Film Exhibition Fund 2020-21

The Film Exhibition Fund aims to reboot the independent film exhibition sector and aid the recovery of cultural organisations across the UK.

This fund is now closed.

Film Hub South East supports film exhibitors to reach audiences with independent British and international film.

As part of the BFI’s UK wide Film Audience Network (FAN) our vision is to build a wider, more diverse cinema audience with a richer appreciation of British and international film.

FAN’s aims are twofold:

  • to develop a larger, more diverse, confident and sustainable audience for a wider range of independent British and international film – with a primary focus on the collective viewing experience
  • to create a stronger, more connected and confident sector for the distribution and exhibition of independent British and international film.

As of 20 March 2020, the achievement of these aims has been put at risk due to Covid-19 and the Government directive to close cinemas, cultural venues and other places of gathering across the UK which, along with the cancellation of film festivals, has severely impacted on the ability of FAN members to deliver to this brief.

Whilst audiences are at the heart of everything FAN does, the sector’s ability to reach those audiences in a collective setting is entirely dependent on the sustainability of the cinemas, festivals, community venues and other organisations that make up the Film Audience Network.

The Film Exhibition Fund aims to reboot the independent film exhibition sector and aid the recovery of cultural organisations across the UK. It will support exhibitors to resume audience development activity in line with FAN objectives, programme independent British and international film, and deliver screenings.

Key info at a glance

  • Total amount in fund: £92,327

  • Applications open: Wednesday 29 July

  • Applications close: 5pm, Wednesday 30 September

  • Activity window: Mid October 2020 – March 2021


What is the Film Exhibition Fund?

The Film Exhibition Fund is to support FAN members to resume cultural programming and engage a broad and diverse audience as they navigate reopening.

A key priority of the fund is to encourage film exhibitors to embed inclusion and environmental sustainability into their approach to restarting activity.

The fund is primarily aimed at Film Hub South East Members engaged in year-round audience facing activity. Support is available for sustaining and expanding existing provision including time-limited, regularly occurring activity such as film festivals where they are able to demonstrate an especially strong fit with FAN’s priorities and where they address the strategic needs of the Hub.

Overall, priority will be given to those Hub members with a demonstrable track record of work that meets FAN’s objectives.

Hub members must also be able to set out how they will address the BFI Diversity Standards.

Proposals must also demonstrate how they will operate safely during Covid-19, reference can be made to the UKCA’s Cinemas – keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19 Guidelines. 

Activity supported by the Film Exhibition Fund can vary in length, scale and format – all delivery, however, should take place between October 2020 and March 2021. Members can apply for support for programming, marketing and associated costs.

Due to the limited resources available, and FAN’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Drive-Ins will not be supported through this fund. Online activity will only be considered for support when accompanied by ‘in venue’ work.


Who can apply?

You must be a Hub member in order to access Film Hub South East funding opportunities.  Our Membership includes organisations of various sizes and shapes – from community cinemas to festivals to multi-arts centres.  To become a Member, fill in our application form.

How much can I apply for?

There is no minimum or maximum amount you can apply for, but the total amount available in the period mid October 2020 – March 2021 is £92,327 for the South East. We expect the majority of awards approved for this fund to be between £1,000-£10,000.

How to apply?

In the first instance please read the guidelines for the fund.  If you have any questions about your eligibility to apply please contact us at

Once you have read through the guidelines please download and fill out an application form and budget form.

Once completed, please email them to

The deadline for applications to the fund is 5pm on Wednesday 30 September 2020.

If you have particular access requirements (e.g. easy read documents) and would like to submit your application in another way please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss.

If you have access requirements that mean you need assistance when applying for funds, you may be able to request financial support through the BFI Access Support Scheme. Find more information here.

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