Information for the North's screen sector

See the latest updates on Covid-19, our work and film in the North. 

Updated 10:00am, 17 August

Covid-19 is causing uncertainty within the UK screen sector and beyond. Film Hub North is working with industry colleagues to support exhibitors and filmmakers in the region at this difficult time. See below for updates on the current situation and useful resources for those in the screen sector.

Latest updates

New exhibitor funding

The BFI have announced the £30m Culture Recovery Fund for independent cinemas in England. Applications close on Friday, 30 October. We've also launched the Film Exhibition Fund: a new funding opportunity for grassroots film organisations in the region. Applications close Wednesday, 30 September.

Support for Non-theatrical exhibitors

A number of events and opportunities specifically for non-theatrical exhibitors are now available. Film Hub Northern Ireland hosted a UK-wide discussion about reopening community cinemas on 12 August - contact our team to access the recording. They have also compiled Guidance for Non-Theatrical Exhibitors on behalf of the wider BFI Film Audience Network. And Cinema For All have recently revealed details of Lift: a new support package for relaunching community cinemas.

Basic awareness training

ScreenSkills and the UK Cinema Association have launched Coronavirus basic awareness for cinemas training. A new programme designed specifically for all employees working in cinemas. It explains the control measures and management systems that employees should expect to find when they return to work.

Audience Confidence

We Are Parable have now published the results of their research looking into confidence levels among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups towards returning to cinemas. You can read a summary of their findings via the Independent Cinema Office blog and download the full results from We Are Parable directly.

This Way Up

We are re-evaluating our plans for the format of This Way Up 2020. The UK's conference for innovation in film exhibition will be held on 1 - 2 December 2020, and will still act as an opportunity to bring us together - in one form or another! Register for updates via the This Way Up newsletter.

Changes to the Hub team

The Hub team would like to wish Alison Clegg, our Relationships Officer, the very best as she begins maternity leave. Any queries originally intended for Alison should be directed to your usual Hub contact or in the first instance and a member of our Audience Development Team will pick it up.

What's changed at Film Hub North

Recovery funding for exhibitors

Applications to the BFI Culture Recovery Fund open on Monday, 10 August. Details of the Film Exhibition Fund will be announced shortly. You can find out about the impact the Covid-19 Resilience Fund has made in the North and nationwide in our recent article announcing the 20 organisations we're supporting in the region at this critical time.

Other audience development funding

The majority of the Hub's National Lottery funding for audience development activity has been redirected to our recovery funds. Applications for all other exhibition funds run by the Hub have been suspended and we are not able to assess applications received until further notice. One support opportunity currently available to exhibitors is Advice Sessions: a new, UK-wide professional development initiative from the BFI Film Audience Network. Advice Sessions provides exhibitors with a free, half-day of tailored tutoring from industry experts.

Online exhibitor support

We have started a series of Exhibitor Catch Ups which bring together exhibitors from across the North to connect with one another, share experiences and discuss the latest sector developments. Check our events calendar for details of the next session, or get in touch if there's a topic you'd like covered at a Catch Up.

Short Film Fund

We have temporarily paused applications to the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have a large and expanding slate of short films which are currently on hold. In order to dedicate the appropriate time and resources to supporting the filmmaking teams on our current slate, we aren't taking on new projects until production has progressed. Our other talent development opportunities - including the Early Feature Development Fund - continue to run as normal.

Online Talent Development

Much of our support for filmmakers has moved to online platforms. Our annual Creative Producers School talent development programme is taking place remotely - applications are now closed and we will announce our 2020 cohort shortly. We are also organising a regular schedule of online events for filmmakers, including short film showcases, discussions with top industry talent and networking sessions for Northern creatives. See our events calendar for details of upcoming sessions.

Ongoing funded projects

Projects already funded by the Hub will be affected by Covid-19. We have reached out to the lead contacts for all ongoing projects to discuss their needs as plans change. We will be as flexible as possible in supporting our partners through their contingency measures.

What hasn't changed at Film Hub North

Supporting film culture in the North

The Hub remains committed to helping exhibitors and filmmakers across the region, and our team is still here to answer your queries. We are now working remotely and ask that our partners reach out to their usual contact via email in the first instance. For general enquiries, exhibitors should contact and filmmakers should contact

Information & resources

Cinemas - reopening guidelines

Cinemas in England can open from 4 July and the UK Cinema Association has published a set of guidelines, Cinemas – keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19, to help exhibitors through this process. These guidelines establish an industry-wide baseline for the risk mitigations venues should put in place for staff and customers. As these guidelines are likely to change over time, exhibitors should check for updated versions periodically.

Content for recovery

Product availability is a key issue for exhibitors to consider when developing their reopening strategy. To help with this planning, the Film Distributors' Association has published a document that brings together 470+ readily available titles from UK distributors. Relaunching Cinema: Content for Recovery is specifically aimed at theatrical exhibitors and features a full list of titles, programming categories and distributor contacts - download it now.

Essential Reading

We've been scouring sector studies and reports for the essential information that will help exhibitors at this challenging time. Our recent articles - The Audience QuestionFurther Reading and Reopening Cinemas - highlight some key resources for your consideration, including the Independent Cinema Office's survey of cinema operators and After the Interval - the major audience sentiment survey of regular cultural event attendees from Indigo-Ltd. 


On 9 April, the BFI announced a £4.6m package of support for the UK film industry, including the £1.3m BFI Film Audience Network Covid-19 Resilience Fund. The BFI continue to update their Covid-19 advice page with key information emerging from the Screen Sector Task Force, a cross-industry group tasked with the recovery plan for the sector on behalf of the UK Government.

The Bigger Picture

The BFI Film Audience Network's central news resource is maintaining a Covid-19 advice page featuring rolling updates on a range of topics relevant to exhibitors. Their recent collection of articles also includes a number of interviews, guest blogs and best practice guides featuring UK exhibitors and the work they have undertaken during lockdown.

Trade Bodies

Trade bodies will be an important source of support for their Members at this time. The UK Cinema Association has set up a resources hub for cinemas, Cinema For All have published advice for community cinemas and BECTU have established a regularly updated information page for their members.

Film + TV Charity

The Film and TV Charity are aware of the potential impact of coronavirus on people working in film, TV and cinema, particularly in relation to freelance workers and those on limited hours contracts. Their advice page features information on mental health, their 24 hour support line and finances. Applications for the The Film and TV Charity Emergency Relief Fund, created in partnership with the BFI, are currently closed.

UK Cinema Fund

MUBI, the curated streaming service and theatrical distributor, has raised almost £30,000 through the UK Cinema Fund. These donations will support film exhibitors impacted by Covid-19, with the funds awarded by the BFI Film Audience Network. See our full story on the Fund launch for more information.

Peer Support 

Facebook groups have recently been established for Film Exhibition & Distribution Freelancers and UK Cinema & Venue Employees, providing a space to share news, offer support and discuss opportunities with industry peers.