About Film Feels Connected

Film Feels is the framework for BFI FAN’s UK-wide cinema season, with its own identity and marketing, designed to reach key audiences and support your own programming and audience development.  

Our aim is to inspire programming that offers the viewer something extra - whether that’s critical engagement, entertaining special events or rediscovered works presented in new ways - that foregrounds the power of cinema as a collective, bigger than life experience.  We want to offer audiences a chance to discover films across eras, genres and national borders, and the venues and festivals that curate them

Film Feels returns for 2020, once again celebrating film's unique ability to transport us, to illuminate ideas, and to spark a conversation -  this time looking at how we do that online while our sector is locked down and our audiences isolated.  

It is open to all film exhibitors who are BFI FAN members and can present additional audience development activity online, during lockdown

We are offering funding  up to £1,500 for organisations to present and trial online engagement activity as part of the season.

Key elements of the programme

  • Small-scale funding for special events & curated programmes delivered online
  • Media campaign, brand assets and social media activation to broaden awareness 
  • Advice, guidance and resources to help you trial new activity online
  • Advice, guidance and resources to help you broaden your reach and deliver accessible activity
  • UK-wide listings resource to collate and promote BFI FAN activity
Still from Girlhood
GIRLHOOD, dir Celine Sciamma, France, 2014

What is the timeline?

Film Feels Connected  proposals  can be submitted at any time before Friday 3 July 2020.

Applications will be assessed in two rounds:

  • Round 1: Monday 15 June, aiming to confirm awards by Friday 19 June
  • Round 2: Monday 6 July, aiming to confirm awards by Friday 10 July

The final deadline for applications is midnight on Friday 3 July

We expect you to deliver your activity between 1 June and 31 August 2020, beginning while venue closures across the UK are in effect.   

We appreciate that currently, timelines for venue reopening and UK easing of lockdown is dependent on multiple factors, and that some venues may reopen sooner than others.  

The Film Feels Connected campaign and listings will run until the end of August 2020.

How much funding is available?

You can apply for up to £1,500 to support online event and engagement costs as part of the season.

What sort of costs can I apply for? 

Costs for your project could include:

  • Social media spend such as  boosted posts or targeted advertising
  • Graphic design (note funded projects will need to follow FF brand guidance)
  • Host and talent speakers fees  
  • A reasonable estimate of coordination time 
  • Web or platform hosting fees
  • Captioning or other access resources 

If you are applying for the maximum level of funding we will expect to see a detailed breakdown of costs in your budget.

Costs we will NOT support

Our funding is primarily for audience development therefore we will not fund film production, standalone publications or talent development activity.

We will not support distributor costs as our funding is for film exhibitors that are part of the BFI Film Audience Network.

We will not support costs to develop a standalone streaming platform for your organisation as this is beyond the limitations of our available funding and timeline.  The focus of this project is on retaining, and engaging, new audiences for independent cinema, as an interim measure during lockdown.


still from I Am Not A Witch
I AM NOT A WITCH, dir Rungano Nyoni, UK/FR/Zambia, 2017

Thematic programming prompt

In 2020 Film Feels looks at how we remain Connected during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Your own take on connection may simply be focused on finding ways to reach and engage audiences for independent and specialised film at home. 

Alternatively, you may wish to consider specific themes for your programming relating to the prompt, such as:

  • Digital innovation, virtual worlds 
  • Global perspectives, policy, utopia 
  • Community 
  • Love, friends, misfits, quests
  • Isolation 

Screening fees, rights and licensing

We anticipate that most projects delivered as part of this season will utilise existing VOD or streaming services, such as MUBI, Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player or broadcast ‘watch later’ facilities - including both paid and free to watch collections.

We will not support projects that use unlicensed content or encourage piracy, and will expect you to indicate the sources you intend to use for your activity, in your application.

Where you are able to negotiate exclusive content such as screening work directly licensed from a filmmaker, we will expect you to ensure the security of their content and to negotiate compensation with the rights holder, directly.

For more information about different kinds of film content available for UK audiences, take a look at our main pages for links to:

Still from Call me by Your Name
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, dir Luca Guadagnino, Italy/US, 2017

What we are looking for

We expect funded projects to go beyond the everyday, making use of public funds to enhance or deepen audience experience, or to reach those who previously have been under -represented or disengaged with independent cinema.  

Low level social media interactions such as tweetalongs, watch parties, can be supported through our channels and listings, or a small funding contribution toward marketing staff time, but our priority for funding will be to support projects that offer ‘something extra’.

These might include:

  • Projects that offer additional enhancements to deepen the film watching experience - e.g. talent interviews, critical analysis.  
  • Projects that innovate - for example playing with interactive marketing or interactive viewing.
  • Projects that clearly embed access and inclusion, targeting new priority audiences, or under-represented groups for your organisation. 

Audience target

As this project is focusing on innovation and quality of experience, we expect you to target your audience and provide realistic estimates for the number of people you will engage with.  

Although the internet offers ‘global reach’, it’s a crowded market with a lot of competition for attention.  We advise you to think carefully about who you want to engage with and how you will reach them.

You may also need to factor in audiences for activity after any ‘live’ element, if you plan to record your activity or make it available after any initial event.  Please detail these considerations  in your application.

Access and Inclusion

We expect you to think about access for your project, particularly if you are targeting people who don't typically attend or have access to your events.

We will ask you to tell us what you will do to remove barriers to participation as part of your application.

Your answer will show us how your project addresses standard C (relating to audience development activity) of the BFI Diversity Standards.

Still from Support the Girls
SUPPORT THE GIRLS, dir Andrew Bujalski, US 2018

How to submit your proposal

Link to the application form and budget template download are available at the bottom of this page.

  1. Read the guidance for the programme (this page) to make sure your activity is eligible for support
  2. Apply using the online form
  3. Download and complete a project budget using the template provided  and email this to filmfeels@filmhubmidlands.org 

Our aim is to offer a transparent, and simple process. Our application form asks for key information about what you will do, the films and critical theme you want to focus on, and who you are aiming to reach so that we can see how well it fits with the season and whether the proposal is realistic.  The more specific you can be about these elements the better we can assess your proposal.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like some help with completing the form or budget template. 

Your Access Needs

If you have access requirements that mean you need assistance when applying for funds, you may be able to request financial support through the BFI Access Support Scheme. Find out more information at https://www.bfi.org.uk/supporting-uk-film/film-fund/access-support-bfi-film-fund-applicants  

Alternatively, if you are having problems with the application process, please contact us at filmfeels@filmhubmidlands.org and we’ll try to help.  

Due to lockdown our office number is currently unavailable, but we can call you if you prefer to speak with someone directly.


still from Queen and Slim
QUEEN AND SLIM, dir Melina Matsoukas, US, 2019

How we assess your project

Your project will be  reviewed by Film Hub Midlands team and may be referred to one of our programme advisors for a second opinion.

We’ll look at your proposal and budget to make a decision about whether we can support it.  As part of this we will consider:

  • the creative quality of the idea, partnerships and team behind it;
  • whether it will reach any priority audiences for BFI FAN;
  • whether the project is realistic in scope and audience target.

Letting you know if you’ve been successful

We will make decisions twice during the funding period, as detailed at the top of this page.

If we’re unable to support you within this funding round, we’ll let you know within 2 weeks of the relevant deadline and then we’ll offer feedback and advice to help you move forward. 

If we agree to support your project, we’ll send you an offer detailing target audience and any award conditions, which will then form the basis of the funding agreement. 

Successful Ideas - Agreement

Once we are all happy with the plan and agreed outcomes, we will send a short agreement to confirm the terms of your award, and the project you will deliver.

As this award will be coming from National Lottery Funds we want to be clear about what  will be expected from you. When you receive your agreement it will contain clauses on the following: 


We ask you to use the BFI Film Audience Network and BFI logo plus season-specific branding on your website and marketing materials. This includes prominent acknowledgement of the National Lottery, as it is crucial that we promote to the general public that your project is supported by the National Lottery funding.

Evaluation and Reporting 

It is very important that the success of projects supported by FAN is evaluated and learned from. We try to make this process as easy for you as possible, so you can concentrate on making the project a success. We ask you to report on progress at the end your project through three templates: 

1 - Narrative Report 

We ask you to complete a short narrative report, identifying highlights and challenges, and any key learning. 

2 - Audience Admissions

We ask you for a list of screenings and admissions data, based on audience surveys which we’ll provide to you.  These may look a little different to the templates normally used by FAN, so do check your agreement and offer information to make sure you have the right template when you deliver your activity.

3 - Final budget

At the end of the project we’ll ask you for a complete expenditure report, to make sure the funds have been spent how we agreed.

Demographic and Survey Data 

We ask you to use the Film Audience Network audience survey, to capture information back from your audience. We’ll identify the number of responses we expect back depending on the size of your project. 

We only ask for this data in an aggregated form, and won’t be asking you to transfer any personal data about your audience. 

Depending on your project, we may ask you to identify additional metrics that indicate how a project is progressing.