The British Film Institute (BFI) launched a new £630,000 ($825,000) Film Audience Network exhibition fund on Monday in order to “support dynamic cultural programming and activities to engage diverse audiences.”
Exhibitors around the U.K. will be able to apply for up to £10,000 ($13,100) in order to reengage with audiences who are now slowly returning to cinemas after a coronavirus-enforced lockdown that lasted months. The fund is part of a larger U.K. government support package for the arts that was announced in July that includes a £30 million ($39.2 million) recovery fund for independent cinemas.
The exhibition fund is designed to enable film organizations across the U.K. to deliver a broad range of programming and also incentivizing exhibitors to embed inclusion and environmental sustainability into their approach to reopening, post shut down. The fund is open till Sept. 30.
The Institute’s flagship venue BFI Southbank is set for a Sept. 1 reopening with stringent safety measures.
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“We know the best place to watch film is on the big screen, but the U.K.’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,” Ben Luxford, BFI’s head of U.K. Audiences, said. “Our wealth of film exhibitors can be 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 U.K.”
In April, the BFI launched a £1.3 million ($1.7 million) resilience fund for exhibitors in critical need as they faced months of closures. Some 130 exhibitors were given grants ranging from £415 ($543) to £23,000 ($30,076) each.
The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) was established in 2012 to build wider and more diverse U.K. cinema audiences for British and international film. It comprises eight hubs managed by leading film organizations and venues around the country.