1. Strategy
  2. National Lottery Strategy
  3. Setting the parameters for our National Lottery strategy

Setting the parameters for our National Lottery strategy

What we mean by screen culture

‘Screen culture’ sets the scope of work that we will support using National Lottery funding. By this term we mean film, television, video games and interactive and immersive work. We will focus on creative work made for these media, whose goal is to engage people’s imaginations. This includes pieces that tell a story, build new worlds, or to get people thinking creatively. We will focus on everything from the earliest film titles held in archives across the UK, through to brand new works being made every day. Our definition includes film, television, video games and emerging forms like VR and AR, as well as factual and fictional works. But this list is not exhaustive.

Creators the world over use screens to capture peoples’ imaginations in vastly differing ways. They are making work in mature formats such as film, TV and video games; to emerging areas such as VR and AR; through recording and creating on their smartphones or bringing new life to heritage works through creative reuse. The creative potential of these sectors is growing at an ever-faster rate.  Technology is evolving, and people are experimenting with how they build new worlds and engage their audience. They are exploring different narrative and aesthetic techniques, and how to blend them together in their work.

Taking an open approach to ‘screen culture’ will allow us move with the times. It will help make sure National Lottery funding can adapt as new ways of creating and experiencing emerge. It will help us keep pace with the needs of the public and the sector. 

We will only ever use National Lottery funding to support work that benefits the public, and where there is evidence of need for good cause funding. We will not invest in areas where funding is already available from the commercial market. For example, we may fund the preservation of television as part of the UK public’s moving image heritage, but we would not invest in HETV production, where commercial funding is readily available. 

We will revisit this definition over the 10-year strategy period to make sure it is still fit for purpose. We will also design the shorter funding plans that sit underneath the strategy to deliver support in places where it is needed most.

What we mean by the screen sector

By ‘the screen sector’ we refer to any person or organisation working in film, television, video games and interactive and immersive. This includes people working across the value chain, and in new and emerging creative fields.  It includes, but is not limited to, those developing or producing new screen works; distributors and sales agents; exhibitors and festivals; those working to collect and preserve titles; education, skills and training providers; facilities and studio spaces; screen agencies and trade associations; and the wide range of infrastructural services designed to support creative moving image storytelling.

What we mean by children and young people 

When we talk about children, we mean anybody aged up to 16 years old. By young people, we mean those aged 16 to 25.

How National Lottery support for video games will evolve over the strategy period

The BFI’s Corporate Strategy sets out how we will expand our work in this area. This includes by working in partnership with industry leaders and building our own expertise and capacity over the next 10 years. National Lottery funding will have a role to play in this process, and we will seek to increase the level of support on offer for video games over time. But this will be subject to establishing clear evidence of need as well as the level of National Lottery funding available.

As we move into the strategy period, the amount of National Lottery funding available to the BFI is around 11% lower that over the last five years. In addition, UK independent film faces clear challenges in the years ahead. This means our support for video games will need to start small, focusing on a limited range of areas in the first funding plan. We will then scale this support over time, subject to available funding and clear evidence of need. As set out above, we will only ever invest where benefit will be delivered to the public. We will not invest in areas where funding is already available from the commercial market.

More detail on which National Lottery-funded programmes will cover video games will be set out in our funding plans.

How we will work in partnership across National Lottery programmes

Partnership working will be central to how we deliver National Lottery funds and programmes over the next 10 years. National Lottery funding can be used to provide cash or ‘in-kind’ awards to beneficiaries or to deliver services to them. We will collaborate with a network of other organisations to make sure that funded activity is designed and delivered drawing on the vast range of knowledge and experience held by people working across every part of the country. By working collectively, we can help make sure funding delivers the greatest possible benefit to the public and to the sector in a number of ways: 

  • Letting experts take the lead. Achieving our objectives for National Lottery funding over the next 10 years will involve work across a wide range of areas – from education and skills, through to audience and talent development as well as heritage, research and international work. Partnering with organisations that are highly specialised in these fields with a track record of delivery, or else with organisations to help them build expertise in an underserved area, will help the public feel the greatest benefit possible. It will also make sure there is a variety of perspectives involved in the process of decision-making around National Lottery funding.
  • Tailoring support across the four nations of the UK. The BFI has a remit to administer National Lottery funding on a UK-wide basis. Many of the needs of the public and industry around National Lottery support for film and the moving image are common right across the UK. But it is essential that our funding responds to those areas where needs and context differ too. 

    England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have different offers in terms of screen culture. They have different demographic makeups and different indigenous languages, from Irish to Ulster Scots, to Welsh, Gaelic and Cornish. Devolution means that there are differences in the policy context in which National Lottery funding operates, including in key areas such as education, skills, culture and economic development. Each of the nations also have their own screen agencies, tasked with strategic leadership of the sector and distributing their own National Lottery and grant-in-aid funding. 

    Working with organisations and governments across the four nations will help us make sure National Lottery funding is tailored to their needs, and complements other available funding.
  • Responding to local needs. Needs don’t just differ on a national scale, but on a more local level too. During our consultation, we heard that the delivery of a UK-wide strategy must be tailored according to local needs if it is to be effective. Organisations based across the UK understand what support their area requires and to tap into local networks. Partnering with them helps make sure funding delivers the greatest possible benefit for local people and the sector as a whole.
  • Delivering for video games and emerging screen sectors. Our Corporate Strategy (Screen Culture 2033) sets out how we will work with video games organisations to develop our offer for this sector. This includes any design of future National Lottery programmes of relevance to the sector.
  • Working alongside other National Lottery distributors. We will look to collaborate with other distributors of National Lottery good cause funding around common goals. Working with organisations like the National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Lottery Community Fund, and the Arts Councils in each of the four nations will leverage networks and expertise from beyond film and the moving image. This will help deliver the best value for money to the public on good cause funding.

    Our Corporate Strategy sets out more on how we will work with partners.