

More information about the BFI’s Programming Development Fund

The BFI hopes to support a wide range of exhibition activity through the Programming Development Fund, which could include but is not limited to:

  • programmes curated around a particular theme, genre, national cinema or geographic origin
  • major retrospectives or seasons
  • archive programmes
  • touring programmes
  • documentary or non-fiction programmes

There are three strands of funding available in the Fund:

Strand 1 is designed to support the development costs of a project which requires feasibility, testing or piloting in advance of a full project proposal. Awards will be within the range £5,000-£20,000.

Strand 2 is designed to support projects which have been fully developed and are ready for implementation. Awards will be within the range £15,000-£150,000.

Strand 3 is designed to support very large-scale projects only. We expect to make a very limited number of awards under this strand each year with one application deadline in December for 2013. In future years the deadline will be in June with exact dates to be announced. Awards in this Strand will be in the range £150,000 — £500,000.

For Strands 1 and 2 during this first call, applications will be assessed on a rolling basis, with a final deadline of 5pm, Monday 2 September. For strand 3 the application deadline is 5pm, Monday 2 December.

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