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FUNDING FOR UK SCREENWRITERS

Updated: Feb 6, 2023



Having enough money to pursue your dreams as a screenwriter is a very real and very common problem. Not only do you have limited time to write (because you have to work a job to, um, live) you then have even less time to research endless schemes... so end up missing out on opportunities.


Whilst there are lots of opportunities to win cash prizes on screenplay competitions, industry funding is something else entirely and something you should know about if you're looking to break into Film and TV.


As a UK based screenwriter, you should (if you haven't already) familiarise yourself with the BFI Network. Not only do they offer development funds, they offer something far more important; expertise. Follow their socials or sign up to their email list as a way to stay up to date about upcoming opportunities. But let's get back to funds and how you can get some money towards your writing.


BFI NETWORK has two main funding schemes. The Short Film Fund and The Emerging Development Fund. Below are some details from their website so you can see if either fund applies to you.

 

SHORT FILM FUNDING


Our Short Film funding programme supports projects with directors based in England and is run in partnership with the BFI NETWORK Talent Executives who work with filmmakers on the delivery of funded projects.

This fund is for fiction shorts, in both live action and animation. We want to support short films that:

  • bring exciting new voices and bold narratives to the screen;

  • provide space for experimentation and idea-testing;

  • advance the careers of the filmmakers involved through showcasing their abilities to the industry and the public.

We support standalone short films and this can include projects that have the potential, further down the line, to be developed into other forms or formats (e.g. a feature film, content in serial form). The fund is intended to stimulate new ideas and stories, so it doesn’t support adaptations of existing material. We welcome applications for amounts throughout the available budget range up to a maximum of £15,000. We are seeking applications for films of any length up to a maximum of 15 minutes.


Our funding is accompanied by creative oversight of the short film by a BFI NETWORK Talent Executive. As well as working with filmmakers prior to and during production, the Talent Executives may be able to advise you on:

  • Finding screening opportunities regionally and further afield;

  • Ways to meet potential collaborators for your project;

  • Festival strategy for your film;

  • Other means to gain industry exposure for your work.


EARLY DEVELOPMENT FUNDING


Our Early Development funding programme supports projects with writers based in England. If you’re a new writer with an exciting, bold idea – particularly if you’ve not yet teamed up with a producer – this is the fund for you.

‘New writers’ are people who have not yet have written a feature film script that has been produced and distributed. This fund is also for producers and directors working with new writers.


This fund is the first step in the BFI’s development support for live action and animated fiction projects from new writers. It supports people at the very beginning of their development process to produce an initial treatment and related materials. Fund pays up to £1,000 writer fee. Up to £500 producer fee.


 

BFI NETWORK has different regional teams, so depending on where you're from/are based; make sure you apply to the appropriate department. Here are the links to save you time.



Or for more general information go to their funding finder page:



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