UK Film Audience Policy 2010 – 2018

  • May 2010: UK General Election – Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition forms a government after a hung parliament. Jeremy Hunt appointed Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport and Ed Vaizey as Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DCMS).
  • July 2010: DCMS announces the abolishment of the UK Film Council (UKFC).
  • March 2011: DCMS abolishes the UKFC and expands the remit of the BFI to take on the UKFC’s former activities.
  • April 2011: BFI becomes the UK’s ‘lead agency for film’ and begins funding former UKFC activities in the 2011/2012 financial year, including the final year’s funding for the Regional Screen Agencies (RSA) and the first annual funding for Creative England.
  • May 2011: DCMS announces the formation of the ‘Film Policy Review Panel’ (FPRP) to be led by Chris Smith to conduct a major review of government film policy.
  • June 2011: DCMS establishes Creative England. a new nationwide body which replaced the existing RSAs – EM Media, Film London, North West Vision, Northern Film & Media, Screen East, Screen South, Screen West Midlands, Screen Yorkshire and South West Screen – as the recipient of government funding for the screen industries in the English regions. Most of the RSAs are closed, with the exception of Film London, Northern Film & Media, Screen South and Screen Yorkshire.
  • October 2011: Creative England is officially launched. The new organisation is a support agency for England’s Creative Industries (film, television, games, digital and creative services) outside London and receives DCMS grant-in-aid from the BFI to support the strategic development of film in the English regions.
  • January 2012: The Film Policy Review Panel publishes an independent report for DCMS: ‘A Future for British Film. It begins with the audience…‘. The FPRP recommends a greater focus on developing audiences at a local level whilst acknowledging that ‘…the value of the sector needs to be understood in social and cultural as well as economic terms’. The report also calls for the creation of a new network that should ‘provide direct funding for the co-ordination of clusters of local cinemas and film societies across the Nations and Regions of the UK’.
  • October 2012: BFI announces its ‘Film Forever’ (2012-2017) strategy. Annual funding is reduced to between £44.7m (2012/13) and £49.8m million (2016/17) per year for the operation of the BFI, including £4 million per year for the ‘Distribution Fund’ (maintaining the level of investment of the UKFC) and £5.5m per year for the ‘Audience Fund’.
  • January 2013: BFI launches the new funding programmes: ‘Audience Fund’ which includes four strands: ‘UK Audience Network’, ‘Programme Development’, ‘Film Festivals’ and ‘Neighbourhood Cinema’. The ‘Distribution Fund’ also includes four strands: ‘Big Audience’, ‘Breakout’, ‘New Models’ and ‘Sleepers’. The UKFC-era ‘Specialised P&A Fund’ is scrapped. The BFI creates the Film Audience Network (FAN), composed of regional and national Film Hubs tasked with helping to ‘bring diverse and engaging film experiences to the widest possible audiences’.
  • January 2014: Film Policy Review Panel publish a second report for DCMS: ‘It’s still about the audience: two years on from the Film Policy Review’.
  • January 2014: The EU MEDIA Programme is subsumed within the newly-established ‘Creative Europe’, which manages both the ‘Culture Sub-Programme’ and the ‘MEDIA Sub-Programme’. The current cycle of the programme (at the time of writing) is 2014-2020 and the MEDIA Sub-Programme has a total budget of €817,600,000 (56 percent of the total €1,460,000,000 Creative Europe funding).
  • November 2016: BFI announces its ‘BFI 2022’ Strategy (2017-2022). ‘BFI 2022’ has a total budget of £488.8 million, which is divided between three ‘Strategic Priority’ funds: (1) ‘Future Audiences’ (£238.8 million), (2) ‘Future Learning & Skills’ (£58.5 million) and (3) ‘Future Talent’ (£140.1 million) and a fourth area, ‘Leadership, Research, Certification & Delivery’ (£51.4 million). The strategy seeks to prioritise ‘new forms’, ‘a sustained commitment to diversity’ and ‘devolving more decision-making and funding to the regions and nations. A key audience development priority is to ‘grow the engagement of 16-30 year olds with British independent and specialised film across all BFI activities by 2022’.
  • April 2017: The BFI Audience Fund (UK Audience Network, Programme Development, Film Festivals, Neighbourhood Cinema) and the BFI Distribution Fund (Big Audience, Breakout, New Models, Sleepers) are abolished and reformed into just two funds, the BFI Audience Fund (with separate ‘organisational’ and ‘project’ awards), and the Film Audience Network.
  • January 2018: BFI streamlines the Film Hubs into eight regional and national hubs (London, Midlands, North, South East, South West, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). In England these are re-drawn to align with the Arts Council England regional boundaries. The North East and North West hubs are combined into a single hub responsible for the whole of northern England and a new Film Hub Midlands is created. The BFI Network, which supports national and regional development and production activities (and is based at the Film Hubs) is also launched. The allocation of small awards (for distribution and exhibition activities) is devolved to the Film Hubs, and small awards (for development and production activities) to the BFI Network. 
  • March 2018: BFI publishes the Mapping Study of EU Funding of the UK Screen Sectors 2007-2017. The report shows that UK screen industries has attracted more than £298m in the previous decade from a range of EU-funded programmes.