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British Film Institute Unveils New 10-Year Plan, Including $153 Million Three-Year Funding Strategy

BFI/Luke Hayes

The British Film Institute (BFI), the U.K.’s lead organization for film and the moving image, has set out a new, wide-ranging 10-year strategy along with a funding plan that covers the period’s first three years.

The Screen Culture 2033 strategy, which will see the BFI through to its centenary in 2033, has six major ambitions. As part of this, the BFI aims to transform its relationship with U.K. audiences and become known as an open house for the discovery of screen storytelling; advocate for the full breadth of screen culture, including video games and interactive work; and create a cutting-edge screen archive of the future.

In addition, the BFI aims to be digital-first in delivering cultural programming through streamer BFI+; champion screen culture in school curricula, and build a skilled and sustainable workforce that reflects the U.K. population; and support the sector in delivering 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,” the BFI said in a statement.

In the U.K., 2.7% of available proceeds from the national lottery is used to fund films via the BFI. Over the years, lottery-funded films have won 14 Oscars and 32 BAFTAs.

In a new National Lottery Strategy for 2023-2033, the org intends to invest a total of £136.3 million ($153 million), or approximately £45 million a year, of lottery money over the first three years of the 10-year strategy period. Of this, £54 million is earmarked for filmmakers; £34.2 million across education and skills, which will go some way to address the U.K.’s dire skills shortage; £27.6 million for audience development; £10 million for screen heritage work; £7.3 million across innovation and industry services; and £3.2 million for international activity.

Both the 10-year strategy and three-year funding plan will operate with three core principles: equity, diversity and inclusion; a U.K.-wide remit; and environmental sustainability.

U.K. Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan, who started in the role earlier this month, said: “For many people around the world, our 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 U.K. is a great place to make film, television and video games in the future.”

BFI chair Tim Richards, who is also the CEO of European cinema chain Vue, added: “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 U.K. truly reflects our vibrant and diverse population. Our role in creating the right conditions for the economic growth and cultural development and appreciation of U.K. screen culture throughout our past, present and for the future has never been more important.”

BFI chief executive Ben Roberts added: “With Screen Culture 2033 we want to transform the way in which people can access our programs, appreciate screen culture and gain skills and jobs across the U.K. We will generate wider access to our world-class collections and programs, including through an expansion of our digital platforms.

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.”

Variety's Naman Ramachandran contributed to this post.

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