1. Strategy
  2. National Lottery Strategy
  3. Objective 2: Creativity and storytelling

Objective 2: Creativity and storytelling

Anyone can create original screen work, from first-time creators to world-class professionals

National Lottery funding can support people of all ages and all skill levels to express themselves through screen. Having the opportunity to tell their story brings huge benefit to people. Even a rudimentary project can help people feel creatively fulfilled. A few seconds of 2D animation or a video clip recorded on a phone can allow people to represent themselves and others to the world. Making new work can help people negotiate subjects in new ways and build vital screen literacy skills.

Early opportunities to create can also ignite a passion for film and the moving image in people, inspiring them to develop their creativity and hone their skills. This can help nurture a pipeline of creative talent into the sector. As people progress, it is vital that they have the chance to practice, train, experiment and to take creative risks if they are to fulfil their potential as a next generation creator. This might be in film, TV, video games or emerging formats like VR or AR, through totally new works or creative reuse of heritage material.

National Lottery funding can help give people this opportunity. It can help them to refine their craft, discover new ways of doing things and build their profile. Funding can directly support people to create bold and distinctive independent work that challenges our understanding of screen culture. In doing so, it can also help them develop their skills to the point where they are able to work on major commercial projects too. In these ways, National Lottery funding can help secure the sector’s continued vibrancy and economic growth. It can help make sure the UK continues to develop innovative, world-class creatives and deliver value to the public.

We need to make sure our funds and programmes deliver maximum benefit to filmmakers as the market continues to evolve. In the first few years of the strategy we will work with industry to review how we structure our filmmaking funds to develop a ‘new deal’ for filmmakers. Given the acute pressures on our National Lottery funding, as well as the increasing challenges of securing financing for independent projects, we are assessing how to utilise every lever available to us, so our contribution to producer, writer and director fees, and overheads in budgets, can support longer term resilience within the industry as well as the highest number of individual projects.

The BFI will need to work in partnership with a range of people and organisations right across the UK to deliver on this objective. This includes (but is not limited to) those working as producers; developers; directors and writers; schools, education and training providers; talent development organisations; festivals; exhibitors; publishers; archives and other heritage organisations; local government; national and regional screen agencies; and strategic funded partners. As with every area of work, we will look to deliver for people right across the UK of all ages, religions or beliefs, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, working class backgrounds, as well as disabled people, those with a longstanding physical or mental condition and those identifying as D/deaf or neurodiverse.

2.1 More people understand how to express their creativity through stories on screen, including children and young people

Making new work and experimenting with the moving image can benefit people immensely. It can help them express themselves creatively and benefit their mental health and wellbeing. It can also help them develop valuable creative, communication and technical skills. At the same time, early opportunities to make work can help people think about potential careers in the sector.  National Lottery funding can help this happen both inside and outside the classroom.

National Lottery funding can play a particular role for children and young people in this area. Formal and informal learning settings both have a role to play in how children and young people build a relationship with screen culture.  Schools can help make sure children and young people from all backgrounds get the chance to experiment with screen storytelling in a structured and supportive fashion. Informal provision can help empower them to explore their passion in a more personal way too. National Lottery funding can help support both.

2.2 Creative talent is supported and nurtured, as they emerge and throughout their careers

National Lottery funding can support people across the UK at all stages of their creative practice. It can provide resources and opportunities for people training and taking their first steps into industry, through to helping them consolidate careers and building sustainable businesses. This includes people of all ages, all backgrounds, and in all parts of the UK. Funding can support people to hone their skills, create bold new risk-taking work and connect with peers and fellow creatives. This outcome encompasses the pipeline of interventions that can come into play on every step of the journey.

2.3 People are better enabled to innovate and experiment creatively

This outcome considers how funding can help people experiment and take bold creative risks. This helps challenge our perceptions of screen culture and acts as essential research and development. It also helps us discover new ways of delivering social, cultural and economic benefit to the public.

National Lottery funding can help people take these risks in a way the market often cannot, and we will continue to invest in such projects. This may be in terms of using new formats to tell stories or innovating with narrative and creative technique. It might involve supporting emerging and original creative teams that are as yet unable to secure commercial backing for their projects. It might involve collaborating with international partners, creatively reusing existing material, and much more besides. We will continue to use National Lottery funding to support UK screen culture to grow and evolve in a whole range of exciting new ways.

2.4 A wider range of stories on screen are told that otherwise would not be

As good cause funding, the National Lottery can invest in bold new work that would not be supported by the commercial market. It has a vital role to play in fostering distinctive storytelling here in the UK and offering audiences greater choice. It can also support our reputation as a global leader in storytelling, with a world-class talent base.

One of the ways in which National Lottery funding can complement the offer of the commercial market is in supporting work that explores the rich diversity of life at home and around the world.  Doing so can help make sure people from see themselves represented on screen, while also having the chance to connect with the stories of people from other backgrounds too. Funding can help both established and emerging filmmakers to tell these stories, offering support where the commercial market does not. In doing so, it can also help build the UK’s profile with audiences around the world in new ways, while attracting exciting creative talent to work here too.

Over the next 10 years, we will look to do support projects that do this and more. We understand the cultural, social and economic benefit of work that champions new and underrepresented perspectives and will continue to support it.