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BFI Short Film Fund

Deadline (midday) 23rd May 2023

With less than a month to enter The BFI Short Film Fund - there's still time for you to be in with a shot.

Want to fund your short film? What to be 'in' the industry? This is one of the best ways to do it. Securing funding and support from BFI is famously competitive, so for anyone who manages it, it's an instant win, in more ways that one. Not only do you receive a pot of funding but you get the kudos of BFI which when all is said and done, is the real door opener.

Successful applications are the career changing opportunity that everyone is chomping at the bit to secure. Script Stable wholeheartedly recommends entering but be warned; it's not for the faint hearted. Not only do you have an outstanding script ready to shoot but you also need to have your team ready to go. That includes, writer, director and producer.

The application is a lengthy one, needing budgets and proof of execution, statements, bios and all the other bells and whistles you can add to put your best foot forward.

Here's some info from The BFI Short Film Fund:

This fund supports the production costs of standalone fiction shorts, in live action, animation and immersive/VR. The fund is intended to stimulate new ideas and stories, so it doesn’t support adaptations of existing material. We welcome applications for amounts from £5,000 up to a maximum of £25,000. We are seeking applications for projects of any length up to a maximum of 15 minutes.
Our funding is accompanied by creative oversight of the project by a locally-based BFI NETWORKTalent Executive. As well as working with filmmakers prior to and during production, the Talent Executives may be able to advise successful projects on:
finding screening opportunities regionally and further afield
ways to meet potential collaborators for your project
festival strategy for your project
other means to gain industry exposure for your work

They have an EASY READ pdf that is really helpful so we recommend downloading that. It outlines the application process in an easy way for those who need it and it's a brilliant way to get up to speed. Link at the end of this article.

Some things to consider:

The BFI has a dedicated pot of money to provide. Their aim is to select teams that are up and coming and who will make excellent films that reflect well on the BFI. So if you are able to keep your page count down, as well as your budget on the lower side £5-10k this could increase your chances of being selected. They would rather fund more projects at a lower budgets than less for higher budgets. Typically they aim for somewhere in the middle but being strategic will improve your chances.

The London funding pot is the most competitive. On average they only fund 0.6 of their applications... Yup, you read that correctly.

SO in order to be in with a better shot, you could aim to get funding from another UK hub that's not London. In order to do this though, your DIRECTOR needs to be based in the hub of application. Doesn't matter where in the UK the rest of your team is based or where the project is based - T&C's state that the address is for the director only. Having said that though, you'll increase your chances further if your project is set in that regional hub. Each hub are looking for projects that represent regional story, talent and setting.

You need to know what you're doing. BFI aren't looking to fund complete newbies. This fund isn't 'babies first film'.

However, if you've got the time (and drive) Script Stable recommends filling out the application as a learning curve. You don't even need to submit it but answering and providing all the necessary info for a scheme like this is sure to put hairs on your chest. You will undoubtably learn a thing or two about what the industry is looking for in regards to your project and in an industry in which that kind of information hard to get your hands on... consider applying to funds like these a sneaky peek.

For more info please visit the BFI's website. There are lots of rules and T&C's so familiarise yourself with them:

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