Skip to main content

Cinema Day celebrates the National Lottery funding of over 500 films with free cinema tickets

23rd August 2019

To kick-start celebrations for 25 years of the National Lottery, over half a million FREE tickets are available for National Lottery players at over 250 cinemas across the UK this Sunday (25 August 2019) for National Lottery Cinema Day.

This year, The National Lottery is celebrating its 25th Birthday and to kick – start the celebrations, National Lottery Cinema Day, in partnership with the BFI, returns on Sunday 25th August 2019.

Over 500,000 free tickets will be available to over 250 cinemas across the UK.

If you wish to claim your free cinema ticket simply present your 24th August Lotto Double Prize Draw ticket at participating cinemas.

Through the BFI, the National Lottery has funded the making of more than 500 films, winning 15 Oscars®, 100 BAFTAs and 29 Cannes awards, which have been enjoyed by audiences at home and around the world, including hits like The King’s Speech, Bend it Like Beckham and Pride.

But it’s not just about big-hitters.

Thanks to the money raised by The National Lottery for good causes, the BFI invests over £50 million a year to develop and support original UK filmmakers and films that enrich independent film culture and reach new audiences.

Gurinder Chadha, Bend It Like Beckham and new film Blinded by the LightDirector has experienced the benefits of the extraordinary impact of National Lottery funding first-hand. She said:

“The benefit of working with the BFI is its genuine commitment to diversity and to help nurture new filmmaker talent at various levels. I feel the BFI focuses on what voices are lacking in UK cinema and encourages those voices with hands on development support through to production and beyond.”

Gurinder continues: “The staff at the BFI are genuinely film cineastes or geeks. As a film maker, you can revel in this because they take genuine pleasure in helping new talent and voices of all kinds to find their cinema voice and go on to nurture careers. Since their support of me with ‘Bend it like Beckham’ I am delighted to have ‘given back’ to the BFI in money but also support. There would be no real reflective UK Cinema without the National Lottery”.

At this year’s Cannes Film Festival (May 2019) two National Lottery-backed UK films were in competition: Ken Loach’s ‘Sorry We Missed You’ and Jessica Hausner’s sci-fi drama ‘Little Joe’.

Amanda Nevill, the Chief Executive Officer of the British Film Institute said:

“The impact of funding from The National Lottery on the British film industry is so huge it’s almost hard to imagine. Anyone who wants to tell a story through the moving image on whatever platform is somebody that we nurture and look after.”

One such person is Prano-Bailey Bond, a young London filmmaker whose career has been boosted by funding from the BFI. Prano, who makes scary psychological dramas, was one of the rising stars of film chosen to be part of a BFI professional development programme that runs concurrently with the London Film Festival.

“Having the BFI onboard for me is exactly what you’re aiming for because the filmmakers that I admire like Lynne Ramsay (the acclaimed Scottish director of films such as Morvern Callar and We Need to Talk About Kevin) have come up through the BFI,” says Prano. “It puts you in the best position to go on and do more work.”

She says the BFI can offer filmmakers a greater degree of autonomy than big commercial film studios and adds: “It’s not that the BFI don’t get involved creatively – they’re very involved - but it’s more support and guidance rather than dictating.”

The National Lottery’s 25th birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact the National Lottery has had on the UK, and to also say thank you to National Lottery players for contributing around £30 million to good causes every week.

This Sunday, for National Cinema Day, there’s something for everyone to see; from UK independent films like Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by The Light, Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans and Asif Kapadia’s Maradona, to blockbusters like The Lion King, Toy Story 4, as well as Tarantino’s latest Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Simply use your 24th August Lotto Double Event ticket for a free cinema ticket on National Lottery Cinema Day - at participating cinemas.
Players of all National Lottery games must be aged 16 or over.

Find out more at


Notes to editors

Pictures, interviews and case studies of people and projects who have benefitted from National Lottery funding through the BFI are available on request.

About The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday

The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday is an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary impact The National Lottery has had on the UK and to say thank you to National Lottery players for contributing millions of pounds every week to good causes.

Since the National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.

The 25th birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact The National Lottery has had on the UK, and to say thank you to National Lottery players for contributing around £30 million to good causes every week.

The National Lottery has made more than 5,350 millionaires but its primary purpose is giving to good causes - over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district.

About Camelot
Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the licensed operator of The National Lottery® and is committed to raising money for National Lottery Good Causes designated by Parliament. Camelot is not responsible for distributing or awarding these funds.

On average, Camelot generates around £30 million each week for National Lottery-funded projects. In total, £40 billion has now been raised and more than 565,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 200 lottery grants in every UK postcode district. The National Lottery has so far awarded over £71 billion in prizes and created more than 5,350 millionaires or multi-millionaires since its launch in 1994.

For further information on Camelot, The National Lottery and its games, please visit:

Players of all National Lottery games must be aged 16 or over.

About the BFI

The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a cultural charity that:
Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.

About the BFI Film Audience Network

Supported by National Lottery funding, the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), is central to the BFI’s aim to ensure the greatest choice of film is available for everyone. Established in 2012 to build wider and more diverse UK cinema audiences for British and international film, FAN is a unique, UK-wide collaboration made up of eight Hubs managed by leading film organisations and venues strategically placed around the country. FAN also supports talent development with BFI NETWORK Talent Executives in each of the English Hubs, with a mission to discover and support talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers.

BFI FAN Film Hubs are:

Film Hub Midlands is led by Broadway, Nottingham working in partnership with the Birmingham-based Flatpack
Film Hub North is led collectively by Showroom Workstation, Sheffield, HOME Manchester and Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle
Film Hub South East is led by the Independent Cinema Office
Film Hub South West is led by Watershed in Bristol
Film Hub Scotland is led by Glasgow Film Theatre
Film Hub Northern Ireland is led by Queen’s University Belfast
Film Hub Wales is led by Chapter in Cardiff
Film Hub London is led by Film London

About the BFI Film Fund

The BFI Film Fund invests over £50 million of National Lottery funding a year into developing and supporting filmmakers with diverse, bold and distinctive films, that have a cultural relevance or progressive ideas, and which reflect people from different backgrounds, as well as a range of activities to increase the opportunities for audiences to enjoy them.

Upcoming titles include Little Joe, directed by Jessica Hausner, and Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You which both premiered in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival; Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, winner of the World Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival; Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary Feature Scheme Birds from directors Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin and The Last Tree
from acclaimed director Shola Amoo which enjoyed its World Premiere at Sundance Film Festival.

Recent titles include Oscar and BAFTA-nominated Cold War which brought Pawel Pawlikowski the Best Director award at last year’s Cannes; Dirty God from Berlin Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner Sacha Polak; Claire Denis’ English language debut High Life and Locarno Film

Festival Special Jury Prize and BIFA Best Debut Director award-winner Ray & Liz by filmmaker Richard Billingham.

Currently in prep, production or post are Chasing Chaplin from three-time BAFTA nominees Peter Middleton and James Spinney; Craig Roberts’ Eternal Beauty starring Oscar nominated Sally Hawkins, Alice Lowe and David Thewlis; Rocks from award-winning director Sarah Gavron and producer Faye Ward; Philippa Lowthorpe’s Misbehaviour starring Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha Raw and Jessie Buckley; Monsoon from BAFTA and BIFA nominated filmmaker Hong Khaou and starring Henry Golding; Ammonite, directed by Francis Lee starring Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet; and Jessica Swale’s Summerland starring Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.