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19/04/2004

British Film Institute unveils major new initiatives

The British Film Institute (bfi) have announced a raft of new initiatives, including a regional network of mediatheques, on-line ‘virtual bfi’ and a young people’s office.
The moves follow a nine-month strategic review involving a radical overhaul of the entire organisation. The initiatives have been employed to ensure that the bfi reaches even more people, operates more efficiently and continues seeking new partnerships to promote UK film and television culture and heritage.
The strategic review is the result of extensive consultation with organisations, key industry figures and bfi members, the public, and every member of staff, as well as visits to the nations and regions, which will continue as part of the bfi's future work.
The review proposes seven key new initiatives. These include: a new focus and increase in investment for the National Film and Television Archive; archive portals in cities and town across the UK, where viewers can enjoy the best of classic film and television and contemporary cinema on demand; ‘virtual bfi’ – the bfi’s film and television database will be available on-line within two years; a ‘Test Bed’ Film Centre, an experimental prototype for the purpose-built landmark Film Centre. The revitalised National Film Theatre on London’s South Bank will include a variety of new features including contemporary film/art installations and exhibition areas; a Young People’s initiative and a National Partnership office, which will create a single point of contact for all UK film organisations.
Following the strategic review, the UK Film Council has confirmed an increase in the funding it gives the bfi by £1.5 million per annum, and the bfi is making more effective use of existing resources, operating with 50 less posts than nine months ago through a policy of natural wastage. Although some further reduction in staff numbers is envisaged, this will be carefully managed with voluntary redundancies and opportunities for staff re-training.
bfi Chairman Anthony Minghella welcomed the new initiatives. He said: “All the staff, under bfi Director, Amanda Nevill, have worked tremendously hard to produce this review and we are all committed to making changes, while celebrating the bfi's many long-standing successes and achievements."
(KmcA)
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