BFI’s emergency fund boost for Lighthouse

AN emergency grant from the British Film Institute has “really lifted our spirits as an organisation,” says Elspeth McBain, chief executive of Poole’s Lighthouse centre for the arts.

The award of £5,000 is part of the BFI’s allocation of £1.45m emergency funding to independent exhibitors across the UK through the Covid-19 Resilience Fund managed by BFI Film Audience Network, a collaboration of eight Film Hubs, that targeted the fund to help small and medium sized organisations.

“We are so thankful that the British Film Institute has supported Lighthouse through the BFI Film Audience Network Covid-19 Resilience Fund,” says Elspeth. “This emergency funding to independent film exhibitors across the UK will enable us to re-engage with our audience when we get back to opening our wonderful cinema.

“Since our closure in March, Lighthouse has lost all its income so this support has not only given us some much needed cash, but it has really lifted our spirits as an organisation. We are proud to be connected to the UK independent cinema sector that provides such a unique offer to our communities.”

A survey by the Independent Cinema Office – Reopening Cinemas the Independent Way – to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the independent exhibition industry found only 59 per cent of respondents considered they could reopen with social measures in place, with 63 per cent stating they could survive for only three months. Almost half of the 59 per cent believe they will be unable to open until September at the earliest.

Pictured: Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre was due to hold the premiere screening of Lawrence: After Arabia, a new film about TE Lawrence, covering the later years of the legendary soldier and Arabist, and mainly filmed in Dorset. The premiere, planned for mid-May, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.