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Film council to help bring cinema to rural areas

Film buffs living in areas without a local cinema will get more opportunities to see new films, thanks to a new £500,000 National Lottery funded initiative unveiled by the UK Film Council today.
From today film clubs and local film societies, community groups and mobile film exhibitors can now apply to the Digital Fund for Non-Theatrical Exhibition (Digital Fund NTE) for up to £5,000 to help buy high quality DVD-based digital projection equipment.
Last year UK film fans made a massive 167 million visits to the cinema, however large areas of the country, especially very rural locations, have little if any convenient access to a cinema. Equally, for social, cultural, economic and other structural reasons, large sections of the country are disenfranchised from the cinema-going experience.
Film clubs, societies and mobile cinemas often serve a vital role in bringing the cinema experience to communities that would otherwise be excluded from a wider film choice than their local cinema. The objective of the Digital Fund (NTE), therefore, is to help ensure that, both demographically and geographically, film is available to the widest possible audience and that the range of films exhibited in this context is as diverse as possible. The UK Film Council believes that the use of digital technology may be instrumental in assisting current or aspiring ‘exhibitors’ to achieve this objective.
Successful applicants will receive an award of between 50-80% of the purchase cost of the equipment, capped at a maximum award of £5,000.
An application may be made by groups, organisations or companies based in the UK who can demonstrate that they are existing or aspiring ‘non-traditional’ exhibitors who: wish to utilise the extra benefits afforded by digital exhibition equipment, or who wish to expand their activities through the additional use of DVD-based digital exhibition equipment and media; or are experienced cinema operators who already, or wish to, operate mobile cinema ventures.
Announcing the new initiative Pete Buckingham, the UK Film Council’s Head of Distribution and Exhibition said: “Film is a uniquely powerful medium which informs, entertains, and inspires, and we want to ensure that the widest range of cinema is accessible to all sections of the community. Film clubs, societies and mobile cinemas often provide audiences with much-needed film choice, particularly in rural areas where there might not be an accessible local cinema. This fund is a recognition of just how important these groups are in ensuring that the film-going experience is available for all.”

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