BFI consultation on education policy

The BFI has announced a consultation phase for its education strategy:

From: Narena Modeste [mailto:Narena.Modeste@bfi.org.uk]

Sent: 11 November 2013 17:05

Subject: BFI opens consultation on new education strategy for film, TV and screen media.

Importance: High

Dear colleague

I am writing to announce the opening of the consultation phase for a comprehensive new strategy to support film, television and screen media education across the UK.  I believe that you can make a very valuable contribution to this process.

A great deal has already been achieved in film education, and there is excellent practice to be found in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England.  Furthermore, since the launch of Film Forever twelve months ago, the BFI has completed the first year of the BFI Film Academy (for aspiring young film makers) and awarded Lottery funding to FILM NATION UK (to deliver film into the education of all 5-19 year olds).  At the same time, we continue to support education through our programming, our online services, and our in-venue work at BFI Southbank.

Now is the time to bring our vision and plans up to date, to confirm the value of partnership across the sector, and to define the specific role of the BFI itself.  We also want to bring into focus the evidence we have for the importance of learning about – and through – screen media, and we will commission additional research where gaps can be identified.

I do hope that you will be able to join us in this endeavour.  You can read more about the proposal, and find key questions to answer, here: http://www.bfi.org.uk/education-research/film-education-strategy-have-your-say

Please note that all responses to this first phase of consultation should be received by December 13th.

I look forward to hearing from you

With best wishes

Paul

 Dr Paul Gerhardt

Director of Education

British Film Institute

BFI reviews policy on unpaid interns

This item appeared in the BECTU journal Stage Screen and Radio recently:

Stage Screen & Radio April/May 2013

 BFI reviews internships

The British Film Institute is to review its practice of hiring unpaid interns after a campaign by Intern Aware which works closely with the union.  Gus Baker of Intern Aware was contacted in February by unemployed graduate Neil Jones.  He aspires to a career in the media and had applied for a BFI internship but had had to withdraw as he could not afford to work for no pay.  He told Intern Aware that 18 people were currently unpaid interns at the publicly funded organisation and he felt this was wrong.

Baker sent a freedom of information request to the BFI about compulsory redundancies which established that after the BFI had cut 72 jobs they appeared to have been replacing some of them with unpaid interns on up to six month contracts.

Questions were asked in the House of Commons and Culture Secretary Maria Miller responded that it was departmental policy that all interns receive the minimum wage.

The BFI board of governors tabled an emergency motion at their board meeting and have now agreed to review the practice of hiring unpaid interns to do work that should be carried out by paid staff.

Intern Aware is supported by BECTU and based out of BECTU head office.

Gus Baker said: “The BFI is a publicly funded body and should therefore uphold the highest standards.  I trust that they will come to their senses and start to treat interns appropriately in accordance with the Arts Council’s official guidance.”

 

BFI’s unpaid interns

A report in the Evening Standard today:

BFI fails to get with the jobs programme

14 February 2013

Has the British Film Institute had a rethink over taking on unpaid interns? Labour MP Stella Creasy asked arts minister Ed Vaizey what he made of the BFI ad for 18 unpaid interns, in light of government recommendations that interns are paid the minimum wage. Vaizey replied that the “BFI is currently considering the future of the scheme”.

The BFI, headed by Amanda Nevill, had to cut 72 jobs when its funding was slashed in 2011. It warns that if it has to introduce paid internships this could “dramatically reduce the opportunities that can be afforded, and possibly prevent the continuation of the scheme altogether. This would be a great pity at a time when more young people than ever are seeking entry to the British film industry which, in turn, benefits from such grassroots talent.”

Perhaps the BFI could join the organisations signing up to the Standard’s Ladder For London campaign to help the young find paid apprenticeships?

BFI fails to get with the jobs programme – Diary – News – London Evening Standard

 

BFI Distribution revamp

From Variety yesterday:

British Film Institute bows Distribution Fund

Specialty, British indie pix to share $6.35 mil

LONDON
The British Film Institute has launched its revamped Distribution Fund with an annual budget of £4 million ($6.35 million) to support U.K. distribs and boost audience attendance for British independent and specialized films.
From Monday, the fund will offer coin through four strands: Big Audience, Breakout, New Models and the new Sleepers category.

“They enable us to be a lot clearer about the types of films we want to support and the type of awards we want to make,” Alex Stolz, BFI senior executive distribution and exhibition said. “It’s about identifying those films we think we can add value to and share the risk. We feel it is important to give audiences a choice, particularly outside of London.”

Formerly known as the P&A fund, the change in title also reflects a new approach.

“It’s recognizing that P&A as a term is not so relevant anymore, but also reflects that we are not just supporting theatrical releases,” said Stolz. “In most cases there will probably still be a theatrical element, but we can work on more experimental projects.”

The Big Audience awards will see four to six British films receive a substantial award of up to $476,200 each. “The Big Audience awards are bigger but there will be fewer of them,” said Stolz. “They are for independent British films with strong commercial potential. That is new. We didn’t have a wholly British strand before.”

Distribs will contribute at least half of total P&A spend with BFI coin helping to enhance the release to ensure it reaches at least 100 screens across the U.K. Stolz cites the upcoming “Spike Island,” released April 5 in Blighty by Revolver, as an example of a film backed by the BFI that fits this model.

Breakout awards, of approximately $159,000 to $238,000, are designed to expand audience reach for critically acclaimed independent British films and specialized films from around the world, including docus and foreign language titles. Recent examples of BFI-backed releases in this category include Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone” and Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible.”

“New Models echoes the point that for independent films a conventional release pattern may not always be the best way of reaching an audience,” said Stolz. “We are interested in exploring new models of distribution. We are open to ideas. We don’t want to be prescriptive.”

These may include pop-up cinemas, simultaneous VOD platforms, special cinema events, or anything that shows potential according to Stolz. The BFI recently supported the docu “Ping Pong,” about eight competitors in the over 80s table-tennis championships in Inner Mongolia, which was distributed to U.K. care homes. The BFI is also supporting a multi-platform release in a compressed window for Chilean Academy Award nominated film “No.”

While distribs will need to apply for Big Audience and Breakout awards 14 weeks before planned first release and 16 weeks for New Models, the new Sleepers strand will offer flexible, reactive support to films in release that have achieved exceptional results. The awards will not be applied for but will be pro-active with the BFI Distribution Fund team monitoring critical response, opening weekend results, etc.

“We can go to a distributor and say we can lend support. Is there an opportunity to expand it? Can we help you take advantage of a strong opening, or reviews?” Stolz told Variety. “Sleepers is a complete radical departure designed to support a film once it has opened, which we haven’t done before. It’s not without challenges so we’re going to pilot it to see how it works.”

The Sleeper awards will focus on smaller films with more modest sums up to $63,500.

British Film Institute bows Distribution Fund | Variety

BFI recruits partners for Film Academy Network

Posted in Variety yesterday:

BFI recruits partners for its Film Academy Network

Initiative will help train young people

By VARIETY STAFF

LONDON
The British Film Institute has announced the 24 regional partners in its BFI Film Academy Network, designed to help 16-to-19 year olds develop new skills and build a career in the film industry.

The program, part of the BFI’s “Film Forever: Supporting U.K. Film 2012-2017″ plan unveiled in October, has received £3 million ($4.8 million) from the Dept. for Education in England.

The Film Academy Network will offer courses on development, production, post, marketing and PR, sales, distribution and exhibition to help young people develop commercial and cultural knowledge and skills they will need to start a career.

Participants who complete courses will be offered a range of opportunities including apprenticeships and employment.

“The new academy is open to young people from all backgrounds and will play its part in helping ensure the British film industry remains competitive,” said Michael Gove, secretary of state for education.

Over the next four months the partners, which come from a diverse range of film and media training bodies, universities and delivery experts in the cultural and education sector, will work alongside the BFI and its strategic partners, BAFTA, Creative Skillset and Pinewood Studios, to offer learning experiences to nearly 500 teens.

In March up to 50 highflyers will attend a Talent Campus to help develop their skills further and determine next steps in training opportunities and future employment in the film industry.

“Film and the creative industries as a whole are at the heart of the U.K.’s economic recovery,” said BFI CEO Amanda Nevill.

“Film makes a multi-billion contribution to U.K. GDP. To ensure further growth we must find, encourage and nurture the talent of tomorrow. This project is designed to do just that.”

BFI recruits partners for its Film Academy Network – Entertainment News, Film News, Media – Variety