BFI chair Tim Richards and chief executive Ben Roberts have published Screen Culture 2033, the BFI’s new 10-year strategy signalling a fresh approach to benefitting the public and industry through to its landmark centenary in 2033.
This new vision sets out how the UK’s lead organisation for film and the moving image will transform access to its unique and valuable collections, cultural and education programmes, and use policy and research work, alongside a new BFI National Lottery Strategy and Funding Plan to build a diverse and accessible screen culture that benefits all of society and contributes to a prosperous UK economy.
Screen Culture 2033 comprises six major ambitions which will see the BFI:
- transform its relationship with audiences across the UK and become known as an open house to all for the discovery of screen storytelling;
- advocate for the value of the full breadth of screen culture including video games and interactive work;
- create a screen archive of the future that is the most open in the world;
- be digital-first in delivering cultural programmes through BFI+, the next generation streaming service, expanding reach and access for all;
- championing screen culture in school curricula; and build a skilled and sustainable workforce that reflects the UK population; and
address where the sector needs support in delivering public benefit most through its National Lottery funding, policy work and evidence.
To achieve all of this the BFI will work to become more financially resilient in its approach, building on its charitable and commercial income.
Working in unison with Screen Culture 2033, the new BFI National Lottery Strategy 2023-2033 will guide how it will invest approximately £45 million a year of National Lottery ‘good cause’ funding over the first three years of the 10-year strategy period by prioritising:
- £54 million for filmmakers
- £34.2 million across education and skills
- £27.6 million for audience development
- £10 million for screen heritage work
- £7.3 million across innovation and industry services
- £3.2 million for international activity
At the heart of Screen Culture 2033 and the BFI National Lottery Strategy are three core principles which both guide the BFI’s own activities and cut across every area to be supported by National Lottery funding. These are: equity, diversity and inclusion, so everyone can develop a meaningful relationship with screen culture, regardless of their background or circumstances; UK-wide, so that everyone across the four nations of the UK should be able to experience and create the widest range of moving image storytelling; and environmental sustainability, from reducing the BFI’s own carbon emissions to supporting wider industry efforts to get to net zero.
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “As the BFI looks towards its centenary, I’m delighted to see its vision is to open up more of its collections, boost people’s skills and help generate growth in the UK’s cutting-edge and globally renowned screen industries.
“For many people around the world, British TV and film is our calling card. At home, it creates jobs and helps us see and tell the stories of our lives. Alongside our work in government, this long-term plan will help ensure the UK is a great place to make film, television and video games in the future.”
BFI chair Tim Richards, said: “As a cultural charity, a distributor of National Lottery ‘good cause’ funding we see the societal benefits of screen culture and the vital contribution it makes to the UK economy. The ambitions we lay out in Screen Culture 2033 – which will take the BFI to its centenary – and the BFI National Lottery Strategy, aim to expand opportunities for creators, audiences, educators and industry to ensure the screen culture produced and consumed in the UK truly reflects our vibrant and diverse population. Our role in creating the right conditions for the economic growth and cultural development and appreciation of UK screen culture throughout our past, present and for the future has never been more important.”
BFI chief executive Ben Roberts, said: “Most of us experience or contribute to screen culture – through film, TV, online video, extended reality and video games – in our daily lives. It informs and defines us, and continues to grow as an art form and a creative industry.
“With Screen Culture 2033 we want to transform the way in which people can access our programmes, appreciate screen culture and gain skills and jobs across the UK. We will generate wider access to our world-class collections and programmes, including through an expansion of our digital platforms.
“And we have designed our new National Lottery strategy and funding plan in response to what we have heard during open consultation in developing UK-wide benefits and the value of partnerships. At a time when economic pressures are affecting people’s lives and industry resilience, our commitment to deliver against the National Lottery’s Good Causes mandate has never been more important.
“Screen culture isn’t standing still and neither are we.”
Screen Culture 2033
Although the first moving images were created over 100 years ago, screen culture remains young, dynamic and expanding. Today it presents a wider screen landscape that encompasses film, television, digital media, extended reality (XR) and video games. It has become the dominant means of communication, information and storytelling for Gen Z and beyond.
As an industry, the UK screen sector is also a large and fast-growing employer incorporating a huge range of skills to produce and distribute vibrant forms of entertainment for UK and international audiences, making a significant contribution to the UK economy. Since publication of the BFI 2022 strategy in 2017, the UK’s screen industries have more than doubled in size. Film and high-end television production spend in the UK alone has boomed from £2.2 billion in 2017 to £5.6 billion last year and is projected to reach £7.3 billion by 2025.
Screen Culture 2033 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.
BFI National Lottery Strategy 2023-2033
The 10-year BFI National Lottery Strategy 2023-2033 has been developed over a 13-month period benefitting from UK-wide public and sector consultation and online events hosted from 14 cities across the UK. It has also been informed by the evaluation of funds from BFI2022 and targeted BFI research including the recently published Skills Review and the Economic Review of UK Independent Film. Out of this strategy, the first three-year BFI National Lottery Funding Plan runs from 2023-2026 guiding our BFI National Lottery funding decisions. Subsequent future funding plans will be published to cover the 10 year period.
The strategy honed four key objectives in addition to the three cross-cutting principles, plus a range of outcomes which together are designed to drive change and deliver benefits for all of society and for the screen sector UK-wide. These are:
· Experiencing screen culture – so everyone can experience a great range of screen culture;
· Creativity and storytelling – so anyone from first-time creators to world-class professionals can create screen stories;
· A UK screen sector workforce that is skilled and reflects the population;
· Independents and cultural organisations are supported to achieve success in a changing economic and cultural landscape.
BFI National Lottery Funding Plan 2023-2026
The first BFI National Lottery Funding Plan will start in April 2023 and cover the first three years of the strategy. Subsequent funding plans will allow the BFI to respond to a dynamic and fast-growing sector and adapt funds and programmes as screen culture evolves.
The BFI receives 2.7% of available National Lottery funding which for the first BFI National Lottery Funding Plan, 2023-2026, will amount to approximately £45 million a year, or £135 million over the first three years. The terms for how the BFI awards National Lottery ‘good cause’ funding to deliver benefit to the UK public is set out in policy directions established by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and enshrined in legislation.
National Lottery funding has played a transformative role in the UK’s screen sectors. It has nurtured filmmakers and creative risk-takers, helped develop the UK’s world-class workforce, inspired children and young people, and connected audiences to a more diverse screen culture – all in ways that the commercial market alone cannot deliver.
Over the next 10 years, the BFI wants to build on this legacy, expand on the opportunities for growth and explore new avenues for audience participation and creativity in the screen sector. Working in partnership was highlighted throughout the consultation phase as essential for delivering on UK-wide growth and sustainability objectives over the next 10 years. Through collaboration, the BFI will ensure all National Lottery funded activity draws on the wide-ranging knowledge and experience of people in every part of the country and responds to the needs of the regions and devolved nations of the UK.
From 2023-2026, the first funding plan will provide support for a range of programmes:
- £54 million for filmmakers to enable the creation of original screen work from first-time creators to world-class professionals through the BFI National Lottery Filmmaking Fund; and also supporting talent development through the BFI NETWORK with national and regional partnerships to improve routes into the industry for new and emerging filmmaking talent. This strand of funding will also support a new BFI National Lottery Creative Challenge Fund to encourage risk-taking creative storytelling.
- £34.2 million across education and skills includes funding for a BFI Teaching with Film programme enabling teachers to used film and moving image in the classroom and a careers and progression programme to deliver quality screen sector careers and guidance for children and young people to enter the industry. A BFI Young Creatives filmmaking programme for 11-16 year-olds will be delivered in community venues as well as education spaces.
Funding for the BFI Film Academy will ensure that young people aged 16-25 years have the chance to build their knowledge and understanding of the industry, develop their skills, and help many to gain roles in the industry, ultimately helping to support the UK workforce talent pipeline.
BFI National Lottery Skills Clusters funding will support local industry, education and training providers and other screen organisations across the UK to take the lead on skills and training in their area. A new BFI National Lottery Skills Fund will deliver a range of skills and training interventions for both people looking to break into the sector, and those already working in it including bursaries to help people from underrepresented groups access training, a new HR toolkit for productions, and programmes to help people build leadership skills and develop their businesses.
- £27.6 million for audience development includes a BFI National Lottery Audience Project Fund to support the work of distributors and exhibitors working across independent film and XR; funding for the work of BFI Film Audience Network across the nations and regions to boost public and community access to screen culture; and a new BFI National Lottery Open Cinemas initiative aiming to offer free screenings in independent cinemas.
- £10 million for screen heritage work including a BFI National Lottery Screen Heritage Fund to support significant screen heritage collections in taking screen heritage available to the public, developing specialised moving image preservation and restoration skills and better representing the UK’s diverse communities. Funding of £2.1 million covers the final year of Heritage 2022 programme due to conclude in December 2023 due to delays induced by the pandemic.
- £7.3 million across innovation and industry services includes a BFI National Lottery Places Fund to help areas outside of London develop strategies for supporting their local screen sectors and a new BFI National Lottery Innovation Challenge Fund to help not-for-profit organisations tackle some of the sector’s biggest challenges facing the sector today through the testing, development and delivery of new solutions. Funding for BFI Production Support Services will support international and domestic production across the regions of England, complementing work in the nations. This will help all parts of the UK feel the benefits of production in terms of jobs and growth. BFI National Lottery Sustainable Screen support will help National Lottery recipients, as well as the wider sector to measure and minimise environmental impact. The BFI National Lottery Research & Statistics Fund will continue to provide insight and evidence supporting screen culture and sector development and growth.
- £3.2 million for international activity includes a BFI National Lottery International Connections Fund to support UK screen professionals developing cultural and commercial collaborations by participating in international co-production forums and festivals. It will also support the UK’s international market initiative, We Are UK Film which promotes the UK screen sector, across film, video games, XR, animation and documentary, to industry professionals around the world. This international funding complements UK Global Screen Fund (UKGSF) – administered by the BFI and funded directly by the DCMS with £21 million over three years – designed to boost international business development, production and distribution opportunities for the UK’s independent screen sector.More information on each of these funds and programmes will be published in the coming weeks and months at bfi.org.uk/funding-industry
You can read Screen Culture 2033, the BFI National Lottery Strategy 2023-2033 and the BFI National Lottery Funding Plan 2023-2026 at bfi.org.uk/screenculture