Apply for the BFI National Lottery Audience Projects Fund


You can apply for an award between £20,000 and £200,000 with an upper limit of £500,000 for projects of exceptional scale and ambition.

For research and development (R&D) projects you can apply for between £10,000 and £20,000.

Rewards will be awarded based on the scale, ambition and scope of each project.

Our decision to offer funding for multiple years will be based on evidence that your project will strongly meet the objectives and outcomes of the fund and that your project outcomes cannot be achieved in a shorter timeframe.

For multi-year proposals, your application must be based on a single two- or three-year grant running from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2026. If you are successful, funding will be disbursed based on your expected expenses over those two or three years. three years, subject to:

  • Satisfactory performance – you are able to continue to operate your business within the contractual terms of the funding offer and the parameters of these guidelines, and provided you can satisfactorily demonstrate (through routine reporting) that you are able to remain financially viable until the end of the term
  • Receipt and approval by IBF routine reports, including progress KPIss and costs to date, and which may include proposed changes to the forward budget and activity plans to accommodate learnings and changing circumstances, and details of planned activity as these plans materialize

The amount of funding that IBF may make available for the second or third year may be affected by the continued availability of National Lottery funds at anticipated levels. If we need to reduce funding for a year, we will endeavor to provide sufficient notice and work with you to modify plans accordingly.

The Audience Projects Fund typically offers funding in the form of a grant. However, the IBF complies with UK grant legislation in its operation of the Hearing Projects Fund. Where the proposed use of funding includes a grant, additional conditions will be attached to the funding offer and if the project is expected to result in commercial gain for the applicant, the IBF will provide funding in the form of a recoupable grant repayable from these earnings. We may request additional information at the application stage if this is deemed to be the case.

Your project

Funding can only be used to support projects that are national in scope and reach that meet IBF Objectives and results of the national lottery.

You can apply if your project:

  • Takes place in the UK
  • Is intended for a national audience
  • Is in the public interest
  • Begins 16 weeks or more after the time of application

Types of eligible projects

Eligible projects include:

  • Marketing actions
  • Film festivals
  • Film distribution, including cinema and online
  • Installations and immersive tours
  • Programs / seasons on site
  • Touring projects
  • Indoor audience analysis projects

To be eligible for R&Dyour project must:

  • Develop audiences from specific underrepresented backgrounds
  • Have the potential to grow and reach a national audience
  • Must take creative, operational and economic risks

When you are not eligible

You are not eligible to apply for the IBF Funds for National Lottery audience projects if:

  • The focus of your project is talent development (e.g. panels or workshops on filmmaking skills)
  • Filmmakers and/or students are the target audiences
  • The project involves large-scale capital expenditures (small-scale expenditures if directly related to the delivery and results of the project can be included)
  • The project emphasizes art forms other than independent UK and international film and wider film activity
  • The project is aimed primarily at local audiences — IBF Film Audience Network has opportunities for local projects, so applicants should contact their local Film Hub for details.
  • The project includes and/or promotes the exclusive availability to a VOD Platform

Funds are not intended to replace or supersede existing funding or revenue that would otherwise be available, or to fund activity on the same scale that may continue without reward. National Lottery funds can only be awarded to applicants who demonstrate a clear public need and benefit from the funded activity.

IBF National Lottery funding is project-based and time-limited funding and as such there should be no expectation of continued support beyond the duration of the awards granted.

Eligible costs

You can use this funding for project costs such as:

  • Activities necessary for the realization of the project such as marketing
  • Contribution to overhead costs – including new and existing staff – related to the delivery of the project
  • Engage specialist advice
  • Accessibility needs, e.g. subtitles and audio descriptions or BSL interpreted events
  • Spend to reduce environmental impact
  • Professional development expenses if linked to project results

Ineligible costs

The following are examples of common ineligible costs:

  • Basic costs for the day-to-day running of your organization not associated with the project
  • Costs related to an extension of the work in progress
  • Parties, including opening and closing galas
  • Capital expenditure
  • Activity already specifically supported by another external source of funding
  • Cost incurred before a financing offer of IBF
  • Promotional or other activity (such as displays and printed brochures) that does not support environmental sustainability

This list is not exhaustive and we can inform you that other types of activities within your application cannot be supported by a IBF allocation or ask you to modify specific rows and allocations.

Please note, if you are registered for VATyour numbers should not include VAT that you can claim. If you are not registered with VATor you are registered at VAT but cannot fully recover the VAT you incur on costs, your figures should include uncollectible VAT. The grants we provide are “outside the scope” of VAT and must appear in your accounts as a subsidy and not, for example, as a fee for any service provided to the IBF. You should seek financial advice from your own accountant or the relevant tax office.

Partnership funding

For your application to be eligible, you will need to demonstrate an element of partnership support which may include cash or in-kind support. Partnership contributions are an important demonstration that there is genuine support for your project from your community, stakeholders and other partners.

As an indication, except R&D projects, we would expect to see cash partnership funding at a minimum of 40% of the total project budget. Partnership funding does not have to be obtained at the time of application, but must be obtained prior to payment of any grant from IBF and before the start date of the proposed project. Other IBF funds cannot be used as partnership funding and UK National Lottery funding from another distributor should not be the only form of partnership funding.


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