BFI consultation: should games access more public funding?

The British Film Institute (BFI) is conducting a major strategic consultation on its new strategy to influence its funding, which includes a set of questions around funding for games.  

We are encouraging all members to respond, and will be conducting our own research of views via our survey here.  We will be gathering feedback and will submit a response on the 8 September.

A major aim of Ukie as stated in the Blueprint for Growth is to ensure that any public funding made available to screen sectors recognises the contribution and modern nature of games, ensuring effective support just as other creative industries have. The availability of public funding for film and TV has led to innovative and diverse content, creating new markets, supporting new talent and enriching cultural life.  
Our research for the Blueprint identified a lack of coordination amongst agencies, coupled with low industry awareness of what is available.  Reform and consolidation of funding is vital to unlock the full cultural and commercial benefits of the Video Games Tax Relief.

The success of the UK film sector in attracting inward investment, growing domestic talent, and expanding its global cultural and economic reach, has been accelerated over the last decade by combining incentives with this wider array of support functions.  We recommend that the games industry be given access to the same industrial and cultural funds – including National Lottery money – that other creative sectors receive.
Funding to improve investor readiness and commercial management, support cultural production, improve access to markets, foster regional hubs, develop talent, grow awareness among investors, and other functions, will unlock the full long-term cultural and commercial potential of the UK games industry.
This support would not only reflect the audience value of the games sector, but also be a foundation for the emergence of new products, innovation and culture. Of central importance is ensuring that existing agencies are clearly empowered to support games, invested in doing so, and their efforts coordinated. Government funding for this should be additional to existing funding for the creative sector.

National and regional bodies, led by the BFI, provide support to the film sector through a diverse series of programmes.
These include:

  • BFI Film Fund (£26m) for development, production, distribution and export
  • BFI support for film abroad (£1.5m)
  • BFI/Creative England Film Business Support scheme (£2m) to improve growth and sustainability
  • BFI Creative Clusters Challenge Fund (£250k) to strengthen regional hubs
  • BFI support for production of micro-budget films, e.g. Triangle, iFeatures, and Microwave

The BFI asks in its 2022 strategy:

  1. Which forms of moving image, if any, should be given more attention and support by the BFI?
  2. Are there any areas or forms of the moving image in which the BFI should not be involved? Why?
  3. What can the BFI do to support innovation in creation, distribution, and exhibition now that the distinctions between film, television and other forms of the moving image as art are increasingly fluid?
  4. We support many aspects of moving image culture, such as its heritage, creators, audiences and study. Have you any views on where you think our priorities should lie?

Please let us know your thoughts via the survey or email.