British Film Institute (BFI) reports launch

The British Film Institute (BFI) is the UK’s lead organisation for film and the moving image. SQW recently undertook two evaluations on behalf of the BFI: the evaluation of the Audience Fund and the evaluation of the Research & Statistics Fund. The reports from these evaluations have now been published.

Launched in 2017, the BFI Audience Fund was set up to support and enable audience-facing activities by exhibitors and distributors, in order to grow the diversity of audiences engaging with film. The Fund facilitated a range of activities across the UK, including film festivals, accessible screenings, and theatrical and online film distribution.. In 2021, SQW was commissioned to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the Fund.

Between April 2017 and November 2021, 317 awards were made by the Audience Fund; 222 Project Awards and 95 Organisational Awards. We found it was successful at engaging diverse audience groups. Key outcomes included engaging a younger audience and audiences outside London, improving accessibility for diverse audiences, and enhancing audience experience through increasing their exposure to independent UK and international film. It also changed perceptions and practices within funded applicants’ organisations. Most of these stated that they could not have delivered these activities in this form  without Audience Fund support, showing that the Fund provided added value. . We recommended that the BFI continues with the Audience Fund, given its proven effectiveness, and that the Fund’s  profile is raised by publicising its successes more widely.

You can read the Audience Fund Evaluation Report here.

The British Film Institute (BFI) plays an important role in bringing together data that help understand the scale and shape of the UK’s screen sector. The sector is both economically significant and structurally diverse. The BFI uses their unique position in the sector to address its research and data needs. They do this on behalf of the sector and with the support of a £3m National Lottery-funded Research and Statistics Fund. Through this Fund, the BFI procures data and commissions and delivers independent research for UK film and other parts of the screen sector and the public. SQW was commissioned by the BFI to evaluate the impact of the Fund.

We found that research outputs generated through the Fund are high quality, robust and authoritative. They address issues that key stakeholders consider important for the sector, such as sustainability and the challenges facing independent film. Collaboration has been fostered through an external Advisory Group, and creating specialist steering groups for each commissioned research study. Consultees recognised the value of the Fund and believed that  there would be a significant research and evidence gap in its absence. Whilst other sources of data and evidence existed which were also useful, these  complemented the Fund:  the BFI’s ability to work across the whole screen sector and make research outputs freely and publicly available was particularly valued.

You can read the Research & Statistics Fund Evaluation Report here.