1. Introduction

Film Hub Midlands supports film exhibitors to reach audiences with independent, British and international film.

As part of the BFI’s UK wide Film Audience Network (FAN) our vision is to build a wider, more diverse cinema audience with a richer appreciation of British and international film. 

FAN’s aims are twofold:

  • to develop a larger, more diverse, confident and sustainable audience for a wider range of independent British and international film - with a primary focus on the collective viewing experience
  • to create a stronger, more connected and confident sector for the distribution and exhibition of independent British and international film.

2. About Pitch Pots

We are now seeking proposals from Hub members that will help us to meet FAN aims during the period April 2022 – December 2022.

Our Pitch Pots are available to help support a risk and try something new. Whether you are new to film exhibition and want to put on your first screening or an established cinema or community screen who wants to trial a new type of programming, we want to help audiences in the Midlands engage with the widest range of film in as many places as possible.

We welcome both in-venue, and hybrid (online and in-venue) proposals for activity.

3. Key information at a glance:

Total amount available: £ 10,000

Financial support: up to £2,000

Applications open: 1 April 2022

Applications close: Rolling until funds are exhausted, or 30 October 2022.

Activity window: April 2022 - December 2022

If you’re planning a project to run into January - March 2023, get in touch as we can be flexible.

4. Focus Areas

We ask that your application must be focussed on one or more of the key priorities for Film Hub Midlands.

Cultural Engagement

Our ambition is to give everyone, everywhere in the UK the opportunity to engage with the richest and most diverse range of great British and international filmmaking, past, present and future. Cultural Cinema should be for everyone, everywhere. Our exhibitions funds aims to maximise the number of audiences engaging with independent film across our region.

Developing young audiences (16-30)

Young audiences are key to the health of the exhibition sector both now and in the future. By engaging with young people, organisations can introduce new audiences to their work and foster future generations of cinemagoers. Supported projects focused on young audiences may target a segment of the 16-30 audience or the group as a whole.

Proposals for projects engaging young people will need to demonstrate that delivery organisations have an appropriate protection policy in place.

Promoting inclusivity

We are committed to ensuring that the breadth of our communities are able to enjoy a range of film and are working to tackle under-representation in the exhibition industry: be that on our screens, in the workforce or among audiences. We are particularly interested in supporting proposals that address under-representation among disabled, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and LGBTQ+ groups.

Showcasing Screen Heritage

Screen heritage material deepens our understanding of both the past and present. We can support activities that showcase various types of screen heritage material. The focus is on material from the national and regional archives and from other moving image collections, as well as fiction films from UK and world cinema history. 

We are especially interested in receiving screen heritage proposals that complement the StoryTrails project which is taking place during the summer and autumn of 2022 and which forms part of UNBOXED : Creativity in the UK. 

StoryTrails is a deep dive into our collective history, an immersion in the lost and untold stories that shaped our towns, cities and communities – and a chance to start a conversation about who we are now and where we’re going next. Using screen heritage in new and innovative ways, StoryTrails will be taking place in Lincoln and Wolverhampton in the Midlands, and across the UK between 1 July and 30 September 2022. If you would like to organise a complementary activity, please see more here and contact us for further information.  

You can read more about these key priorities on our website, including our commitment to the BFI Diversity Standards, environmental sustainability, and bullying and harassment documents. 

Additionally, we welcome the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to the Midlands this summer. We encourage organisations in the city to engage with the cultural opportunities it brings to audiences, and propose projects to engage with it.

All applicants will be asked to demonstrate how their organisation promotes inclusivity among audiences, on screen and in the workforce. We ask that all organisations embrace the Diversity Standards, and priority will be given to organisations that do this in a clear and convincing way.

5. Who can apply?

You must be a Film Hub Midlands Member in order to access our funding opportunities. Our Membership includes organisations of various sizes and shapes - from community cinemas to festivals to multi-arts centres. To become a Member, fill in our Application Form. Please contact us if you are unsure whether you are a current Member.

Organisations must be formally constituted (e.g. as a community interest company or limited liability company registered at Companies House; a charity or trust registered with the Charity Commission; a Local Authority or statutory body; or a voluntary group with a written constitution), and have a business bank account.

6. How to apply for financial support

Application instructions are provided in the following pages. If you have particular access requirements (for example easy read documents), would like to submit your application in another way or have queries about the application process, get in touch with our team who will be happy to discuss this.

We want to make our support accessible to all. If you have access requirements that mean you need assistance when applying, you can request help through the BFI access support. Find out more information here.

In order to apply you will be asked to submit an activity proposal form. The proposal form will give you the opportunity to describe your activity and how it contributes to Film Hub Midland’s priorities. If you have any questions about the fund, the submission process or would like to discuss your proposal before applying please get in touch.

7.  How can I budget my proposal?

Members can request up to £2,000 per proposal.

We want our projects to reach as many people as possible, and we always consider the value we provide per screening and audience member. For proposals that are closer to the maximum amount available (i.e £2,000), we would anticipate projects with a high number of screenings to reflect that. 

If we like your project proposal, we’ll ask you to complete an application budget. To help you do this, we have created a specific budget guidance document that details where our support can help.

 8. Assessment criteria:

Your proposal will be assessed by our external assessors from our advisory group, and the Film Hub Midlands team. They will specifically look at:

  • Activity eligibility: does the proposed activity meet the priorities and timescale of the fund?
  • Audience reach: what are the audience targets, and will the planned activity deliver them? Subsidy per head will be a consideration. Whilst we appreciate projecting admissions in the current context will be difficult please provide estimates.
  • Impact: what is the cultural ambition of the proposed programme? Are relevant partnerships in place to effectively deliver the activity?
  • Organisational experience: is the organisation able to carry out the proposed activity, including delivering marketing, audience development and evaluation plans?
  • Budget: are all reasonable costs considered? Does the budget balance and are all costs eligible? Have access costs been included?
  • Legacy: what are the longer-term plans to continue to reach audiences?
  • BFI Diversity Standards: does the proposal clearly address the BFI Diversity Standards?
  • Geographical: does the proposed activity take place in an area with low film engagement? Or are there a small number of cultural organisations relative to the size of the population?

Please note that we expect this fund to be oversubscribed and may not be able to fund your activity even if it meets the criteria. 

9. Decisions and Feedback

Unsuccessful proposals

If you are unsuccessful in your proposal, you will be contacted by email. Being unsuccessful does not prevent you from accessing future Film Hub opportunities.

Successful proposals

If your proposal is successful, the assessment panel may discuss any required amendments and wish to see a revised plan before approving support. This process can take additional time. Activity timelines will need to accommodate this.

Final confirmation of your support is all then subject to the confirmation of Lottery Funding. 

If there are no recommendations or amendments to be made, our due diligence financial checks will take place, and then you will be sent an email setting out the terms and conditions attached to the financial support.

These will cover payment information, crediting guidelines and monitoring and reporting requirements. All funded activity will need to survey their audiences using our online survey - please bear this in mind when planning your evaluation strategies.

Please note that final confirmation of support will be subject to the availability of Lottery Funding. 

10. Complaints and Appeals

The funding decision is final. Inevitably applications will be turned down and applicants may be disappointed by this result. Formal appeals against the final decision will not be considered unless the applicant has good cause to believe that the procedures for processing the application were not adhered to, or applied in such a way as to prejudice the outcome of the application.

A copy of the Complaints and Appeals procedure can be found here.

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