At a glance


  • Arts

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Geographical remit: 


The ICO is the leading cultural agency in the UK for film exhibition. We have pioneered successful models for a sustainable, culturally challenging and inclusive exhibition sector that are now shared both nationally and internationally.

Our mission is to stimulate an open, thriving and challenging film culture as we believe that cinema nourishes the soul and changes people’s lives. In our 16 years of existence we have built a nationwide network and have extensive engagement with exhibitors with 87% of independent exhibitors having used one of services.

Our cultural leadership has seen us grow from a team of three, focusing on programming cinemas to a team of 21, operating as a cultural agency of national and international renown, delivering professional training in the UK and beyond, providing bespoke consultancy services, developing audiences across the board for cultural cinema and building sustainable creative businesses. With all our work, we focus on ensuring that audiences everywhere in the UK have access to the widest range of international and independent British film.

We are financially supported by the BFI, Creative Europe and ScreenSkills and generate approximately 25% of our income from our own activities.


  • We programme a network of over 20 cinemas, festivals and mixed arts venues so that anyone can access a shared experience of life-changing cinema in their community, offering a wider range of films to a wider range of people.
  • We offer training so that independent cinema professionals can benefit from high-level knowledge that ensure our sector is successful, innovative and progressive.
  • We offer consultancy to help start, save and grow cinemas, making sure they stay economically viable and build their capacity.
  • We distribute films that make a contribution to the diversity of cinema culture in the UK and make a cultural intervention into the marketplace.
  • We offer free advice and information to make sure that everyone can show films and take part in our sector.
  • We run events for cinema professionals that help build a robust sector and encourage collaboration.

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