About the BFI

What we do

1._The BFI is the lead organisation for film and the moving image in the UK. It aims to create the best possible environment for all those working with the moving image - from film to TV, animation and interactive and immersive media - and to support innovation, opportunity and creativity. The BFI does this by offering support in three areas of priority: 


-       Future talent: Supporting creative and influential filmmakers to make work that is admired around the world.

-       Future audiences: Encouraging audiences to embrace the widest possible range of the rich and diverse filmmaking available to them.

-       Future learning and skills: Providing as many people as possible with the skills they need to appreciate and work in film, while ensuring industry has access to a diverse, world-class workforce.


2. The BFI is a registered charity, established by Royal Charter in 1933.1 We receive core funding from Government and act as an arm’s length body, distributing grant-in-aid money for film across the UK. Additionally, the BFI is the distributor of National Lottery good cause money for film. More than half of the BFI’s income is self-generated.


Our commitment to the nations and regions

3.            The BFI has a mandate to support film and the moving image across the whole of the UK. This is enshrined in both its Royal Charter and its management agreement with the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.23 We work closely with devolved administrations and national film agencies in each of the four nations to ensure that we deliver on our mandate as effectively as possible.


4.            Many areas of policy relevant to the screen sector is devolved to national governments, including around culture, education and economic development. Welsh government administers grant-in-aid money to support the Welsh screen industries, while Arts Council of Wales is responsible for the investment of National Lottery money in the sector. 

12Available to read at http://www.bfi.org.uk/about-bfi/bfi-s-royal-charter  Ibid.

3 Available to read at http://www.bfi.org.uk/about-bfi/annual-review-management-agreement

5.            As a UK-wide organisation, the BFI’s work in Wales is complementary to national policy-making and investment. The Welsh Government plays a major role in providing the sector with valuable infrastructure and investment, supporting film and TV production through the Media Investment Fund as well as studio space such as Wolf Studios Wales. Alongside the valuable interventions made by Wales’ national film agency, Ffilm Cymru Wales, as well as broadcasters including S4C and the BBC and other industry stakeholders, public investment plays a key role in encouraging growth in the Welsh screen sector. Public investment in the Welsh film industry is equivalent to £1.68 per person - slightly less than the total invested in Scotland (£1.93 per person) but more than three times that in England (£0.53 per person).[1] The BFI works to ensure that its own support for Wales’ screen sector complements this investment as effectively as possible. 


6.            BFI2022, the five-year strategy governing the BFI’s activity up until 2022, made our commitment to supporting the whole UK screen sector clear.5 It sets out a number of measures by which the BFI will work to support each nation and region on three priority issues: supporting UK talent to make content, developing UK audiences and providing high-quality education and skills training. 


7.            We welcome this opportunity to demonstrate how the BFI helps to create a productive environment for the Welsh screen industries. We encourage the Committee to call upon the BFI as it considers the state of film and high end TV production in Wales. This includes as part of any future review process, such as any inquiry into how Brexit will impact the operation of national and UK-wide screen sectors. 


8.            The following submission provides an overview of how the BFI works with partners in Wales on each of its areas of focus, and how interventions targeting a range of areas in the screen sector - from training and recruitment to development, production, distribution and exhibition - work together to strengthen the performance of film and TV production in Wales. The submission also sets out how we intend to increase our capacity to support the UK screen sector outside of London even further. 



National partners: Ffilm Cymru Wales

9.            The BFI works very closely with the national film agencies in each of the four nations in order to support the UK screen sector. This includes Ffilm Cymru Wales - the national screen agency tasked with developing the Welsh film sector and cultivating its economic, cultural and educational benefits. 


10.          Working with national film agencies provides the BFI with a greater understanding of the cultural, social, political and economic contexts in which the film industry operates in each nation. Their position allows them to identify the specific challenges facing the sector in their nation and allows them to maintain strong networks of local industry and political stakeholders. This understanding of the national landscape helps to ensure that screen sector support is offered in the most effective way possible, helping to tailor UK-wide initiatives to local needs and allowing the BFI to align its work with national policy and funding decisions. 


11.          Ffilm Cymru Wales acts as the National Lottery delegate for film funding on behalf the Arts Council of Wales. It also receives an annual award of grant-in-aid money from the BFI. The agency itself determines how this money should be invested in order to best support film and the moving image in Wales. In 2018, the grant-in-aid award to Ffilm Cymru Wales was £114,450.


12.          In addition to grant-in-aid money, BFI provides Ffilm Cymru Wales with National Lottery funding for talent development activity in Wales. Ffilm Cymru Wales are an appointed ‘delegate’ of the BFI, which means they are able to act in the BFI’s place to run application schemes and make awards with this funding. Delegated BFI Lottery funding supports Ffilm Cymru Wales projects which further the BFI’s own strategic priorities around future talent, future audiences and future learning and skills. 


13.          Ffilm Cymru Wales have made their own response to this consultation and we recommend that the Committee consider this in order to receive a comprehensive picture of the support they provide to the Welsh screen sector. The following response refers to the work of Ffilm Cymru Wales only where it receives National Lottery funding for work that aligns with BFI’s own strategic priorities. 



Priority 1 - Future Talent


14.          The BFI is dedicated to supporting creative and influential filmmakers to make work that is admired around the world. We use National Lottery funds to develop and support original UK filmmakers and films, with investment schemes tailored for each stage of a film’s life cycle - from development and production to distribution. 


15.          As filmmakers and audiences continue to make fewer distinctions between film, television and other digital media (such as games, online video and virtual reality), we need to ensure our funds remain relevant, responsive and adaptable. Throughout the course of BFI2022 and in accordance with our management agreement with the UK Government, we will work to position ourselves as the lead body for all the UK’s screen industries. We will ensure that our investment schemes are able to take advantage of the new commercial opportunities offered by changing formats and that our programming reflects the innovative work being made. 


16.          One of the biggest factors limiting the UK screen sector’s creative and commercial potential is a lack of inclusivity and underrepresentation of diverse communities, including filmmakers based outside of London. Diverse and inclusive workforces can draw on a wider range of insight and experience, producing more innovative films that appeal to a wider range of audiences. In BFI2022, we make explicit commitments to improve diversity and inclusion in every area of the industry and among audiences too.  



A. Talent development 




17.          NETWORK is a key initiative to support promising writers, directors and producers across the nations and regions of the UK. It is a central part of the BFI’s strategy to discover and support the next generation of UK filmmaking talent, no matter where they live. 


18.          National partners work with the BFI to deliver NETWORK. Ffilm Cymru Wales use an annual award of £200,000 in National Lottery funding in order to provide a number of services aimed at supporting emerging film talent in Wales. These services include: 


-       Launchpad: a series of training events for emerging talent, including masterclasses, practical workshops and advice sessions with experts.

-       Horizons: a fund offering between 6 and 10 annual awards of up to £6,000 for individuals or feature film projects. Horizons has supported films including the BAFTA award-winning I Am Not a Witch. 

-       Beacons: a project bringing together NETWORK lottery funding with investment provided by Ffilm Cymru and BBC Wales. Beacons provides film-makers with grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 to produce films of up to 30 minutes.

-       Connector: a fund designed to provide networking events for filmmakers in Wales. 


19.          Further detail on the NETWORK plan is available in Ffilm Cymru Wales’ submission to this consultation.



B. Funding 


Production and development funding 


20.          The BFI uses National Lottery funding in order to support both the development and production of UK film. We support projects that are unlikely to be fully commercially financed in the development and production stages respectively, and would therefore benefit from National Lottery funding. These funds help the BFI to support: 


-       The early careers of ambitious film-makers

-       Work telling British stories or demonstrating cultural relevance of progressive ideas

-       Film-making that takes risks on talent, form and content, where the more commercial sector cannot

-       Work that recognises the quality of difference in perspective, talent and recruitment -        Projects originated by filmmakers outside London and the South East.


21.          The BFI has used both its development and production funds to support Welsh filmmaking, generating investment for the Welsh economy, creating employment and helping to provide Wales with distinctly Welsh content. The Film Fund has six films involving a public Welsh screen agency as a co-producer, including I Am Not a Witch (2017) by Zambian-Welsh director Rungano Nyoni, which won the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer,

Director or Producer for Nyoni and producer Emily Morgan at the 71 st British Academy Film Awards. The Film Fund has invested in a further ten productions which have shot in Wales. This includes the Academy Award-nominated Mr Turner (2014) and the BAFTA-nominated Pride (2014) as well as films such as Journey’s End (2017) and How I Live Now (2013). BFI has also contributed to the production of Welsh language content, including the thriller YLlyfrgell and Cadi, a horror film to be produced. BFI invested in both of these films through its support for Ffilm Cymru Wales’ Cinematic Scheme (detailed below). 


22.          Ongoing Production Fund projects include Eternal Beauty, a new film by Welsh actor-director Craig Roberts and starring Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins as well as BAFTA award nominee David Thewlis.



Export funding


23.          The BFI operates a Film Export Fund, designed to drive export opportunities for British film abroad. The fund can help British films make sales abroad when they’re selected for major international festivals.


24.          The fund can help sales agents with a film’s publicity and marketing, as well as with the technical and logistical costs of appearing at a high-profile festival. It has supported a number of films from Welsh-based sales agents, Welsh producers or other above-the-line talent, including Black Mountain Poets, Orion: The Man who would be King, I am not a Witch, Dark Horse, Just Jim and Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story.






Vision Awards


25.          The Vision Awards provide funding and invaluable support to some of the UK’s most promising producers. Backed by National Lottery funding, awardees receive funding designed to give production companies a degree of creative and financial autonomy to develop their film slates and grow their networks. In line with the BFI’s focus on diversity and inclusion, the Vision Awards aim to support a range of voices, backgrounds and experiences.


26.          Welsh producer Catryn Ramasut received one of the BFI Vision Awards when the most recent round was announced in 2016 for her Cardiff-based company ie ie productions. Recent projects include the multi-platform American Interior, which documents musician Gruff Rhys’ retracing the fantastical American journey of explorer John Evans, and Queerama , a documentary about gay men and women throughout the 20th Century, which opened Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival in June 2017. The BFI continues to work closely with Ramasut as the second year of her Vision Award progresses.


Low-budget feature films


27.          National Lottery money delegated through the BFI Film Fund was used to support ‘Cinematic’ - a Ffilm Cymru Wales scheme supporting the production of low-budget feature films by Welsh directors. The first round of the scheme, awarded in January 2014, produced Craig Roberts' directorial debut Just Jim, Happy Valley director Euros Lyn's adaptation of Fflur Dafydd's Welsh language novel Y Llyfrgell / The Library Suicides, and Chris Crow's historical chiller The Lighthouse.  A second round of a further three feature films was selected in 2017.


28.          The production of these films generated content that is distinctly Welsh in character while also providing employment and valuable career progression opportunities for Welsh filmmakers. A number of key crew members on each of the three films developed ongoing creative relationships through their participation in the film: Just Jim director Craig Roberts launched a production company with his Cinematic producers in 2016.


29.          Going forward, the BFI is investing in a single low-budget feature film scheme open to applicants from across the UK, which will build on the success of the ‘iFeatures’ scheme previously offered in England. This will ensure that the kind of benefit delivered by iFeatures’ previous rounds in England - as well as Cinematic in Wales and ‘Microwave’ in London - are accessible to as wide a range of filmmakers as possible, including those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. 


30.          The BFI will adapt the iFeatures scheme so that it can better deliver on its new remit as a UK-wide scheme. Rather than producing three films, this scheme will support the development and route to market of twelve projects, supporting them to the point at which they are able to obtain funding from other sources. Redesigning the scheme as a ‘development lab’ is intended to ensure it benefits as many filmmakers as possible. The BFI and BBC will jointly ensure that at least 3 of the projects receive financial support for production.


31.          While Creative England continue to manage the iFeatures scheme, guidelines for the new programme make its commitment to creating opportunity across every nation and region explicit. Projects in a wide variety of indigenous language are welcomed, including English, Cornish, Irish and Ulster Scots, Scots and Scottish Gaelic and Welsh. Guidelines for the programme specify that at least 3 of the 12 supported projects will be developed by teams based in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.



C. Diversity standards


32.          Projects in receipt of National Lottery funding for production and development must adhere to the BFI’s Diversity Standards. The BFI believes that in order to have a sustainable, world-class film industry we need to invest in, develop and present the best talent we have in the UK. 


33.          This means that diversity needs to sit at the heart of decision-making. The Diversity Standards set out minimum requirements as well as objectives for funding recipients on the subject of inclusion. It requires all supported projects to demonstrate and deliver an active effort to create diverse audiences and teams both on- and off-screen, including in the representation of workers from across the nations and regions. These standards help to ensure as wide a range of people benefit from BFI support and have greater access to work in the film industry. 




Priority 2 - Future Audiences


34.          The BFI works to make audiences embrace the rich and diverse range of great filmmaking available to them. 


35.          Great filmmaking can change lives. Through stories from now, and from other times and other cultures, we learn to think differently and understand each other better. In this way, film makes a valuable contribution to civic life as well as our wellbeing. 


36.          Expanding the UK audience for film also makes economic sense. Greater consumer demand for film leads to increased investment in production, which in turn leads to job creation and higher levels of inward investment for the UK: creative industries are already the fastest growing part of the UK economy, expanding at twice the rate of the wider economy and creating jobs four times as quickly. We must continue to develop audiences in order to support this success. 


37.          We believe that everyone in the UK should have the opportunity to enjoy and learn from the richest and most diverse range of great British and international filmmaking, past, present and future. This is central to our goal of encouraging ambition in filmmakers and curiosity and hunger in audiences. We will maintain a particular focus on increasing opportunities for those aged 16-30 to engage with great filmmaking, so that they can learn and grow from those experiences, whether as audiences or as aspiring filmmakers themselves.


38.          BFI2022 set out the steps we will take to grow UK audiences and communicate the social, cultural and economic value of film over the coming years.  



Film Audience Network


39.  The Film Audience Network is central to the BFI’s work on audience development. It aims to offer more choice and grow new audiences for film across the UK - particularly for specialised and independent British film. The network connects more than 1,500 film organisation across the UK, allowing for better coordination of local work around film exhibition, education, events and archiving. 

40.  The network is led by a group of eight ‘Film Hubs’ strategically placed in leading film organisations across the country, which serve as the lead organisation for their area and the point of liaison for the BFI. Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre has been the lead organisation for Film Hub Wales since the Network was established in 2013. 

41.  BFI2022 pledged £4 million of National Lottery funding in each year until 2022 to support the Film Audience Network’s broad range of activity to encourage greater engagement with independent and British film across the UK. Film Hubs were also given greater responsibility for decision-making: while the BFI retains responsibility for supporting festivals and exhibitors of national and international importance, each Hub receives a devolved budget of National Lottery money for investing in local film festivals, and innovative audience development activity. This allows Film Hubs to meet the specific needs of their local exhibitors and audiences. Each Film Hub has also taken a lead role across the entire network for an issue of strategic importance.  i) Film Hub Wales

42.  Film Hub Wales leads a network of 141 members and works with a wider group of 244 film exhibitors. Since its establishment in 2013, the Hub has used a combination of BFI funding and other levied monies to support more than 150 cinema projects and reach more than 275,000 audience members and more than 500 training beneficiaries. Major workstreams have included: 

-       Improving access to film in Wales: The Film Hub has developed projects aimed at hard-to-reach audiences across Wales. This includes a Queer Film Network of 20 programmers to support work with queer content; backing the ‘Flicks in the Sticks’ scheme, which puts on screening throughout rural communities in Powys; and an accessibility kitemark system which has helped 10 cinemas to cater for families with children with disabilities. 

-       Supporting the network: The Film Hub provides training and resources to organisations in the network. This includes free diversity training sessions and audience research as well as projects such as Off y Grid, which brings together eight cinemas across North Wales to share project infrastructure and promote diverse film. 

-       Exhibition: Film Hub Wales uses its budget to support local film exhibition. The Film Hub’s ‘Made in Wales’ strategy provides dedicated support for the exhibition of Welsh film, with 69 supported to exhibition thus far. Projects supported by the hub include the Torch International Film Season in Fishguard and a year-long celebration of Welsh film in the Rhondda valley. 

43.  Film Hub Wales is the strategic lead for issues related to diversity and inclusion for the entire

Film Audience Network, leading on its inclusive cinema strategy. It has agreed an MOU with Ffilm Cymru Wales designed to ensure that the Film Hub’s work on exhibition and audience development complements that of the national film agency. This helps to deliver the widest and most effective range of support to the Welsh screen sector. 

44.  Further information on the work of Film Hub Wales can be found at its website, http://filmhubwales.org


The Audience Fund  


45. The BFI uses National Lottery funding awarded through the Audience Fund to achieve its aims around audience development. There are two types of awards available to applicants: 


-       Project awards:these support nationally significant proposals with cultural ambition where the funded activity will grow audiences prioritised by BFI2022 - namely 16-30 year olds and those from diverse backgrounds and communities.

-       Organisational awards:these support proposals that enable organisations with proven sector experience to offer a range of year-round activity that engages with BFI2022’s priority audiences.


i) Iris Prize Festival

46.          The BFI provides support to the Iris Prize Festival through the audience fund. This BAFTA-qualifying festival is an annual six-day event in Cardiff which focuses on excellence in LGBT+ storytelling on screen. 

47.          The titular Iris Prize is the largest award for LGBT short film in the world, providing £30,000 to help support and develop new film talent. Winners are also invited back to the UK to produce another film with the support of the Iris Prize team. Nine films have been created through this process, with another currently in development. These films have been shown at film festivals around the world, winning prizes at Sundance and Beijing Film Academy International Film Festivals among others.  

48.          With an annual audience of just under 10,000, the Iris Prize Festival aims to develop appreciation for LGBT+ cinema. As well as drawing an audience from around the world to Cardiff, the ‘Iris on the Move’ scheme sees films from the festival screened across the UK, with programmes in Llandudno Junction, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and at Brighton Fringe throughout 2018.

49.          The Iris Prize festival also operates a number of outreach programmes. Its education scheme uses money awarded by Ffilm Cymru Wales to screen shorts and work with children to produce films in five secondary schools each year, with a further scheme recently piloted with a chain of English academies. Big Lottery Fund Wales also provided the Iris Prize Festival with a 3-year award to run film-making projects with 30 communities, using footage drawn from the Iris Prize Festival’s archive. 


50.          Further information on the work of the Iris Prize Festival can be found at their website, https://www.irisprize.org/


ii) Chapter


51. In addition to hosting Film Hub Wales, Chapter received £56,000 from the Audience Fund as part of the first round of organisational awards, announced in March 2018. This will be used to support Chapter’s work in developing diverse audiences for its core programme, increasing access to a wide range of independent British and specialised film. Applications for the next round of organisational awards will open in November 2018. 



The BFI National Archive

52.          Established in 1935, the BFI National Archive holds one of the largest film and television collections in the world. Concentrating on British titles, the archive currently takes care of 150,000 films and 800,000 television titles. It also collects posters, images, publicity material, original scripts, letters and other artefacts. The archive provides a comprehensive resource for those looking to engage with a huge range of aspects of British film heritage, as well for those seeking to find on-screen representation. It gives filmmakers access to footage and content they can use to develop new work while also providing a hugely valuable educational resource.

53.          The BFI’s previous five-year strategy (running 2012-2017) recognised that the ongoing transition from physical to digital display meant the UK’s screen heritage was in danger of being stranded in the analogue domain and forever inaccessible to the people of Britain. Aided by National Lottery funding, the BFI established ‘Unlocking Film Heritage’ - a five year programme of works making film accessible for all to enjoy, and keeping it safe for future generations. It did so by investing in preservation from analogue originals to digitisation, interpretation and access. Unlocking Film Heritage was one of the largest and most complex archive preservation programmes ever undertaken in the UK, curating more than 10,000 titles for digitisation. 53 million viewers have engaged with content made available through the programme to date. 

54.          The BFI broke new ground by consulting with commercial facilities, Regional and National Film Archives as well as commercial rightsholders to establish, harmonise and document technical standards and requirements for preservation and access. This includes the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales (NSSAW), who received £323,000 of National Lottery funding and digitised 674 of its films: this amounts to the largest grant and second largest number of digitised films out of any national or regional partner involved with Unlocking Film Heritage. The NSSAW received an additional £30,000 to digitise a further 103 films as part of a final round of the project, announced in BFI2022. 

55.          Cardiff’s Dragon Digital were selected as one of 6 preferred suppliers by the BFI to work on the Unlocking Film Heritage project. The programme as a whole digitised 10,000 films, some of which were undertaken at Dragon’s facility in Wales.In addition to this Dragon have provided film restoration services on classic film titles such as ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII’ (1933) and the award winning restoration of ‘Napoleon’ (1927) as well as other prestigious works. More recently Dragon Digital have again been selected as one of the BFI’s Framework suppliers for film scanning and restoration under the current project for Heritage 2022.


Britain on Film

56.          Through the work of the BFI’s National Archive, we launched ‘Britain on Film’ - a project revealing the hidden histories and forgotten stories of people and places from the UK’s key film and TV archive. The BFI released digitised 10,000 films via BFI Player, giving everybody in the UK free access to films featuring the places they live, grew up, went to school and holidayed as a child. Many of these films had never or rarely been seen and can now be searched for by specific UK locations through BFI Player’s Film and TV Map of the UK. This has enabled people to share films with their family, friends and communities. Events and screenings were held across the country to engage communities with their own local histories as presented on film. 

57.          An Audience Impact Study conducted in 2017 showed that those engaging with it were primarily doing so to make a connection to an area in which they currently live (42% of users surveyed) or used to live (24% of users surveyed). Around of third of respondents indicated that they had learnt something new about their local area or learnt something new about Britain. Those who used the Britain on Film programme self-reported significantly higher levels of happiness and sense of purpose. The project also complements the BFI’s broader work opening up the UK’s film heritage to UK audiences.

58.          Increased interest in UK film heritage has provided new opportunities for film and TV-makers, as well as a valuable production resource. SilentMovies, a Cardiff-based production company, produced an hour-long documentary on Wales’ home movies on commission from BBC Wales. ‘Wales’s Home Movies’ was based on NSSAW’s home movies collection, most of which were digitised via Unlocking Film Heritage. Its producer conducted a significant proportion of his viewing research via the BFI Player. The programme was broadcast in November 2017.


Heritage 2022

59.          BFI2022 sets out a new plan for further developing the BFI’s work on heritage and archiving. Heritage 2022 will see the BFI develop and lead a focused effort with our partners to digitise the most at-risk video collections, most of which are television heritage. This will ensure that up to 100,000 of our unique British television programmes currently held on obsolete video formats and in danger of being lost in the next five to six years, will be safeguarded for future generations to enjoy. As with Unlocking Film Heritage, we will work with partner organisations including the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales to achieve this. 

60.          In order to make our archive available to as many people across the UK as possible, we will work with key partners and with Government to explore extended collective licensing to facilitate mass digitisation. We will build on the BFI Player digital infrastructure, developing a ‘walled garden’ and other copyright solutions to reach people in educational institutions and public libraries across the UK, including those based in Wales.


BFI Mediatheques

61.          BFI Mediatheques provides another method of accessing the BFI National Archive for free. Mediatheques are located in public venues across the UK and are open for anyone to drop into. Visitors have the opportunity to browse an extraordinary range of complete films and television programmes drawn from the BFI National Archive and partner collections. Curated collections of films range from the film-making of our industrial past – showing shipbuilding, coal-mining and steel-making – to the finest in British television drama. A wide range of other themed collections are available, exploring aspects of British social and cultural history from the 1890s to today, and new titles are added regularly.

62.          The BFI opened its first Welsh mediatheque in Wrexham Library. Among the hundreds of curated collections available at the Wrexham mediatheque is ‘Through the Dragon’s Eye’, which brings together film and television programmes from the BFI National Archive with that from the National Screen & Sound Archive of Wales. ‘Through the Dragon’s Eye’ showcases the work made by Wales’ early pioneers of film from the Victorian and Edwardian period, including landscapes, royal visits and sporting events. It includes 1920s newsreels and travelogues, as well as groundbreaking early fiction work, Wales’ first sound film and classic postwar features. Welsh-language TV favourites are available alongside contemporary drama, artists’ work and animation. This provides users with valuable access to Welsh film heritage, allowing them to engage not only with film and culture, but with the communities they belong to.  


Priority 3 - Future Learning and Skills


63.          The BFI aims to create clear progression paths into the screen sector for talented young people. 


64.          Employment in the creative industries is growing at four times the rate of the wider economy. Research for the BFI has identified that if UK film continues to grow at the same pace seen over the past five years, this could amount to a need for over 10,000 new entrants to the sector by 2020, or 25,000 people when also accounting for churn.[2] Providing industry with a steady pipeline of talent is essential if we are to sustain this rate of growth in the future and maintain production across the UK. 


65.          In order to foster the next generation of filmmakers, while also providing people with the skills they need to engage with film as a viewer, the BFI operates a number of initiatives focused on skills and education. Many of these are of direct benefit to Wales and help to develop the nation’s audience and skills base. 



Future Film Skills Programme


66.          We have announced a £20 million Future Film Skills Action Plan to invest in the world class skills needed to ensure future success for the UK screen sector. This will be delivered by Creative Skillset over the next ten years, working with the BFI’s partners in the devolved nations in order to align targets. The plan stresses the need for a young and diverse workforce that is representative of the society in which we live, drawing people from across every nation and region of the UK as well as minority groups and communities.


67.          The Action Plan sets out ten measures that will help provide the UK screen sector with the strongest possible skills base. These include the development of a new suite of apprenticeship standards for screen-related subjects, professional development courses to ensure our workforce has world-class skills, and the establishment of a small number of world-class Centres of Excellence for screen-related Craft and Technical Skills, providing industry-approved courses.[3]


68.          Creative Skillset have made their own submission to the Committee’s consultation, providing further detail on their work in Wales.  



BFI Film Academy 


69.          The BFI Film Academy provides talented young people with a valuable progression path in terms of their engagement with film. The Film Academy is a UK-wide programme which provides opportunities for young people between the ages of 16-19, no matter where they live or what their background. Participants are given at least 40 hours’ training, including hands-on experience as well as contact with industry figures, helping them to develop the specialist film-making skills required to build a career in the sector. Participants are given access to an alumni network and events including BAFTA careers surgeries and are offered a Northern College for Further Education award in preparing for work in the film industry. 


70.          The BFI Film Academy has a course cost of £25 to participants, though fees may be waived in special circumstances. Bursaries and childcare and travel grants are also available. This pricing structure is designed to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to benefit from the Academy’s work. 


71.          The BFI Film Academy has used more than £200,000 to deliver fourteen Academy courses in Wales over the past five years. More than 200 young people have participated in courses held in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Conwy, with a number of these participants progressing to the national residential courses, including at the prestigious National Film and Television School. A number of these attendants have also gone on to study and work in the film industry professionally. In this way, BFI Academy demonstrably develops the Welsh skills base and provides access opportunities for its aspiring filmmakers.



Into Film


72.          Supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding, Into Film is a key initiative putting film at the heart of the educational and personal development of children and young people. It delivers one of the UK’s widest reaching cultural education initiatives, with a significant numbers of schools in every nation and region of the UK engaging in its programme. Into Film film embraces both formal learning (with resources for teachers and teacher training in 2016/17) and non-formal learning, through a network of over 10,000 extra-curricular film clubs. Its activities include: 


-      Into Film Clubs – in school and out-of-school settings, clubs provide rich and varied opportunities to watch, discuss, review and make films

-      Resources – high quality learning outcome-focused materials to enable teachers to embed film across a range of subjects and curriculum areas

-      Continuing professional development – training and support for teachers to develop their skills to teach in, through and about film

-      Into Film Festival – the largest youth film festival in the world, comprising screenings, discussions, filmmaking workshops and Q&As (all offered free of charge)

-      Into Film Awards - annual celebration of the filmmaking and learning achievements of pupils and teachers from across the UK.

-      Get into Film (GiF) – a YouTube channel providing a wealth of vibrant film-related content for 5-19 year olds, including star-studded interviews, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and industry insights.


73.          A number of independent evaluation studies have found evidence of the educational value of incorporating film in formal education. Into Film’s programme and film education support the raising of educational attainment; increase pupil’s enjoyment of and engagement with learning; nurture personal and skills development; and build awareness of and aspiration to pursue careers in film and the wider screen sector. This helps to create the foundations for the development of a skilled, diverse workforce upon which continued economic success will depend.


74.          However, it is also important to remember that extracurricular film clubs play an equally valuable role in children and young people’s academic, social and cultural development. In a 2016/17 independent survey of film club leaders, 80% said that film clubs benefit literacy development; 92% agreed that film clubs enhance access to culture; 88% agreed that films clubs developed participant’s social skills; and 86% agreed that film clubs develop participant’s confidence.


75.          Into Film works closely with partners including Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film Hub Wales, BAFTA Cymru and S4C in order to deliver its ‘Into Film Cymru’ programme. This is designed to complement and build upon the work being done by other agencies. Over the year 2017/8, Into Film Cymru has delivered 417 film clubs, trained 430 educators and received 19,996 Into Film Festival bookings.


76.          Into Film Cymru’s activities support Welsh Government’s agenda on raising literacy attainment, closing the gap, developing digital literacy skills and promoting the use of the Welsh language. The team is currently working closely with the Welsh Government on the development of its ‘Expressive Arts’ area of learning within the new curriculum for Wales. 


77.          Into Film have made an independent submission to the Committee’s consultation, providing further detail on their work in Wales. 



Other areas of work 


Certification – Qualifying as British and Creative Sector Tax Reliefs 


78.          The BFI’s certification unit administers the cultural tests used to determine whether audiovisual projects are eligible to receive the tax reliefs available to UK film, high-end TV, video games, animation and children’s television projects. This is done on behalf of Her Majesty’s Treasury. 


79.          The tax reliefs allow qualifying companies to claim a larger deduction, or in some circumstances claim a payable tax credit when calculating their taxable profits. They have been hugely effective in attracting inward investment in the UK screen with more than £11 billion flowing into the sector since their introduction in 2007. 


80.          The cultural test for each of these tax reliefs is points-based and requires projects to achieve a minimum score. Projects are awarded points for factors including the following:


-               A recognisably British/EEA setting; British/EEA lead characters; British/EEA Story or Underlying material; British/EEA language (including all the UK’s recognised regional languages and BSL)

-               Clear representation of British creativity, British heritage or diversity (on or off screen -     Use of UK facilities for shooting, VFX, development, post production, music etc.

-               UK/EEA cast and crew


81.  The cultural test supports the production of Welsh-language content in this respect. 


82.  The Certification Unit undertakes the marketing and promotion of the Creative Sector tax reliefs around the UK and internationally at conferences and festivals as well as their own events. The Unit has also started to collate regional spend on specific screen sector activities and mapping locations of applicants with a view to using the information to provide a better understanding of national and regional spread.



Policy leadership


83. The BFI works to ensure that national and local policy-making supports the success of the screen industries. We promote the sector and its needs to all levels of national and local government, advising on any issues that affect their ability to succeed and grow - from legislation regarding the UK’s exit from the EU to apprenticeships and the UK government’s industrial strategy. We work closely with industry in order to determine sector priorities and understand how government policy can provide the best possible conditions for growth in our sector. 





84.          This consultation demonstrates the many ways in which the BFI supports the success of Wales’ screen sectors, including film and high-end television. We believe that providing access to investment and expert support at every point in a film’s life cycle helps to create a sustainable environment for film production: it is vital that we invest in both the pipeline of skills into industry as well as developing consumer demand for UK content in order to futureproof our sector. 


85.          The BFI will continue to work closely with Welsh Government and national partners to ensure that it provides the best possible support to Wales’ screen industries, including initiatives tailored towards local needs and priorities. 


For further information on this response please contact Jack Powell, Senior Policy Analyst, at jack.powell@bfi.org.uk or on 020 7957 8962







[1] BFI, ‘Public investment in film in the UK’, October 2017. Available at http://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-public-investment-in-film-2017-10-20.pdf 5 Available to read at http://www.bfi.org.uk/2022/

[2] The Work Foundation, ‘A Skills Audit of the UK Film and Screen Industries’, June 2017.  


[3] The plan is available to read at