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What does BFI2022 mean for Cinema For All?

What does BFI2022 mean for Cinema For All? A message from Tim Swanwick, Cinema For All Chair of the Board of Trustees.

This week Deborah and I attended the launch of the BFI’s new Five Year Strategy, BFI2022.  This is a significant moment in the history of Cinema For All as around half our income currently flows from the BFI as a result of our strategic partnership with the Institute.  An arrangement that comes to an end on 31st March 2017.

The new strategy is underpinned by a wider interpretation of film to embrace new forms, a sustained commitment to diversity and a series of new initiatives devolving more decision-making and funding outside the capital.  Although the devil is in the detail, the new strategy positions the BFI as an ‘enabler’ and a ‘catalyst for change’ and is built around three themes: Future Audiences, Future Learning and Skills and Future Talent.  The full plan can be found here.

As far as Future Audiences is concerned, the BFI is committed to ensuring that funding and decision making will be shifted out of London through a reshaped Film Hub network.  There will be an emphasis on the 16-30 year old age group and on widening access to film for an increasingly diverse audience.  There are also exciting new developments in relation to restoration, digitisation and major cultural programmes.  But of particular relevance to us is a ‘simpler, more accessible and responsive Audience Fund, able to support distributors, exhibitors, festivals, national and touring programmes, multi-year projects and strategic partners.’  Cinema For All will be applying to this fund next year, an offer which we anticipate will be more flexible in terms of what we can do with the money, but also much more competitive to access. Therefore we must ensure our fundraising efforts increase: new initiatives such as Pay It Forward and support from our members can help this significantly.

Next spring also sees the end of our own three year strategy and over the next 2-3 months we will be consulting with members on how they would like to see Cinema For All develop, serve and represent the growing network of community film exhibitors in future.  It is vital to our future that we are clear about our strategic intent, that we represent the full breadth and depth of the sector and that we move forward in a direction that aligns with BFI2022, not to do so would jeopardise our currently healthy relationship with a major funder.

So a plea from the Board of Trustees of Cinema For All: when you are approached in the New Year to input into our new strategy, either face-to face or through a short survey, please take the time to let us know your thoughts.  We really do want to hear from you. Adapting to the BFI’s new directions and funding arrangements will be challenging, but Cinema For All is already well aligned with many of the BFI’s aspirations and we welcome the opportunities that BFI2022 presents.

Tim Swanwick

Chair of the Board of Trustees,  Cinema For All