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.”


Film Forever BFI five year plan

Today the bfi launched its strategic plan for 2012-17. The plan can be accessed here:

BFI – Film Forever Supporting UK Film BFI Plan 2012-2017 October 2012 digital edition

Amanda Nevill promises a ‘fresh approach to film education’

From Screen Daily  today:

BFI announces “pillars” of its Five Year Plan For Film

18 April, 2012 |

By Andreas Wiseman

Amanda Nevill today promised a “fresh approach” from the BFI in its Five Year Forward Plan For Film; government and BFI to officially respond to Chris Smith’s Film Policy Review on May 14.

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill today disclosed the “three pillars” of the BFI’s Five Year Forward Plan For Film.

Nevill said the Plan would be “broadly structured around three pillars” consisting of “a major commitment to education and a better deal for audiences across the UK; an emphasis on creating a supportive home for filmmakers across the value chain; and new initiatives to unlock our film heritage.”

Nevill told a gathering of UK industry at a Westminster Forum Projects seminar that the BFI will launch its industry consultation on the Plan on May 14th, and that the BFI and the government will officially respond to Chris Smith’s Film Policy Review on the same day.

She told the audience that the BFI will be consulting the industry on how it should spend the estimated £57m it is likely to receive from the Lottery in each of the next five years.

Nevill said the main thrust of the Five Year Forward Plan would be “bold” and that the BFI would “try things it hadn’t done before.”

“The Future Plan is going to be heavily influenced by the Film Policy Review,” said Nevill. “Our emphasis is going to be on the innovative and the entrepeneurial. It is up to us to take risks that private money can not and to grow future generations of audiences. We’ll be investing in new voices as well as established voices”.

Nevill added: “There will be a fresh approach to film education; a fresh approach to building audiences; a fresh approach within the BFI itself to bring new thinking to its creative, industrial and cultural role; and a fresh approach to how we invest in development, production and distribution. We are determined to be bold and brave and we will try things we haven’t done before.”

During the seminar, Nevill broke down the level of public money invested in film last year and estimated that the BFI would have around £57m in Lottery funding to invest in the UK industry in each of the next five years, above and beyond its government grant in aid:

“Last year close on £350m worth of public money was invested in UK film. This was made up primarily of the £200m from our highly effective tax relief, government grant in aid, Lottery money and broadcaster investment.

“Of that £350m, the money available for the BFI to invest is circa £79m. £22m is the grant in aid from government. £14m of this goes to the BFI for our directly funded activities such as the national archive. We are able to generate another £26m from that £14m.

“Then there is the approximately £57m per annum of Lottery funding. That is the estimate of what we think we’ll be able to spend over the next five years. It’s this Lottery money that we will be consulting on later this spring.

“We will also be entrepeneurial in raising money from other sources to complement our public funding. The question is how we can make the most difference with this investment,” she said.

BFI announces “pillars” of its Five Year Plan For Film | News | Screen


Plans for new BFI national library go ahead

BFI National Library February 2012
I am pleased to start this bulletin with the exciting news that we have been given the go-ahead for our plans to modernise the BFI National Library.In the first phase we will relocate the service from Stephen Street to a new purpose-built space at BFI Southbank, we will increase digitisation and, from 1 April 2012, access will be free of charge. Following survey feedback from many of our users the new Library will also offer a Saturday service and regular longer weekday opening hours.This significant refurbishment will make the Library more accessible, attract new users, and integrate its considerable resources into our public and cultural programmes.

The project will be carried out over two to three months starting in early March. The new Library will be accessed from June 2012 with a formal launch in September 2012.

The final plans were noted by the BFI Board of Governors last week after months of intensive investigation into the design, costings, feasibility and business case including a tender process for architects and contractors.

Creative vision

The Library will be relocated to the former Gallery space at BFI Southbank enabling us, for the first time, to develop a single, coherent creative vision across the venue and to bring together the whole BFI offer in one place – from the Mediatheque and programming, to Education and Collections.

The relatively short build and relocation timeframe offers the BFI some great opportunities as well as a big challenge. Principally, it enables us to take full advantage of the huge benefits of opening the Library in time for the busy 2012 summer with the Cultural Olympiad and the Olympics creating an unprecedented focus on the capital. The South Bank will be at the centre of cultural activities and the Library can be launched right into the heart of our own contribution to the Olympiad.

Progress reports

For more information on the project and regular updates, including questions on membership refunds, changes to service hours, etc, please visit our website where we will also add news as the refurbishment progresses. For frequently asked questions about the proposed Library changes, click here.

Heather Stewart, Creative Director, BFI