The BFI unveils new filmmaking fund

The new fund is a pillar of the organisation’s 10-year strategy with £54m over three years dedicated to filmmaking

By Nia Daniels 21 Mar 2023

The BFI unveils new filmmaking fund
BFI Southbank. Credit: BFI

The BFI National Lottery Filmmaking Fund is now open, with £36.6m allocated over three years for fiction feature films UK-wide. 

The support package is broken down into four new, focused funds: Development; Creative Challenge – funding labs; Discovery - backing debuts; and Impact – for second features and beyond. There will also be £17.4m for documentary, shorts, talent development and immersive projects. 

The new fund priorities have been laid out as follows: 

• Equity, diversity and inclusion: addressing under-representation in perspective and representation, talent and recruitment, agency and opportunities, widening the range of voices and audiences served.

• Impact and audience: supporting projects with a strong cultural or progressive impact for audiences.

• Talent development and progression: supporting early career filmmakers (producers, writers and directors) and projects with a reasonable proportion of early career cast and crew.

• Risk: supporting projects that take creative risks.

• UK-wide: increasing the number of projects and filmmakers outside London and the South East, looking at location and representation.

• Environmental sustainability: addressing sustainability both creatively and practically.

The BFI has also published its inclusion targets, as of April 2023: 

• Disability* 18%

• Ethnically diverse (London) 40% 

• Ethnically diverse (outside London) 30%

• Gender 50% 

• (50–50 balance of male and female identifying within the gender binary)

• LGBTQIA+ 10% 

• (including those identifying outside the gender binary)

• Working class background 39%

Mia Bays, director of the BFI National Lottery Filmmaking Fund, said: “National Lottery good cause funding has supported film since 1994, and continues to play a crucial role in the UK independent film landscape. Through our support we aim to benefit people’s lives across the UK, serving the public, the filmmaking community and wider culture both at home and away. This guiding principle has seen the fund team back a rich and varied slate that celebrates a multitude of voices and achieves significant audience reach and cultural impact.

“The UK has world-class indie filmmakers and the Filmmaking Fund launched today firmly seeks to support them and nurture those who will be part of shaping its future. In response to evidence, listening to the industry, and building on past achievements, we are setting out a strategy that is re-focused and clear about our ambition to support projects to have the greatest possible impact with audiences and on the careers of filmmakers, which speak to communities underrepresented in UK film previously. 

“We are all navigating a reality, post pandemic, of challenging conditions which require a pragmatic approach. Informed by my own 30-year experience across the sector and working closely with the filmmaking fund team, we are committed to doing as much as we can with the funding available in fair, focused, transparent and mindful ways.”

The new BFI Filmmaking Fund is a pillar of the organisation’s 10-year strategy, Screen Culture 2033, which set out a commitment to support UK independent filmmaking, with £54m over three years dedicated to filmmaking. 

Recent features to have been supported by the BFI include the critically-acclaimed Aftersun, Blue Jean (pictured, above) and Rye Lane. 

Blue Jean image: © Blue Jean Productions Ltd, BBC, The British Film Institute 2022. 


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