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British Film Institute Unveils New Five-Year Plan

Photo of Matt Mueller By Matt Mueller | Thompson on Hollywood October 3, 2012 at 11:41AM

The British Film Institute has unveiled its much-anticipated five-year Future Plan, which they’ve dubbed Film Forever and which spells out a comprehensive blueprint for public film policy in the UK over the next five years. With a substantial chunk of change to invest--roughly £50 million a year--the primary targets are developing creative talent and audiences outside of London, more investment in film production and development and the continuing heritage conversion of worthy British films into digital format.
BFI's Greg Dyke
BFI's Greg Dyke

Several other partnership and investment initiatives were announced, including more money for film festivals, a one-off £5m “capital” fund for the UK’s film schools, a Diversity Fund, an animation lab in association with Aardman Animations and a youth film academy for 16 to 19 year olds in partnership with Pinewood Studios and BAFTA. BFI CEO Amanda Nevill also revealed details of stronger ties going forward between the UK’s primary film organisation and the regional agencies like Creative England, Film London and Creative Scotland, declaring that they want to empower more decision-making at a local level.

There is also a Distribution Fund (replacing the old P&A Fund) to help films reach the marketplace, which will operate on £4m a year and support audience awards, “breakout” awards, innovative distribution strategies and a flexible scheme to back “sleepers” – films with the potential to break out that may benefit from late support. Other plans include a newly created International Fund (including extra money for the British Film Commission), a UK-wide A&R-style scouting system for potential filmmaking talent, as well as the digitization (and essential rescue) of 10,000 “culturally important” British films. A public vote will determine which titles to include.

Film Forever is the result of 18 months of energetic consultation between the UK and international film industries, various cultural organisations and the British government. What’s emerged looks well placed to uncover new talent and audiences and keep the British film industry flourishing for years to come.

This article is related to: BFI

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.