Third round of BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Pilot Fund now open

New and existing touring cinema operators can now apply to the BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Pilot Fund, which aims to bring cinema experiences and more specialised and independent British films to communities across the UK.


BFI Neighbourhood Cinema forms a key part of the BFI’s pioneering UK Audience Fund, which brings a varied range of partners 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. BFI Neighbourhood Cinema plays a crucial part in achieving this goal.

The UK benefits from a thriving film society movement and growing community cinema sector. This offers a valuable opportunity to boost audiences’ choice of film and to increase the reach of cinema into both rural and urban communities without the need to invest in buildings or large-scale businesses. Through BFI Neighbourhood Cinema, the BFI hopes to ensure that every person in the UK has access to a wide range of film no matter what their location or background. By funding touring cinemas to go into new areas, or existing areas which may find it difficult to access British and specialised film, the BFI aims to stimulate regular and diverse film watching activity in community venues which, through the support of the touring cinema operators and the BFI Neighbourhood Cinema online platform, will then become more self-sustaining.

The BFI has allocated Lottery funding of £2 million over four years between 2013 and 2017 to the BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Fund. It will help community cinemas to offer quality local cinema experiences using high level, DVD-based equipment, showing a wide variety of films while charging affordable ticket prices and overcoming the dual challenges of presentation quality and supply of content.

The Fund’s main aims are to:

  • Grow audiences for film at a community level
  • Establish and develop community venues in underserved areas through investment in equipment, an online platform and the provision of advice, information and networking opportunities nationally and regionally
  • Increase audience choice and access to British and specialised film.

The BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Fund comprises:

BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Pilot Fund for Touring Cinema Initiatives

A grants programme aimed at enabling new and existing touring cinemas to set up and encourage regular community cinema activity. This will focus on improving cinema services in currently underserved areas and/or increasing specialised programming in existing community cinemas.

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BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Equipment Fund

A small non-monetary grants scheme to provide new or upgraded equipment for existing community cinemas.

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BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Equipment Website

BFI Neighbourhood Cinema is supported and underpinned by an online platform.

It includes: information on setting up a community cinema as well as links to other useful sources of information; individual profile pages for community venues indicating equipment to donate or share; and the opportunity for community cinemas (both privately and publicly funded) to share best practice and ideas with other communities across the UK.

  • BFI Neighbourhood Cinema

    BFI Neighbourhood Cinema

    BFI Neighbourhood Cinema helps people create a cinema experience in their local community venue.

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