BFI and The Uggla Family Foundation announce new partnership to expand digital access to screen culture

The partnership will enable the evolution of the BFI’s video on demand platform, BFI Player, into a next generation streaming service.

17 January 2024

BFI Player

Today we announce a transformative £1 million partnership with The Uggla Family Foundation that will enable the evolution of the BFI’s video on demand platform, BFI Player, into a next generation streaming service, provisionally called BFI+. This cornerstone funding will help the BFI to become digital-first and transform the public’s access to film, television and the moving image, underpinned by its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and realising a key aspect of its 10-year vision, Screen Culture 2033

BFI+ will revolutionise access to the BFI’s expertly curated programming, broadening its reach both in the UK and internationally and its content offer with: 

  • Increased availability on a greater range of mobile and smart TV devices, through the creation of new apps and third-party channels 
  • A wider range of films from new UK voices, subscription exclusives and some of the best independent cinema from around the world  
  • Short films from new and emerging filmmaking talent showcased in the BFI Future Film Festival  
  • Exclusive editorial content, tapping into the BFI’s unique relationship with on and off-screen talent, established strength in quality film journalism, and its deep knowledge and collections

Beyond the widened reach of BFI+, the BFI’s collaboration with The Uggla Family Foundation represents an innovative model for philanthropy which will see the commercial profits from BFI+ re-invested in the charitable activities of the BFI. An area of focus, at the intersection of both the BFI and the Foundation’s work, will be skills and workforce development, with funding for young people from under-supported or under-represented communities.

The partnership will fund apprenticeships at the BFI which will support its work across many areas including archiving techniques, cinema projection and events. The partnership will also enrich the BFI’s current skills and education programmes, which include the BFI Film Academy, the BFI Future Film Festival and its work with higher education institutions offering film and television and media studies courses in the UK.  

“We are delighted that the Uggla Family Foundation shares our vision and are hugely grateful for their support and partnership,” said Neil Williams, BFI Executive Director Digital and Transformation. “Our mantra at the BFI is that ‘society needs stories’. By taking our much-loved streaming service to the next level we have an extraordinary opportunity to share a wealth of screen stories from the UK and around the world with a great many more people. The foundation’s support for our expansion of BFI Player will not only showcase more great films to wider audiences, but also help those looking to develop a career in film.” 

Cassidy Uggla, Trustee, Uggla Family Foundation said: “We are very excited to be partnering with the BFI on this key initiative and to support them in their mission to transform public access to film and television. This project will not only allow us to expand the reach of the BFI but also deliver upward mobility and inclusion through the re-investment of profits into charitable and educational activities. The Uggla Family Foundation looks forward to continued collaboration with the BFI to support BFI Player in reaching its full potential.” 

As a cultural charity, the support of patrons, donors, sponsors, partners, in-kind supporters, trusts and foundations is of huge value to the work of the BFI. It helps to support creativity and the next generation of our industry, offer the widest range of screen culture, protect our film and television heritage, and use the BFI’s knowledge to educate and deepen public appreciation and understanding of film, television and the moving image. There are many ways to support the BFI and many projects that need support.

Screen Culture is the meeting point of audio-visual storytelling and the digital revolution. It has become the defining cultural phenomenon of our time and is hugely influential in society. Screen Culture 2033 is the BFI’s 10-year strategy, it sets out how the BFI will advance its knowledge, collections, programmes, National Lottery funding and leadership, to build a diverse UK screen culture that benefits all of society and contributes to a prosperous economy.