The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

BFI Roadshow 2014

The British Film Institute has been holding Roadhsow events around the country for several months, outlining progress on their “Film Forever” initiative.  20th January saw the roadshow return to London for its final fling…Linda James, Jayne Kirkham, Anna Home and Martin Franks went along as CMF representatives.Anna Home reports...
The Roadshow opened with Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive of the British Film Institute and other BFI speakers outlining the various programmes in Film Forever, They highlighted the commercial and economic aspects and the fact that these are of special interest to Government.

This theme was repeated in the next session, which was mainly about the up-coming year-long China initiative, Electric Shadows, which will involve all areas of the BFI.

In the afternoon there were workshops on funding, education, audiences and archive.


A theme which emerged from both funding sessions (one about the Film Fund and the other about the Lottery Fund) was that the BFI supports talent rather than specific genres. When quizzed by CMF, Ben Roberts, Director of the Film Fund, spoke of a ‘big problem’ with family films in terms of cost, marketing and distribution. As a result it's hard to find viable projects. He said there was a need for some distributors to be prepared to take on the studios and their big marketing budgets.

The BFI are, however, supporting a number of family films, including Bill and Get Santa, not because they were investing in family for the sake of doing so, but because the projects were both ‘hilarious’. Get Santa will be directed by Chris Smith.


The BFI’s Head Curator, Robin Butler outlined their archive policy. There are huge amounts of material needing digitisation, and even when that is completed there may be long-term issues with ‘preserving the digit’ in that the long-term preservation of digital materials opens up another set of questions....

He drew attention to the new BFI Player as a way of making the archive more accessible to the public, although the CMF’s suggestion of a children’s BFI Player seemed to surprise him. He stressed the work being done by the Into Film programme (see below) using archive footage and films in schools.


Despite only 6% of film being viewed in cinemas, the ‘cinema experience’ is perceived as crucial. Eddie Berg, Director of Partnerships, outlined the plan to ‘expand education opportunities and boost audience choice’. Reaching 9 to 15 year olds is essential to this.

This policy will be implemented via the regional hubs and will include themed sessions. The next one (in April) will focus on The Cinema of Childhood - films for and about kids, which is good to hear.


Paul Gerhardt, Director of Education, explained that the Film Academy had £26 million to spend over four years in order to provide film education in all schools. The brief is ‘enabling, watching, understanding, making’.

Teachers will be trained to deliver the programme, which is backed by Michael Gove. They also have a mission to find and encourage talent in kids.

Paul Reeve, CEO of Into Film, the agency set up to stimulate film literacy,  film watching and film making amongst kids and young people – previously known as Film Nation, wants film to be at the heart of cultural learning, both in terms of formal and informal learning.  There will be a lot of emphasis on the history of film, working in conjunction with the archive department.

Both these programmes are still in the consultation phase and will be signed off this coming April.

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