The BFI runs the BFI Southbank (formerly the National Film Theatre (NFT)) and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London. The IMAX has the largest cinema screen in the UK, and shows popular recent releases and short films showcasing its technology, which includes 3D screenings and 12,000 watts of digital surround sound. BFI Southbank (the National Film Theatre screens and the Studio) shows films from all over the world particularly critically-acclaimed historical & specialised films that may not otherwise get a cinema showing.
The institute was restructured following the Radcliffe Report of 1948 which recommended that it should concentrate on developing the appreciation of filmic art, rather than creating film itself. Thus control of educational film production passed to the National Committee for Visual Aids in Education and the British Film Academy assumed control for promoting production.
The institute received a Royal Charter in 1983. This was updated in 2000, and in the same year the newly-established UK Film Council took responsibility for providing the BFI's annual grant-in-aid (government subsidy) and acting, alongside the Charity Commission and the Privy Council, as its regulator.
In 1988 the BFI opened the London Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) on the South Bank. MOMI was acclaimed internationally and set new standards for education through entertainment, but subsequently it did not receive the high levels of continuing investment that might have enabled it to keep pace with technological developments and ever-rising audience expectations. The Museum was "temporarily" closed in 1999 when the BFI stated that it would be re-sited. This did not happen, and MOMI's closure became permanent in 2002 when it was decided to redevelop the South Bank site. This redevelopment was itself then further delayed.
The BFI operates with three sources of income. The largest is public money allocated through the UK Film Council from the funds given to it by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In 2007, this funding amounted to approximately £16m. The second largest source is commercial activity such as receipts from ticket sales at BFI Southbank or the BFI London Imax (2007, £5m), sales of DVDs, etc. Thirdly, grants and sponsorship of around £5m are obtained from various sources, including National Lottery funding grants, private sponsors and through donations (J. Paul Getty, Jr. donated around £1m in his will following his death in 2003).
The BFI also devotes a large amount of its time to the preservation and study of British television programming and its history. In 2000, it published a high-profile list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes, as voted for by a range of industry figures.
The much-delayed redevelopment of the National Film Theatre finally took place in 2007, creating in the rebranded "BFI Southbank" new education spaces, a gallery, and a pioneering mediatheque which for the first time enabled the public to gain access, free of charge, to some of the otherwise inaccessible treasures in the National Film & Television Archive. The mediatheque has proved to be the most successful element of this redevelopment, and there are plans to roll out a network of them across the UK.
The BFI has operated with the same level of government subsidy for the last four years (a cut in real terms). Despite that, it has achieved considerable success (for example, it is easily the most effective of any comparable national institution at engaging with people other than the usual white middle class beneficiaries of state-subsidised culture). Its work at the National Film & Television Archive, though severely reduced by inadequate funding, is world-leading. Its innovative digital and mediatheque strategies are achieving some success in making the archive accessible to other than a tiny group of researchers, policies which are supported by its active DVD production work.
There are some signs that government is recognising this: an announcement of a £25 million capital investment in the National Archive Strategy was made by Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport at the opening night of the 2007 London Film Festival. It is expected that the bulk of this money will pay for long overdue development of the BFI National Archive facilities in Hertfordshire and elsewhere. The BFI itself is lobbying for the award of £200 million for the creation of a brand-new Film Centre, to replace the near-life-expired facilities at the National Film Theatre.
George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 5th Duke of Sutherland (1933-1936)
Sir Charles Cleland (1936-1937)
Sir George Clerk (1938-1939)
William Brass, 1st Baron Chattisham (1939-1945)
Patrick Gordon Walker (1946-1948)
Cecil Harmsworth King (1948-1952)
S. C. Roberts (1952-1956)
Sylvester Gates (1956-1964)
Sir William Coldstream (1964-1971)
Sir Denis Forman (1971-1973)
Lord Lloyd of Hampstead (1973-1976)
John Freeman (1976-1977)
Enid Wistrich (Acting) (1977-1978)
Sir Basil Engholm (1978-1981)
Lord Richard Attenborough (1982-1992)
Jeremy Thomas (1993-1997)
Sir Alan Parker (1998-1999)
Joan Bakewell (1999-2002)
Anthony Minghella (2003-2007)
Roger Laughton (Acting) (2008)
Greg Dyke (2008- )
J. W. Brown (1933-1936)
Oliver Bell (1936-1949)
Denis Forman (1949-1955)
James Quinn (1955-1964)
Stanley Reed (1964-1972)
Keith Lucas (1972-1978)
Anthony Smith (1979-1987)
Wilf Stevenson (1988-1997)
John Woodward (1997-1998)
Jon Teckman (1998-2002)
Adrian Wootton (acting, 2002-2003)
Amanda Nevill (2003- )
BFI replaces NFT name in #5m relaunch.(British Film Institute)(National Film Theatre renamed as British Film Institute Southbank)(Brief article)
Mar 15, 2007; The National Film Theatre is relaunching today, following a #5m extension by its owner, the British Film Institute. In a...