Some 37 members of staff face redundancy
The British Film Institute has announced its first proposals for the future of the org since it took over most of the duties handled by the now-shuttered U.K. Film Council.Org, which culture minister Ed Vaizey confirmed on Nov. 29 will administer some £27 million ($43 million) allocated annually for film from the national lottery fund, unveiled its key proposals Thursday, including an “ambitious digital modernization strategy.” That strategy includes ramping up investment in digital capability, making the delivery of its services more efficient and a plan to grow income and increase public access to the BFI Collections. About 35 staff members will be laid off at the org, which is already looking at a 15% slash in its funding over the next four years as well as escalating utilities and pension costs across the board. The BFI Library, presently located in Stephen Street in London, will move to the BFI Southbank to be closer to auds, other cultural and education programs and the BFI Mediatheque. A bespoke facility will be created at the BFI National Archive, where collections are physically held. And a digital on-demand service is planned at the BFI Southbank that will allow desktop delivery of the collections. Plan is to eventually offer similar services at BFI Mediatheques around Blighty. It is also aiming to increase the number of people across the U.K. and internationally who can engage with the BFI’s public program and film culture. It said digital technologies will play a “critical” part in this effort, and it “proposes renewing infrastructure and investing in new skills.” And it will establish a research center for academics and film industryites — all this with plans to keep a sharp eye on its budget and spending. BFI is also creating a new post of director of BFI public programs, who will lead a team of programmers across cinemas, fests, distribution, digital and print. Amanda Nevill, director of the BFI, said in a statement: “It is imperative the BFI builds on its successes and remains commercially astute in this tough new environment. We have an incredible opportunity in the months and years ahead to create something very special for film in the U.K. and these proposals are both bold and necessary.” If proposals are approved in a staff consultation, they will take effect in March.