Learn how to plan and run an online workshop

An online workshop, as well as lectures and courses, is a great way for trained professionals to share their knowledge. At the same time, the audience has the opportunity to deepen their studies on some specific topic.

Jo attended Opening our Doors: Inclusive Cinema in Glasgow 2019 to run a workshop on marketing diverse titles for audiences.

“One of things I enjoy most about working on grassroots and outreach marketing on film projects is the sheer diversity of campaigns you can be involved with as well as the creative freedom you can exercise on the below the line activity associated with these projects.

“As cinemas, community cinemas or festivals its imperative you treat grassroots/outreach marketing as an integral part of your audience development programme – you’ll need to nurture and cultivate these relationships over time.

“Look at your programme at a whole and find the common links between films  – look at I, Daniel Blake and Nae Pasaran! for instance, there is definitely a crossover in terms of the politics or looking at young empowered female led films like Patti Cake$ and Skate Kitchen. Be as strategic as you can with your programming.

“Organisations and individuals you engage with will become your ambassadors and champions so its important you keep the conversations with them going even during your quieter periods or between events.

“Also as local organisations you’re a unique position to understand the sensitivities and culture of your community, this is a massive advantage – think of all the knowledge you have and how it can be best used!”

Top 10 Tips

  1. Start with a SWOT – identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your upcoming film programme and events.
  1. Positioning – think about how are you positioning your films and events, does it ‘speak’ to your audience?
  1. Identify your audience – customers are only loyal to brands up to a certain point, don’t make the assumption they will come to your venue, engage, engage, engage!
  1. Assets – distributors spend budget on creating sharable assets for social, make sure to keep in touch with them to get up to date content to keep your messaging to audiences fresh!
  1. Data – depending on your CRM/Box Office system can you analyse your audiences by what they watch? If so, do you have permission to contact them (GDPR!) or do you have specific mailing lists e.g.; opera/ballet or kids season.
  1. Outreach – film releases can be so singular but try to identify common themes in your programme line up well ahead of time, e.g. youth audiences, political audiences and build a relationship with these audiences – how do they ‘consume’ their news?
  1. Partnerships – look at recent release of Nae Pasaran!, this film had a ton of support from local union branches, which created audiences (and demand!) for the film ahead of its release.
  1. Research – find out who your audience are with exit polls, not only is it an opportunity to get some key demographics on them but also to find out how they interact with your brand plus get them signed up to your mailing lists. (TIP: Have chocolates on hand for gentle coercion!)
  1. Eventise – not everyone likes Q&A panels, Patti Cake$ had battle raps and spoken word sessions on its opening night.
  1. Think outside the box – creativity sparks ideas, could you run a ‘strategy hack’ with all staff and your youth reps? Could the distributor provide financial support for some one off activity – Tyneside Cinema had a fire-eater for the release of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

Young people taking the lead

Matt Fenton is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Contact. In this case study on the theme of leadership and development, Matt talks about their model which relies on young people aged 13–30, and the wide-ranging impact two specific projects have had on participants, communities and audience development.

Black Moon Film Club

Black Moon Film Club hosts screenings all over Northern Ireland, with a home in Belfast’s Black Box arts venue in the Cathedral Quarter area of the city. The film club has been supported by Film Hub NI who offer funding and audience development support to film exhibitors in Northern Ireland. Black Moon Film Club is an inclusive … More

Your film club, your way: SEN/ ASN

The resource covers five of the most popular or impactful films from Into Film’s inclusion project, provides tips for the arrangement of your Into Film club, suggestions for film reviewing and activities to enhance and support screenings.

How to Get the Press on Your Side

Extract from Clare Wilford’s 2016 PR Presentation ‘How to Get the Press on Your Side’ for the ICO’s REACH: Strategic Audience Development participants

Bringing Film to the Westerly Edge

The project was created to develop inclusive cinema serving rural/isolated audiences on the Isle of Tiree, the most westerly of the Inner Hebrides. Tiree has a population of 650 and the nearest cinema is 4 hours away on a ferry.  The project was initiated by Jen Skinner in December 2015 using an old projector in … More

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

In 2018 we asked our network members to tell us how inclusive they felt their cinemas were and what they’d like to do to increase access to their film programmes. 70% felt that more training could help.

The BFI Diversity Standard encourages exhibitors to offer inclusive cinema programmes – inclusion for those with additional needs, as well as for those who may feel culturally excluded.

Lots of us have fears and are aware of the barriers that stand in our way when we try to develop diverse audiences, but we don’t often get the time to consider our options, talk to peers and come up with solutions and ideas to improve what we offer.

FAN delivers training in Inclusive Cinema to our membership, through face-to-face workshops, resources such as this, 121 consultancy, and industry conferences like This Way Up. See us at major independent cinema events, such as Slate Days and Screening Days. The ICO, UKCA and other organisations that specialise in accessibility and diversity also have regular programmes of training to support exhibitors looking to grow their diverse audiences.

Training providers

FAN’s regional film hubs – links on the funding page
Independent Cinema Office (ICO)
Cinema for All
Into Film
UK Cinema Association (UKCA)
Centre for Accessible Environments – accessibility
Arts Marketing Association – audience development incl. Diversity Academy
Audience Agency – audience development
The Other Box – bias, diversity and inclusion training
BRAP – diversity and inclusion training
A&IM – Access and Inclusivity Matters
Sunsurfer – equality, disability and mental health training
The Diversity Trust – equality, diversity and inclusion training
Shape Arts – disability equality training
DASH – accessible marketing and disability equality training
Equality and Diversity UK
ACAS – equality, mediation and management training
Zebra Uno – Deaf awareness and sign language training
RNID – Deaf awareness
Royal Deaf – Deaf awareness
Remark! – Deaf awareness
Deafinitely Theatre – Deaf awareness
BIFA – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Training
Amiokaa – equality, diversity & inclusion training
Diverse Matters – equality, diversity and inclusion training

For filmmakers, BFI Network offers a full list of funders and training providers for filmmakers and production roles.