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BFI’s New £2m Lottery Film Fund Offers Lifeline for Audience Development

Date posted: 13.04.2011

The BFI has announced a new Transitional Lottery Film Fund to support organisations across the UK dedicated to delivering audience development activities for specialised and British film.

With a new film strategy and funding priorities planned to take effect in 2012, the £2million fund will provide financial support in this transitional year for organisations such as independent cinemas, film festivals, film clubs and societies, arts centres and regional archives.

This fund aims to enable them to continue their vital work in delivering film to audiences. At the same time, the fund is designed to give organisations stability and continuity to cope not only with challenging finances, but also with structural change in public funding across film.

Peter Buckingham, Head of Distribution and Exhibition (Lottery) at the BFI said: "It is critical that we ensure that audiences don't suffer as a result of this transition period and that we enable film organisations to survive, and indeed continue to thrive, for the long term growth and development of film in the UK".

The announcement comes on the back of the recent handover of responsibilities to the BFI and Film London from the devolved UK Film Council, in which the BFI became the UK's lead Lottery distributor for film.

The BFI remit now includes providing funding for film development and production, distribution (the P&A Fund), training and education through Skillset and First Light. It also takes on the strategic partnerships for film across the nations and funding in the English regions. The BFI will be responsible for UK film certification, which is the gateway to the UK film tax credit, and the MEDIA Desk UK, while Film London takes on responsibility of globally promoting the UK as the best place to make films through the British Film Commission.

To manage their new responsibilities, the BFI has strengthened its board, with BFI Chair Greg Dyke confirming five new Governors drawn from all sectors of the industry.

Representing a dynamic, hugely talented and diverse range of expertise they include: Josh Berger, the President and Managing Director, Warner Bros. Entertainment UK, Ireland and Spain; former MP and Cabinet Minister Rt. Hon James Purnell; BAFTA®-winning director and founder of FILMCLUB, Beeban Kidron (Bridget Jones, Edge of Reason); former Film London board member Lisbeth Savill, Head of Film and Television Practice at Olswang; and Matthew Justice, Film and TV producer and Managing Director of Big Talk.

The new Governors took up their posts from 1 April, replacing three retiring Governors, Eric Fellner, Caroline Michel and Peter Watson, plus two vacant posts. The BFI also welcomed 38 new colleagues from the UK Film Council, ensuring a seamless transition and continuity across all activities.

The Transitional Fund will go live in early May 2011 and give organisations one month in which to apply for the funding. Applicants will need to demonstrate that their funding for core activities has been significantly reduced or withdrawn for the financial year 2011-12, and as a result are unable to deliver to audiences.

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