As part of its ambitious "Film Forever" project, the British Film Institute today announced plans to digitize 10,000 British films over the next five years. The BFI hopes bringing these selections to the digital medium will introduce the UK's exhaustive film heritage to new audiences, and it's giving the public an opportunity to help assemble the final list of movies. You'll be able to watch this content in a variety of ways: both free and paid options will be offered on the web, YouTube, and unspecified video-on-demand services. It's also partnering with Samsung for an app on the manufacturer's Smart TV platform, though a full-fledged BFIPlayer isn't expected to arrive until sometime later.

The digitization is just one pillar of a massive £500 million (roughly $800 million) initiative that the BFI hopes will spur UK film industry growth through education, investment in film development, and other efforts. "Film Forever is founded on a renewed commitment to the future – the future generation of audiences, the future generation of filmmakers and the opportunities presented by digital technologies," said BFI CEO Amanda Nevill. The institute plans to kick things off with a traveling road-show across the UK starting next month.