Funding for Film Exhibition

Information on where you can seek funding for film festivals, cinemas, film clubs, and film distribution including funding from Screen Scotland and from other sources.

On this page, learn where you can seek funding for film festivals, cinemas, film clubs, and film distribution, including funding from Screen Scotland and from other sources.

Screen Scotland – National Lottery Film Festival & Screening Programme Fund

This fund will support organisations who are looking to produce film festivals and screening programmes in Scotland for a public audience.

The fund aims to increase the reach, impact and diversity of film events for communities throughout Scotland. Activities should increase engagement within audience groups that are currently underrepresented in independent cinema audiences.

This fund is for those that have previous experience of running events and who know their audience well.

Read more about this fund: National Lottery Film Festival and Screening Programme Fund  | Screen Scotland 


Film Hub Scotland

Film Hub Scotland is supported by Screen Scotland and the British Film Institute (BFI) to support the film exhibition sector in Scotland.

They have various funding opportunities including the Exhibition Fund which offers up to £10,000. This fund will support exhibitors to deliver audience development activity that addresses one or more of the BFI and FAN priority outcomes, in line with the BFI’s Screen Culture 2033 strategy.

They also have other funding for specific purposes, such disability access or children and youth activities. You can read more about their current funding opportunities on the Film Hub Scotland website.

You must be a member of Film Hub Scotland to apply for funding, however membership is free - learn more about how to apply.

If you are showing films to public audiences in Scotland, we recommend joining Film Hub as a member whether you intend to apply for funding or not as they also offer a range of free training, professional development days, social and networking opportunities.


National Lottery – Awards for All Scotland

The purpose of this fund is to support community led projects which encourage social connection and can help progress communities towards healthier, happier lives and encourage a flourishing society. Arts activities can apply for up to £10,000. 

Read more about this opportunity: National Lottery Awards for All Scotland | The National Lottery Community Fund

Please note, you can not apply to both the Film Festival & Screening Programme Fund and Awards for All for the same activity. You can however apply to each fund for different activities by the same organisation.


British Film Institute (BFI) – Audience Fund

The BFI’s Audience Fund offers Project and Organisational Funding for activity that will help them to meet the BFI priorities and has a national scope or significance.   

Project awards will support nationally significant proposals with cultural ambition where the funded activity will grow priority audiences, offer greater choice and meet the fund objectives. Organisational awards to support proposals that enable organisations with proven sector experience to offer a range of year-round activity that meets the outlined objectives. 


Regional Screen Scotland

Regional Screen Scotland is supported by Screen Scotland to run the Screen Machine, but also to provide support for those interested starting and operating cinemas, community cinemas, and film clubs outside of the key urban areas of Scotland and in areas that don’t already have cinema provision.

They offer advice and a variety of useful resources to help you get started or expand your activities. They also commission research and their past studies could help you make the case for your activity to funders and partners.

Occasionally, Regional Screen Scotland distribute funding to film clubs, community cinemas and film exhibition networks. Keep an eye on their website for future opportunities.   


Cinema For All  

Cinema For All is the UK wide charity for the support and development of community cinema, helping more than 1600 community cinemas and film societies across the UK.

As well as offering a film booking service, they also offer advice and support, as well as providing a range of additional services and benefits for their members. They also operate the My Community Cinema initiative

Occasionally, Cinema for All offer funding for community cinemas and film clubs - keep an eye on their website for future opportunities.


Screen Scotland Distribution Fund 

This fund is different from the opportunities above because it is only open to film distributors or film producers.

To apply to this fund, you should have a distribution plan for a single, feature length, Scottish film and be aiming to reach Scottish audiences. The fund can be used towards optimising your release to ensure that the film reaches under-served audiences in Scotland. You should be able to prove market interest in your film in your application.

Primarily designed for distributors, the fund is open to producers who have already tried and failed to secure a distributor. In that case, the film should have a specific Scottish or other social interest value, and the producer should be able to prove market interest in other ways.

Read more about this fund: Distribution Fund | Screen Scotland


Which opportunity is right for you?

If you are:

  • starting out with a community cinema activity
  • looking for on-going support for your film club
  • a new festival without a track record with your audience
  • planning a one-off screening
  • looking to try out an idea

We suggest you speak to:

  • Film Hub
  • Regional Screen Scotland, and/or
  • Cinema for All

They will be able to discuss your options with you.


Alternatively, if:

  • you already know that your idea works
  • your idea already has a proven audience
  • you can evidence that your activity is needed and wanted by the audience you intend it for
  • the activity is distinctive within Scotland

Then you should: consider the Screen Scotland Film Festival & Screening Programme Fund.


If you:

  • have well-established activity and/or a strong track record with your audience
  • are working at a national level (Scotland wide or UK wide)

You should: consider the BFI Audiences Fund.


If you:

  • are seeking support or advice regarding distribution for a single feature film (fiction or documentary)

You can: contact us to discuss the Distribution Fund.  

If you wish to apply to a Screen Scotland fund we recommend that new applicants contact us before they apply. You can request a meeting by emailing [email protected].


Other sources of information

Other places you can find useful information about funding and fundraising for cinema activity include: