BFI launches £4m fund to support UK film festivals

Posted on 28 January 2013

The BFI Film Festival Fund will help boost choice for audiences across the UK, with up to £1m per year available to support regional film festivals and UK festivals with global reach.

The BFI today launches its Film Festival Fund, a key part of its Audience Fund which aims to help boost the film choices available to audiences across the UK – a central strategic priority for the BFI as set out in its five year vision, Film Forever.

The BFI has allocated £1m per year for up to four years (2013-17) to the Film Festival Fund. The fund will support a broad range of film festivals, from those with a local and/or specialised focus that serve specific communities through to UK festivals of national or international significance.

A key part of the UK’s cultural infrastructure, film festivals inspire audiences, artists, filmmakers and professionals alike. As such they have the potential to make a substantial contribution to the BFI’s strategic priorities for developing UK audiences and film talent.

The BFI is keen to support a wide range of festival activity through its Film Festival Fund. It aims to foster greater sustainability within the sector and encourage new initiatives and ideas that incentivise film festivals to work together, and to engage with the film sector more widely through the opportunities offered by the BFI’s UK Audience Network.

There are many film festivals held in the UK each year, ranging in size, ambition, focus and type – all of which, regardless of scale, can make a valuable contribution to the cultural, social and economic environment, both locally and more widely.

Festivals can apply to the BFI’s Film Festival Fund for varying levels of support depending on their scope and scale, with available funding ranging from £5,000 for a small regional festival up to £300,000 for a major festival which can demonstrate substantial international significance. The BFI will contribute around 20% to 50% of the costs of the festival with applicants required to demonstrate the amount of partnership funding they are able to secure (for example through sponsorship, other public or private funding, or earned income).

Through the £1m annual Film Festival Fund (2013-17), the BFI will support two categories of festival:

Strand 1 (c. £500k per year): regional festivals catering principally to local/regional audiences, or with a narrower specialist theme that enables them to reach audiences from further across the UK. These festivals are likely to be smaller in scale, focused on audiences rather than industry, and not generally attracting industry delegation.
Strand 2 (c. £500,000 per year): UK festivals with an international or UK-wide reach and profile, which enhance opportunities for the UK film industry nationally and internationally and help increase audience choice.

The BFI Film Festival Fund is now open for applications from UK-based festivals taking place on or after 1 April 2013. Further information including guidelines for applicants, application forms and FAQs are available here.

BFI launches £4m fund to support UK film festivals