What is the UK Film Council and what funding does it provide?

The UK Film Council

The UK Film Council is the Government backed lead agency for film in the UK. The UK Film Council is in place to ensure that the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are represented effectively throughout the UK and abroad.

The UK Film Council supports new filmmakers, funds British films ensuring that a wider choice of films is available for audiences throughout the UK. The UK Film Council also invests in training and promotes Britain as an international filmmaking location therefore raising the profile of British Films abroad.

Lottery Funding

The National Lottery is an intrinsic part of improving culture throughout the UK and is often used to fund various institutions throughout the UK of which film is one. The Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport will decide and how much of the lottery money will be provided to the different industries. It is the job of the UK Film Council to then decide how this money will be funded in relation to film.

Funding Provided by the UK Film Council

The UK Film Council provides funding in relation to the following areas:

  • Script development

  • Film production

  • Short films

  • Film distribution and export

  • Film education, culture and archives

  • Festivals and audience support schemes

  • Skills

  • National and regional film

What kind of funding is available from the UK Film Council?

The funding that is available from the UK Film Council is in relation to the following:

  • Development Fund

  • Premiere Fund

  • New Cinema Fund

  • Prints and Advertising Fund

Development Fund

The Development fund is required to broaden the quality, range and ambition of film projects which are being developed in the UK.

There are two programmes through which you can apply for the development fund. They are as follows:

  1. First Feature Film Development Programme

  2. Feature Film Development Programme

First Feature Film Development Programme

The First Feature Film development programme is used to identify and support emerging filmmakers, screenwriters, writers, production teams and directors who have never before made a feature film or who have not as yet had a feature film released or broadcast on UK television.

Feature Film Development Programme

The Feature Film Development programme is designed for producers, production companies and filmmakers who can demonstrate a track record of success in feature films who are looking for some form of funding or financing partnerships.

Premiere Fund

The aim of the Premiere Fund is to invest in filmmakers and commercial films which have wide audience appeal both in the UK and worldwide.

The main objective of the Premiere Fund is ensure a greater pool of experience and expertise in the UK Film Industry by funding and making investments in specific projects, ensuring long term growth for the industry in the UK.

New Cinema Fund

The New Cinema fund has the following objectives:

  • To encourage innovation and excellence in form and content

  • To discover and develop new film talent

  • To attract established film talent working outside the mainstream

  • To encourage the use of new technology in production and distribution

  • To develop talent and infrastructure in specific regions of the UK

  • To ensure equality of opportunity and promote social inclusion and cultural diversity

  • To ensure films supported by the Fund are good enough to attain effective distribution and exhibition

Prints and Advertising Fund

The Prints and Advertising Fund aims to benefit audiences by increasing the following:

  • Access to the range of films available

  • Opportunities to view such films across the UK

  • Audience awareness of the range of films potentially available

How does the UK Film Council make decisions in relation to distributing the funding?

All distributing bodies in the UK which are appointed by the UK Government to oversee the distribution of lottery funding must act in accordance with the National Lottery Act 1993 as amended by the National Lottery (Funding of Endowments) Act 2003.

How will Lottery Funding be distributed by the UK Film Council?

If the UK council wishes to provide lottery funding to a particular project then they will do so through the award of a grant. However, the lottery money provided to the UK Film Council is not unlimited meaning that not all applications for funding will be met with the award of a grant.

Can I appeal a decision by the UK Film Council in not providing me with a grant?

If you have applied for lottery funding but have been rejected for a grant you cannot use the complaints procedure provided by the UK Film Council to appeal the decision. Once a decision has been made in relation to the award of a grant then that decision will be final.

Is there anything which I can complain to the UK Film Council in relation to?

All distributing organisations according to the National Lottery Act as amended have to apply the same complaints procedure. The UK Film Council also subscribes to a specific Customer Service Charter.

Accordingly you can make a complaint to the UK Film Council if you believe any of the following scenarios have occurred:

  • There has been discrimination or you have been treated unfairly

  • You have not been provided with access to certain information

  • That the proper procedures for assessing your application were not adhered to

  • That your relevant application was not taken notice of

If you feel that the above scenarios have occurred then you can make a complaint direct to the UK Film Council.

Is there any other way in which I can make a complaint?

There are two other avenues in which you can make a complaint to the UK Film Council. They are as follows:

  1. The Parliamentary Ombudsman

  2. Judicial Review

The Parliamentary Ombudsman

You can make a complaint directly to the Parliamentary Ombudsman if you feel that you have suffered injustice due to maladministration by a public organisation. However, the Ombudsman will not normally investigate complaints which have not been through the complaints procedure set by the UK Film Council.

Judicial Review

You can seek judicial review in relation to a decision made by the UK Film Council. However, the judge cannot rule that the UK Film Council must change a funding decision they can only pose the question that the UK Film Council reconsider their decision.