National Lottery funding has played a transformative role in the UK’s screen sectors.

It has nurtured filmmakers and creative risk-takers, helped develop our world-class workforce, inspired young people, and connected audiences to a more diverse screen culture – ways that the market cannot deliver. Over the next 10 years, we want to build on this legacy, expand on the opportunities for growth and explore new avenues for creativity in the screen sector.

The way we tell stories and experience them on screen is ever-evolving with the growing sophistication of video games, virtual production, XR, immersive and new forms.  As creators enter new frontiers, we need to represent and nurture this wider range of work as well as the ways that people can experience them on screen. 

Our new BFI National Lottery Strategy 2023-2033 responds to these changes.  It will govern and shape our funds and programmes over the 10-year period. The first BFI National Lottery Funding Plan will start in April 2023 and covers the first three years of the strategy, with subsequent funding plans allowing us to adapt funds and programmes as screen culture evolves.

The BFI National Lottery Strategy and Funding Plan also form an important part of Screen Culture 2033, the wider corporate strategy for the BFI.  We are launching both strategies and the funding plan simultaneously.  Screen Culture 2033 sets out the BFI’s plans as a cultural organisation, the UK Government’s lead organisation for film and the moving image and a charity – from our cultural programming, to our estates, to our digital services such as BFI Player. Taken together, Screen Culture 2033 and the BFI National Lottery Strategy and Funding Plan will set out how we will deliver on our vision to transform access to supported programmes, screen culture, and jobs across the whole of the UK over the next 10 years.

To develop a long-term National Lottery strategy and funding plan that would deliver the greatest possible benefit to the public and the sector, we consulted extensively over a 13-month period with hundreds of screen sector stakeholders and more than 2,000 members of the public across the UK.  We also evaluated a wide range of our current National Lottery-funded activity to make sure our strategy was based on solid evidence. 

Every investment we make over the next 10 years will have to demonstrate how it delivers against our new strategy. As we head into this period, our available BFI National Lottery funding will be approximately £45m a year, which for the first three years of the strategy is approximately 10% lower than during the final three years of BFI2022. As a result, it is even more important that every investment we make delivers the greatest possible impact to the public. 

We will not be able to deliver on this strategy on our own.  We can only achieve this through partnerships with a network of external organisations who will be central to how we deliver these funds and programmes over the next 10 years. Through collaboration, we will ensure our funded activity draws on the wide-ranging knowledge and experience of people in every part of the country and responds to the needs of the regions and devolved nations of the UK. 

This strategy comes at a moment when cultural, economic and societal factors are having a seismic impact on the screen sector, independent film and screen culture as a whole. This will present huge challenges but also enormous and exciting opportunities. We will continue to work to understand the need for National Lottery intervention across ..the broader screen sectors – from television and video games to interactive and immersive work alongside independent film which historically has been the focus this support. 

We thank everyone who has given their time to help us develop and deliver this strategy for the 10 years ahead.

Tim Richards, Chair BFI                 Ben Roberts, Chief Executive, BFI