Film Festival Fund

Film festivals give audiences the opportunity to engage with a wide range of British and international films, celebrating the rich diversity of life in the UK and beyond.

Festivals are a key part of our cultural infrastructure: they inspire audiences, artists, filmmakers and professionals alike. We believe they can help us achieve our three strategic priorities for 2013-2017, as outlined in Film Forever.

The BFI has allocated Lottery funding of £1 million per year, for the four years from 2013-2017, to the Film Festival Fund. As part of the Audience Fund, the Film Festival Fund supports festivals which provide audiences across the UK with a greater film choice, as well as increasing audiences for specialised and independent British film.

The fund has two priorities:

  • Strand 1: To support audience development activity within film festivals that offer a strong cultural programme and which serve regional/local audiences, or which may have a particular specialist theme enabling them to reach audiences from further across the UK. These festivals are usually focused on public audiences, rather than the film industry, and do not generally attract an industry delegation. New festivals can be supported under this strand as long as they demonstrate a clear cultural vision which meets a gap in provision, are based on audience analysis and need, and demonstrate financial viability.
  • Strand 2: To support audience development activity at UK film festivals that have an international or UK-wide reach and profile, enhancing opportunities for the UK film industry nationally and internationally, as well as increasing audience choice. New festivals will not be supported under this strand.

How to apply

From 1 April 2017, the BFI will be making all audience facing awards under a new single Audience Fund. This will replace all existing audience funds, including the Film Festival Fund, the Distribution Fund, the Programme Development Fund and BFI Neighbourhood Cinema.

If you are seeking support for your festival that takes place before 1 September 2017, please use the existing Film Festival Fund application form and guidelines below.

If your festival takes place after 1 September 2017, you will need to use the new application form and guidelines following the launch of the new fund on 1 April.

Prior to making an application please read the BFI’s 2022 strategy and in particular note our priority audiences.

Before applying to the Film Festival Fund please read the guidelines for applicants below. These guidelines, and related templates, supersede all previous versions and the Film Festival Fund overview. Please ensure you use the correct documents for your application.


To make an application to the Film Festival Fund please proceed to the application form below. You will need to either sign in with your existing account details or create a new account login if this is your first application using our online system.

Film Festival Fund Application Form

To continue with an in-progress application, log in to your account by clicking on the following link:

Account login

You will also need to complete the following templates and include these with your application:




Contacting us and FAQ

Please refer to the frequently asked questions before contacting the Film Festival Fund team, as these may help answer your queries. If you still have a query after reading the FAQ and all the related documents, then please use the contact form to contact us.

Read more

Read more

Read more

Back to the top