Choosing Films and licensing

You'll need to get a film licence - sometimes called a screening licence - if you want to show a film in public. The majority of our Suffolk Cinema Members use Filmbankmedia for their licences - Filmbankmedia is a UK distributor of film licences, DVDs and Blurays, on behalf of the major film studios.

To join Filmbankmedia you need to complete the application form on their website and return it to them with a deposit of £150 (this is refundable when you close your account).

You can book films for your screenings via their website or by phone.

This is the (slightly) complicated bit but get in touch with us or with Filmbankmedia if you need help! -

The way Filmbankmedia will deal with your group does depend on whether they categorise your screenings as either 'commercial' or 'non-commercial'. Even if your group is not setting out to make a commercial profit, Filmbankmedia will class your screenings as 'commercial' if:

  1. The general public can turn up
  2. You charge admission
  3. You advertise the screening with a specific film title

When you apply for an account, you should explain whether you plan to operate along the lines above - 'commercial' - or whether yours is a members-only film club, for which members pay an annual subscription only (this is considered 'non-commercial'). If in doubt, contact Filmbankmedia and discuss it directly with them.

If Filmbankmedia categorizes your screenings as 'commercial', you'll submit a return after each screening, stating how many tickets were sold and what the ticket income was. Filmbankmedia provide a form for this. You'll then be invoiced for 35% of the ticket income (minimum £84), plus VAT and postage.  FilmBank Website

Independent Programming

Here are some links to help you with your search (click item for drop-down info):

IMDB website
British Board of Film Classification
Empire magazine
Screen International
Film Distributors Association
Pearl & Dean

British Film Institute

The British Film Institute (BFI) has a large collection of films for hire from its own catalogue and also distributes world cinema films from Artificial Eye. BFI specialises in classic films and modern independent material. A list of films available can be found on the BFI website.

To get an account complete the application form (downloadable from this site's document library) and return to the BFI.

Unlike Filmbank, for DVD screenings the BFI do not normally distinguish between 'theatrical screenings' (where tickets are sold on the door to the general public) and 'non-theatrical screenings' (such as those by film societies, where an annual fee is paid but tickets are not sold on the door). This means that normally you will not have to send details of attendance and ticket income to the BFI after your screening. The majority of films from the BFI cost £80 + VAT and postage. BFI Website

World Cinema

Bollywood Films

Eros distribute most of the Indian films released in the UK. Bollywood movies are usually around 3 hours long and most are romantic action-comedies packed with songs and dancing, appealing to a wide audience. Eros provide DVDs of all their releases and most have English subtitles. Bhavna Mistry, the booker at Eros, will be happy to recommend titles to choose from.

Eros charge a flat rate fee of £100 + VAT for their titles. Eros Website

Other foreign language films

Artificial Eye specialises in distributing foreign language films from many different countries. The catalogue on the company's own website is very easy to use, and give a good idea of the films they can provide. However, note that - although you can buy DVDs for home use from Artificial Eye themselves - DVD rentals for screening purposes must be booked through the British Film Institute.

For every film screened you will be charged £80 + VAT and postage = £96.94. Artificial Eye Website

Archive Films

The East Anglian Film Archive, the first Regional Film Archive in England, was established in 1976 as an educational esource for the future by its visionary first Director, David Cleveland, who ran it until his retirement in 2004.

The collection comprises about 12,000 hours of film and up to 30,000 hours of videotape. The content mainly relates to the East of England region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk). It also includes collections of national and international scope. All of the material is intended to be for educational and cultural use.

Go to for more information.

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