The British Film Institute (BFI) has announced that it will unveil the next generation of the National Film Theatre early next year.

The refurbished centre, to be know as the BFI Southbank, is due to open February 1, 2007. In addition to the existing three cinemas showcasing the best films from around the world as well as previews, special releases and work made for television, the new building will allow BFI to present a full view of its activities offering more opportunities for visitors to engage with film.

New features of the BFI Southbank include:

Studio Cinema – a drop-in digital cinema showcasing archive and contemporary film, video and television material as well as hosting talks, presentations and education events.

BFI Mediatheque – designed by top Bristish architect David Adjaye, this comprises 14 state-of-the-art viewing stations where visitors will be able to access from hundreds of hours of film and television from the BFI National Archive.

Gallery - 160m2 double height space which will present screen-based works by leading UK and international contemporary artists who work with film, video and new technologies. The debut exhibition features New York-based artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy whose work mixes sculpture and live video, drawing on surrealist influences to suggest previously unimagined possibilities in cinema.

Project space – casual research, study and participation area equipped with a number of unique resources, largely drawn from the BFI’s collections. A series of innovative education projects will be on offer, engaging local filmmakers and young people

Filmstore - a shop stocked and staffed by BFI experts, offering an extensive range of film and television books and DVDs.

In addition, visitors to the BFI Southbank will be able to relax in the new bar and cafe, which features Wi-fi access.