BFI (British Film Institute ) Shop – Things to do in London

Updated On: February 14, 2022

BFI - British Film Institute - Camera

One of the institutes worth mentioning is actually the British Film Institute, commonly known as BFI. This is an organization, a charitable one, that conserves television and filmmaking around the United Kingdom. In 1933, a Royal Charter established this institute for many reasons all related to movies and filmmaking. There is a lot more to learn about the British Film Institute.

The Objectives of the British Film Institute

The institute started off as a private company back in 1933. A Royal Charter established it after National Life had recommended it in a report on film. Its main objective was to stimulate the development of moving image creation and filmmaking around the United Kingdom.

They also aimed to increase people awareness of movies and promote education about the arts of film and television. Movies have always had an impact on society. They reflect an image of how a community yet still provides new perspectives to adopt. Firmly believing in this, the creation of the British Film Institute took place.

British Film Institute
British Film Institute

BFI Through the History

In 1948, the Radcliffe Report suggested that the institute should focus on raising the appreciation of film as arts. They believed that appreciating the creation of arts was far more important than creating them itself.

As a result, the institute restricted its objectives according to the Radcliffe Report. Consequently, the National Committee for Visual Aids took control over the educational film production. However, the British Film Institute started providing funding for experimental filmmakers to encourage them. They did so starting from 1952 through the BFI Production Board and continued until 2000.

On the South Bank, the British Film Institute opened the London Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) back in 1988. That museum was the beginning of setting new standards of education, including entertainment.

Despite being internationally admired, it could not receive high levels of needed investments. Thus, it was not able to keep up with the audience expectations of technological developments.

In 1999, the museum shut down in order to be re-sited according to the BFI statement. However, the closure took longer than expected and no re-siting took place at all. In 2002, redevelopment of the South Bank site took place.

British Film Institute
British Film Institute

Activities Carried out by the British Film Institute

Besides being one of the United Kingdom’s prominent filmmaking institutes, it actually carries out far more activities.

Film and Media Education

As previously mentioned, the British Film Institute (BFI), provides studies of film and television. They actually offer a wide array of education enterprises. All of them happen to collide for the same purpose which is supporting film and media education. They even stimulate the teaching of the media industry in schools. The Department of Education even funded BFI in 2012 in order to create the BFI Film Academy Network.

The Biggest Film Archive

Being immersed in the film industry, it’s easy to anticipate the fact that BFI maintains the largest film archive worldwide. Previously, the archive was called the National Film Library. Since 1955, it became the National Film Archive instead. It was only until 1992, the name changed into National Film and Television Archive in 1993 till 2006.

Nowadays, it is rather known as the BFI National Archive. At any rate, the archive possesses over 50K fictional films, over 625K TV Programs, and 100K non-fiction titles. In fact, a significant number of this collection holds international arts from all around the world. However, the majority definitely belongs to the British culture.


Nowadays, the British Film Institute runs two cinemas that sit on the south bank of the River Thames in London. Those cinemas are London IMAX cinema and BFI Southbank cinema. It was formerly the National Film Theatre (NFT). Around all over the United Kingdom, the cinema screens of the IMAX are the largest.

It also features advanced technologies including 3D screenings and 11.6K watts of digital surround sound. Besides, it displays the most recent and popular releases of movies and short films from all around the world. They also give opportunities for movies that are less likely to get a cinema showing.


Runs Festivals

The British Film Institute is known for running several festivals that take place annually around the United Kingdom. Those festivals include the youth-oriented Future Film Festival, BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, and the annual London Film Festival.

Works as a Publisher for Books, Movies, and Magazines

On a monthly basis, the British Film Institute published films on Blu-ray and DVD as well as books. Besides, they publish the monthly magazine of Sight & Sound; a British Film Magazine.

Moreover, it runs a reference library known as the BFI National Library. It also maintains the database of BFI Film and TV.

Co-Produces TV Series

In partnership with the BBC, the BFI co-produced a numerous TV series. This includes The Lost World of Friese-Greene, The Lost World of Tibet, and The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon.

BFI Shop

The British Film Institute has a long and interesting history and you can explore this in the British Film Institue shop. Here you film staff who are film experts and provide you with any information related to the BFI and world cinema.

At the shop, you will discover an amazing range of  DVD’s, Books, Blu-rays and merchandise. Any film fan will love a trip to a British Film Institute shop and immerse themselves into the amazing collections and history on offer.

Have you ever been to the British Film Institute Shop? Or would you love to visit? Let us know!

Also, don’t forget to check out some of our other blogs that you might like: National Theatre| Tate Modern| National Gallery| National History Museum| Harry Potter Shop| Shrek Adventure Shop|

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