Rolling Audience Development Pitch Pot

Opening soon: Apply to the Pitch Pot for awards from £100 up to £2,000 per year.

The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) reaches out across the UK to ensure people have opportunities to watch and enjoy a diverse range of films and moving image, regardless of geography or circumstance.  

As part of FAN, Watershed, the Film Hub Lead Organisation for the south west has been awarded funding from the BFI National Lottery to support member organisations from across the region to deliver activity to realise this ambition against the priorities set out in in BFI’s Screen Culture 2033 strategy.  

Apply to this rolling fund for between £100 – £2,000 to support the costs of in-person film exhibition activity such as speaker/hosting fees, marketing and promotion and presentation. The activity proposed has to take place between now and March 2025, target specific audience groups and show how the funding is necessary to reach those identified audiences. 

For larger scale activity, refer to the FAN Film Exhibition Fund 2024-26 

What is the Audience Pitch Pot?

The Pitch Pot is a rolling fund with a short turnaround that can be used to support FAN member organisations in the south west to deliver in-person events that bring audiences together for a communal viewing experience in line with priorities outlined below and the BFI’s Screen Culture 2033 strategy 

Members can apply for up to a maximum of £2,000 for activity taking place between now and March 2025. (Please note: The fund will roll until depleted, therefore, if empty, not all activity can be supported until the new financial year)  

Film Hub Priorities

The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) reaches out across the UK to ensure people have the maximum possible opportunity to watch and enjoy a diverse range of films and moving image, regardless of geography or circumstance.

The primary focus of the pitch pot is in-person events which bring audiences together.

The fund is open to South West based exhibitors that are Film Audience Network member organisations including cinemas, mixed arts centres, community cinemas, film societies, film festivals, touring operators and other film exhibition organisations.

Cultural Engagement

The main objective of the Audience Pitch Pot is to support exhibitors to screen a diverse range of films and moving images for audiences with cultural value across the region whilst engaging with the principles set out in the BFI’s Screen Culture 2033 strategy.


Our commitment to inclusion

Public Engagement 

The primary focus of the Film Exhibition Fund is to support in-person events that bring audiences together for a communal viewing experience, in particular screenings of UK independent and international films.  


Projects which support audiences to experience moving image such as television, digital media and broader screen activity such as XR, VR, and AR will be considered where this represents a valuable opportunity for audience development in line with our priorities. Online activities are not a priority but will be considered where they add value and create meaningful engagement (for example, by removing barriers and improving access for disabled audiences.) 

BFI priorities 

Beyond this, priority will be given to projects which effectively respond to one or more of the following three focus areas which reflect the BFI Screen Culture 2033 strategy: 

1) Creating opportunities for young audiences:  

We want to support organisations in engaging with children, families and young people (aged 25 or under), nurturing future generations of cinemagoers with an appetite for a more diverse screen culture. This might include young curators/influencers schemes, marketing campaigns, targeted programming and ticket initiatives, collaborations with talent development programmes such as BFI Academy South West and Into Film are encouraged but note that our support is focussed on public facing activity rather than formal education programmes. Organisations will need to demonstrate that they have safeguarding policies in place. If you are not sure where to start, refer to our guide about working with young people or get in touch.  

2) Tackling barriers to inclusion 

We want to improve access to screen culture for people across the South West by lowering barriers such as prohibitive costs, lack of cultural provision, lack of accessible screenings and threshold anxiety. We are also committed to tackling under-representation in the exhibition industry: be that on our screens, in the workforce or among audiences. Particular attention will be paid to projects that address social, economic and geographical barriers for audiences in new and meaningful ways such as activity led by and for communities that prioritise and represent lived experiences or activity that prioritises outreach with community engagement at their heart.  

If you are not sure where to start, get in touch with the Film Hub team. We can also can put you in touch with a range of curators that have participated in our Beyond Boundaries 360 Programme.  

3) Screen Heritage 

The fund can support activity that showcases archive materials that reflect the diversity of the UK and the region; tapping into national and regional archive collections (such as The Box Archive), and other moving image collections. Please ensure you have contacted the relevant collection before seeking support from us and consult resources such as our guide to working with The Box and FAN’s best practice guide for working with archive collections

BFI Diversity Standards 

All project proposals should take an inclusive approach to audience development, setting out how they will respond to the updated BFI diversity standards. This means giving clear consideration to fair and diverse representation on screen, in the workforce (where applicable) and ensuring that audiences feel welcome in your cinema spaces.  

If you have access requirements that mean you need assistance when seeking funds, you may be able to request this through the BFI Access Support scheme and/or email the hub team here. 

Who is eligible to apply?

The fund is open to south west based exhibitors that are Film Audience Network member organisations including cinemas, mixed arts centres, community cinemas, film societies, film festivals, touring operators and other film exhibition organisations.  

We particularly welcome and encourage proposals from organisations who are currently underrepresented in the exhibition sector. These include organisations led by working class, black and global majority people, disabled people, and LGBTQIA+ people.  

FAN Membership is free. To become a member of Film Hub South West, take a moment to fill in our application. We can only accept applications from legally constituted organisations operating in the south west (including Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.) 


What kind of activity will the Pitch Pot support?

The Audience Pitch Pot support can be used to complement your normal film programme through enhanced or targeted marketing or to reach new audiences through additional activity.  

You might, for example, apply for £250 of support for a targeted social media campaign to reach a particular community for upcoming independent titles, or you could apply for a larger award to test out a new approach to engaging audiences such as a young ambassador scheme or a season of accessible screenings. You can also apply for support towards accessibility costs such as a BSL interpreter and wraparound activity such as a Q&A, a post screening walk, a panel discussion, workshop or an ‘in conversation’ at a venue.   

Proposals can be for one-off events or for a series of screenings that fit with the priorities outlined above.  

Eligible Costs  

  • Any cost that relates directly to the delivery of screening events such as:  
  • Film rights and print transport   
  • Activity-specific staffing costs – e.g., curation, marketing or project management expenses   
  • Venue hire and activity-specific equipment costs.   
  • Marketing, Advertising and PR campaigns   
  • Event costs for enhanced screenings – e.g., speaker, talent or artists fees   
  • Volunteer and evaluation expenses   
  • Accessibility costs – e.g., creating accessible supporting materials, subtitling fees.   
  • Outreach and community inclusion costs – e.g., providing transport for isolated audiences.   
  • Audience development expenses – e.g., young programmer’s workshops   
  • Rights clearances and curation fees for screen heritage materials   
  • Costs related to online activity such as web platform of hosting fees.  


This list is not exhaustive and other items may be considered. All proposed spend should contribute to the activity in your application.  

Beyond this, there are some areas not suitable for support from the Audience Pitch Pot.  


Ineligible Costs  

  • Filmmaking costs (including filmmaker’s workshops), support for filmmakers to develop or distribute their own work, or for programmes that exclusively engage filmmaker audiences.  
  • Capital costs or core-funding, covering structural repairs or general administration not directly related to your activity.  
  • Programmes entirely comprised of free events, un-ticketed events or screenings where audience numbers cannot be reported.  
  • General running costs of organisations not specifically related to the activity.  
  • Activity that should be covered by statutory education, including events taking place on school grounds/in school hours.  
  • Events not primarily focused on moving image exhibition, such as as feature films or documentary, archive footage, VR/AR/XR.  
  • Activity covered by existing funding arrangements such as the FAN Exhibition Fund or other Film Hub-administered exhibition funds. 
  • Programmes that duplicate provision in the same area  
  • Activity taking place in a venue not open to the public – e.g. members-only venues.  
  • Drive-in screenings.  
  • Fully free-ticketed events. 

How do I apply?

The Pitch Pot is currently open for activity taking place online or in-venue between 6 April 2023 and 1 March 2024. It’ll soon be eligible for in-venue activity between April 2024 and March 2025.  

For accessibility, and for those who want to see the plan their application offline first, a Word version can be found here, and at the bottom of the page.   

What happens next?

Proposals will be assessed by the Film Hub team against the eligibility criteria and the fit with the fund’s priorities and BFI Diversity Standards.  We aim to turn around proposals within 2 weeks, however, during peak periods, this could be up to four weeks. Please factor this into your ‘lead-in’ time for your event or activity when applying to the fund. 

If you have any questions about the Audience Pitch Pot, the submission process or would like to discuss your event or proposal, please drop us a line at 


  • Pitch Pot Application 2023 WORD Download

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