BFI FAN: Film Exhibition Fund

The BFI announces the BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund opening today, with funding from Screen Scotland and the National Lottery via the BFI available to exhibitors across Scotland, delivered by Film Hub Scotland.

The new Fund will support activity to re-engage audiences with collective, big screen film experiences at film festivals, mixed arts venues, and both community and traditional cinemas. As part of a comprehensive package of support for film exhibitors – including the Government’s £30m Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England launched last week – the Film Exhibition Fund will support dynamic cultural programming and activities to engage diverse audiences.

BFI FAN is a unique collaboration of eight Film Hubs managed by leading film organisations across the UK, who will each distribute the funding in their region or nation. This BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund will enable FAN Members to deliver a broad range of programming once they restart, ensuring excellent British and international independent cinema is available to audiences all over the UK. Other priorities of the Fund are incentivising exhibitors to embed inclusion and environmental sustainability into their approach to reopening, post shut down.

An image of a cinema screen inside a grand theatre - the screen is showing a black and white movie. The image is overlaid with text that reads 'FAN Film Fund Exhibition Fund: Apply Now.' The Screen Scotland, Film Hub Scotland and BFI logos are positioned on the bottom left.

Ben Luxford, BFI’s Head of UK Audiences, said: “We know the best place to watch film is on the big screen, but the UK’s many indie venues and smaller exhibitors also serve as vital cultural spaces where audiences can connect with their local community, make new and surprising discoveries and be inspired by this most accessible art form in a communal setting. With the generous support of Government and National Lottery, our wealth of film exhibitors are in a position to restart activity, and this funding is there to support them – to continue being brave with their programming choices and to best serve audiences wherever they live in the UK.”

Sambrooke Scott, Head of Audience Development at Screen Scotland, said: "As cinemas begin to reopen it's vital that Scottish venues are given the best opportunity to return to full strength. As part of the support measures being put in place The Film Exhibition Fund provides a clear, targeted opportunity which will help restart venues through new programming and reengaging audiences."

Thanks to the support of Government and National Lottery funding through the BFI, many independent cinemas have been able to survive the shutdown which hit arts and cultural venues badly and with immediate impact. The BFI FAN Resilience Fund opened in April offering £1.3m in emergency funding to exhibitors in critical need as they continued to face months of closure and uncertainty, awarding 130 FAN Members grants ranging from £415 to £23,000 each.

The Government’s £30m Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England is now open, providing funding to cover COVID-related health and safety costs, and grants to support independent cinemas operate under the restricted conditions and at limited capacity due to social distancing measures. The UK Government has also provided funding to support cinemas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which will be managed by the devolved Government administrations.

As part of the industry-wide BFI Screen Sector Task Force, the UK Cinema Association led on publishing guidance on the safe operation of cinemas and mobile cinemas. Working safely during COVID-19 in cinemas, which is regularly updated to meet the latest government guidance, is produced in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The BFI put in place a package of support for individuals, organisations and businesses across the sector that have been most impacted by COVID-19 (including the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund, Production Continuation Fund, Sales Company Organisational Fund and COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund with The Film & TV Charity for freelancers) and through the BFI Screen Sector Task Force, it continues to work with industry and Government to develop and implement a robust, sector-wide strategy for recovery.

A number of significant initiatives have resulted from the work of the Screen Sector Task Force, including the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England; a Government funded scheme to support independent film and television production struggling to get coronavirus-related insurance; creating guidance for film and television production to restart and cinemas to reopen, both given the greenlight by Government and Public Health England; and the quarantine exemption for film and high-end television cast and crew.

For exhibitors wishing to apply for the fund, visit:

More about the BFI Film Audience Network

Supported by National Lottery funding, the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), is central to the BFI’s aim to ensure the greatest choice of film is available for everyone. Established in 2012 to build wider and more diverse UK cinema audiences for British and international film, FAN is a unique, UK-wide collaboration made up of eight Hubs managed by leading film organisations and venues strategically placed around the country. FAN also supports talent development with BFI NETWORK Talent Executives in each of the English Hubs, with a mission to discover and support talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers.

About the BFI

During the COVID-19 pandemic the BFI has provided a package of measures worth over £5m to support the film sector including funding for productions that have had to halt before completion; a resilience fund for festivals and exhibitors; a contribution to the COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund for freelancers; a sales company support fund; and funding flexibility for its partners and projects.

The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a distributor of National Lottery funding and a cultural and education charity

About Film Hub Scotland

As part of the BFI's Film Audience Network, Film Hub Scotland is one of eight Hubs set up across the UK to extend film choice, increase and broaden film audiences, and enhance opportunities for audiences to engage with and learn about film. FHS supports a network of film exhibitors – from film societies to multiplexes – to work together to better serve Scotland's diverse population. FHS provides Hub members with a range of funding opportunities, screening programmes, training, networking events and audience research.

Film Hub Scotland is led by Glasgow Film, funded by BFI and Screen Scotland.

About the National Lottery

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million of funding has been made available to support communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.

The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times.

By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

About the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund

The Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund is the biggest ever one-off investment in Britain’s world-class culture, arts and heritage institutions.  It aims to help organisations to help weather the impact of coronavirus by staying afloat while their doors are closed, safeguarding the sector for future generations and support their employees whilst they are closed.  The UK’s world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are critical to keeping our economy thriving and employ more than 700,000 people.