Being inventive about funding sources is essential in cinema. From sponsorship, to film funding, to support from trusts and foundations, there are options available to most organisation types.

BFI funding

National projects

The BFI distributes National Lottery funding for national audience projects through two avenues. National-scale projects can apply directly to the Audience Project Fund, a rolling project fund. You can find out more at this link.

Regional projects

Cinemas running regional projects can apply for funding from their film hub. Each hub operates their funding calendar in a different way, although the aims of the funds are largely the same and refer to the priority areas under BFI 2022:

● Engaging audiences​ – maximising the number of audiences engaging with FAN activity and increasing the quality and cultural depth of their experience
● Broadening film choice​ – increasing access to a wide range of independent British and international film for audiences – especially those outside London
● Diversity​ – increasing the diversity of audiences engaging with FAN activity
● Young audiences​ – boosting participation of 16-30 year olds in FAN activity
● Screen heritage​ – facilitating greater access to archive content with a particular focus on national and regional collections

Find out about each hubs funding on their websites.

Film Hub Midlands
Film Hub North
Film Hub Scotland
Film Hub Northern Ireland
Film Hub Wales
Film Hub South West
Film Hub South East
Film Hub London

Film hubs respond to the needs and make up of their regions so funds may be formatted individually, and focus on different elements of the priorities at different times. You must register as an organisation to be a FAN member to receive funding, but registration is free.

National seasons/campaigns on a regional level

Some regional film hubs also offer project funding to any FAN members across all the nations and regions through national programmes:
Major Programmes (large national seasons led by BFI and FAN)
Screen Heritage (national archive seasons)
New Releases (supporting independent film titles)

Access needs to make an application

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

Cinema-specific funders

BFI Audience Projects Fund
Creative Europe UK
Cinema for All
Screen Scotland
Creative Scotland
Northern Ireland Screen
Ffilm Cymru Wales
Film & Television Charity

Diversity funders

There are also a range of funders who fund projects supporting diverse groups.

Reaching Communities from National Lottery
Big Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
The Baring Foundation
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
The Allen Lane Foundation
Arts Council
Comic Relief
Arts & Humanities Research Council
The Rayne Foundation
Creative Scotland
Wolfson Foundation
Garfield Weston
Foyle Foundation
Trusthouse Charitable Foundation
John Ellerman Foundation
The Tudor Trust
The Henry Smith Charity
The Dunhill Medical Trust


From in-kind support of food and drink for your event to large CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds from major commercial organisations, there is money to be found for cinemas that can align the work they’re doing to the priorities of companies.

Article – What sponsors want from the arts, Artshub

Developing a Fundraising Strategy - Institute of Fundraising