The BFI’s annual report for 2017-18 details the organization’s biggest film investments, strategic priorities and senior salaries.
Income for the year to March 2018 was £96.9M – an increase of £1.2M from that of 2016-17, with a net increase of funds of £13.1M. The uptick was put down to property revaluations and a reduction in net pension liability.
The UK’s leading film body, a registered charity which is backed by National Lottery funds, handed out £48.1M to UK film companies and organizations with production awards accounting for $18.7M.
The biggest single production award went to The King’s Speech producer See-Saw which was granted £1.5M for its under-the-radar Untitled Chris Morris Project. The comedy, featuring Anna Kendrick and Danielle Brooks, is understood to be in post-production. Second on the list was Tom Harper’s Wild Rose, starring Jessie Buckley.
The BFI’s Audience Fund for distribution gave funding worth £1.8M to 13 companies. Altitude received the most with five single awards, including £150,000 which went towards the releases ofThe Florida Project and Beast. The highest single distribution award of £157,500 went to Thunderbird for Sweet Country.
The Audience Fund handed out a further £4M in awards to independent cinemas and festivals. The Film Audience Network received £4.2M with Nottingham Media Centre getting the largest award worth £899,000. £4.75M was spent through the Heritage 2022 Fund, and £7.07M was awarded through the Skills Fund, much of which goes towards skills and training.
The BFI Player got 2.5M visits with a total of 1.2M film views. Britain on Film was the service’s most popular draw. There were 260,000 plays of films from the BFI’s transactional and subs services, up 20% from the previous year. The BFI said its nationwide online audience for film is now close to its annual audience at their London BFI Southbank home.
Among the BFI’s main strategic priorities last year were rolling out its plans for growing audiences and ensuring a smooth transition for the industry during Brexit.
“The challenges and opportunities of leaving the European Union, alongside the Government’s industrial strategy, dominated our policy and advocacy work during the year,” the organization said. “The BFI continues to draw on the expertise of a cross industry group (the Screen Sectors’ Taskforce) to examine the economic and cultural impact of leaving the EU and is working closely with Government to ensure the best possible outcome for the UK screen sector from the EU Exit.”
Among the BFI’s primaries concerns when it comes to Brexit are the UK’s continued access to EU funding programmes and the continued free movement of film workers. When I sat down with organization heads last month they told me they had modelled for a no-deal Brexit.
Meanwhile, the BFI spent £20.4M on wages and salaries across its whole operation, which was only a marginal growth on the previous year. The organization had an average number of 482 permanent staff, down from 487 the previous year.
Staffing costs for senior staff were £4.5M with the highest paid employee Chief Executive Amanda Nevill, who earned a base salary of £146,000. Including pension and benefits, Nevill’s total remuneration was in the £190-195,000 bracket.
The next best-paid was Film Fund director Ben Roberts, with a base salary of £140-145,000 (flat from 2017) topped up by pension and benefits to £180-185,000. Creative Director Heather Stewart and David Parkill, Director of Finance and Resources, both received remuneration in the £160-165,000 bracket.
There were 12 other staff earning in the £80,000-£89,999 bracket, 16 in the £70,000-£79,999 bracket, and 21 in the £60,000-£69,999 bracket.
The BFI is a public organization so many of these details are public or made available on request. The annual report was posted online last week.