Big Screen Open Call

Access up to £12,000 for audience-facing activity within the South West region.

Big Screen aims to support film festivals, networked activity and ambitious and innovative audience development initiatives that invite and inspire audiences across the region to understand and enjoy the past, present and future of cinema in all its forms. Read the full guidelines here.

Lifeworks Charity Ordinary Extraordinary Festival made by and for young people with learning disabilities © Bethany Hobbs & Nick Parsons

What is Big Screen?

Big Screen is our largest open fund calling for audience facing film exhibition initiatives in the South West region.

Film Hub South West Members can apply for awards between £2,000 –  £12,000 for activity taking place between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Through this annual open call for proposals, we aim to support larger scale projects, including film festivals, networked activity and ambitious audience development initiatives that invite and inspire audiences across the region to engage with the past, present and future of cinema in all its forms.

We invite proposals for activity that will work towards our belief that cultural cinema should be for everyone, everywhere. We are particularly interested in activity that contributes to breaking down barriers to engagement with film and that recognises the quality and value of difference.

The available support is aimed towards sustaining and expanding existing provision as well as instigating new activity that corresponds to our audience development priorities, below.

Supported activity must focus on one (or more) of these audience development priorities, in line with the BFI 2022 Strategy:

  • Young Audiences*: Activity aimed at, and/or co- produced with young people, defined by BFI as those aged 16 to 30.
  • Diversity, Inclusion & Access*: Activity aimed at, and/or co-produced with, groups under-represented in cinema, particularly people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQI people, women and those from low socio-economic backgrounds, to ensure that a wider range of people can shape and experience cinema-going.In 2020-21, we particularly welcome proposals that include a focus on creating more access for disabled audiences.
  • Reach and Cultural Engagement: Maximising the number of audiences engaging with titles and/or increasing the cultural depth of their experience. We will seek to support activity across a range of rural and urban settings.
  • Screen Heritage & Archive Film: Engaging more people in screen heritage and archive films, with a particular focus on national and regional collections.

*For projects focused on young audiences or vulnerable adults, you will be asked to share your safeguarding and child protection policies with the Film Hub team at final application stage.

What kind of activity will be supported?

Big Screen aims to support large scale and ambitious film exhibition projects that will have a significant impact on audiences in the South West.

Supported activity is expected to focus on one (or more) of our audience development priorities, however, we anticipate projects broadly falling into the following three strands of activity:

1. Film Festivals:

Open to audience-facing film festival activity in the South West that will deliver a vibrant and diverse range of cultural film beyond the mainstream, showcase a complementary range of genre specialisms and reach diverse audiences. This strand can support programmes as part of an annual/bi-annual festival itself or year-round activity such as pop-up screenings delivered by the film festival organisation.

In selecting which festivals to support, we will consider the geographic spread of our investments and prioritise those that can demonstrate significant audience impact, offer a high-quality cultural programme, provide audiences with enhanced opportunities to engage with cultural cinema beyond the mainstream and create added value through partnership working, match funding and legacy.

2. Networked Activity:

Aimed at supporting collaborative activities or sharing of best practice across two or more venues or festival organisations. Activity in this strand might include a touring programme of features or shorts with talent attached travelling to multiple venues/festivals or shared promotional assets to capitalise on a regional or National press opportunity. This strand would support activity across a rural touring network or a partnership project across multiple sites in the South West. Top-up support can be applied for if there is potential for a project to have a wider impact across the Hub.

3. Ambitious Audience Development Initiatives:

Aimed at supporting larger scale audience development initiatives with the potential to have significant audience benefit and/or other relevant impact such as national press. This activity needs to be ambitious in scale and have realistic audience outcomes. This could be a large scale one-off event involving local communities or a longer term initiative such as the launch of a new young person’s ticket offer in tandem with a series of high-profile events. We encourage members to identify partner organisations and other sources of funding in order to maximise the impact of projects.

We encourage innovative approaches to film exhibition so if you come up with a different idea that meets one or more of the audience development priorities, we would welcome your proposal.

Please read the full guidelines for details of activity we can and cannot support and additional considerations, including the BFI Diversity Standards and Environmental Sustainability.

How to Submit your Proposal

Big Screen is an annual open call with a fixed deadline for applications.

Start by reading the full guidelines to ensure your activity fits the eligibility criteria and investment priorities outlined. There is a two stage application process:

1. Expression of Interest (EOI) – Deadline: 5pm 21st Feb 2020

Complete the Online EOI form, uploading:

– A draft budget (see template)

Following the EOI deadline the Film Hub Team will provide feedback on your proposal and offer guidance on developing your full application for submission.

2. Final Application – Deadline Extended: 1st May 2020

Complete the Full Online Form, uploading:

A final budget 

– A KPI Summary Sheet

– A copy of your Child Protection & Safeguarding policies*


You can download a Word version of the Expression of Interest Form here and the Final Application Form here.

We suggest that you work from an offline version and copy and paste your responses into the online form at submission stage. Note that you will not be able to save your application half way through.

A copy of your expression of interest and your full application will be emailed to you on submission.

Big Screen Timetable 2020

15th January               –     Big Screen Guidelines Published

5pm, 21st February   –     Deadline for EOIs

5pm, 2nd March         –    Deadline for feedback to be given to applicants

5pm, 1st May               –     Deadline for final applications (EXTENDED)

1st June                       –      Decisions announced

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