BFI’s five-year strategy addresses Europe
by Naman Ramachandran
- £500 million plan to devolve outside London, look to the future and enhance diversity
The British Film Institute’s (BFI) recently announced BFI2022, a £500 million five-year strategic plan has squarely looked at Europe, with Brexit impending. “We know that ensuring the best possible outcome for film following the upheaval of the European referendum will be a major priority for the BFI, one which will entail new resource and expertise, as well as renewed energy to flourish in markets outside the EU,” the plan states.
The plan will support the growth of independent film production beyond London, through the introduction of BFI Regional Production funds, citing “a combination of declining access to finance and limited opportunities through the European structural funds, and the greater pressure on our funds across a broad range of material,” as one of the reasons for this.
The BFI will work to get the best possible deal for the screen sector during the process of leaving the EU. It will also “Sustain strong partnerships working within Europe to benefit UK screen sectors through working with our European Film Agency counterparts on active EU policy negotiations and making the case for the UK’s continued membership of Creative Europe,” and “Put in place a new advocacy plan for the European Parliament, in order to ensure key MEPs understand the value that the UK screen sectors bring to the rest of Europe.”
Elsewhere, by 2022 the BFI hopes to have “Increased the diversity of audiences and talent supported across all BFI activities,” and prioritise “Future Audiences, Future Learning and Skills, and Future Talent.” In keeping with the new digital landscape that is disrupting traditional modes of distribution, the BFI will also explore new and flexible approaches to funding filmmaking not necessarily destined for the cinema, where the form may also include episodic, hour long or other non-feature length work, a greater variety of animation and digital work, and narrative filmmaking on other platforms including immersive and interactive work.
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI said, “There is one word at the heart of this strategy: future. We will be supporting filmmakers so they are free to experiment and innovate for the future of the medium, opening doors to a future that includes greater opportunities for a diverse generation of individuals to find their voice in the industry; expanding the circle of decision-makers so that the energy behind the current success of film radiates across the whole of the UK.”