Apply to BFI NETWORK SW’s Director Lab 2024

  • Mon 22 April – Tue 21 May

    Apply to BFI NETWORK SW’s Director Lab 2024


Introducing the Director Lab

BFI NETWORK south west, in partnership with Bournemouth Film School (BFS), is pleased to announce a new Director Lab that will provide an in-person day of tutor-led masterclasses, followed by workshopping with professional actors and the chance to be offered £2,000 from BFS to make a micro-short based on your script. 

The workshop day will take place in Bournemouth on Fri 14 June from 10:30-18:30, led by writer-director Dee Meaden, who has over 15 years’ experience as a filmmaker. The morning will focus on directing skills, guidance on working with actors and insightful discussion, and the afternoon will comprise of workshopping your script, plus 1:1s with our BFI NETWORK Talent Executives. The workshop is designed to give you advanced skills in directing actors, a heightened appreciation of character-focused storytelling, and a creative challenge under tight parameters. 

Lunch will be provided, and we are able to offer travel bursaries to those who need it.  

The micro-short commission, produced by BFS, will be for a film of up to four minutes, based on the script that you’ll supply as part of your application – the same script that you’ll have workshopped with actors. After the one-day Director Lab, participants will be asked to submit their final script to BFS (and may be asked to meet with the panel to pitch their idea), who will then select two filmmakers to make their film in early July – on the bespoke film set created especially for this Lab (see info and floorplan below). BFS will supply all crew and equipment, and the two writer-directors will each be given £2000 towards post-production and promotional costs.  

Who is the Lab for?

  • You must have previous experience in directing live-action fiction, or have drama-doc experience and the ambition to develop your scripted showreel
  • You must be able to write, direct and deliver a micro-short within a strict schedule
  • You must be a resident in the south west of England (see region map here on our FAQs page). 
  • You must be over 18 and not in full-time education. 
  • You must be able to attend one in-person day in Bournemouth on Fri 14 June, and be able to keep Tue 2 July & Thu 4 July free if selected for the commission


Please note that this is not an entry-level scheme as you must be able to write, direct and deliver a micro-short within a strict schedule. We will be looking to select eight participants for this Lab. 


To apply, please fill in our application form below and supply a four-page script set in a contemporary bar in a period building, with two characters who are non-gender-specific and of no distinct ethnicity (as the actors are yet to be cast we advise avoiding gender/ethnicity-specific themes or plot points). Try and be as creative, innovative and subversive as you can within these parameters; what can you show us in a four-minute film? And remember, you’ll be workshopping this script with actors so it doesn’t have to be a perfect draft.


We strongly encourage those from marginalised backgrounds to apply. If you require assistance with your application, or have any questions please email:  


Applications are now closed.



Applications close Tue 21 May at 12:00 noon. 

Participants announced Thu 6 June. 

Workshop takes place Fri 14 June. 

2x filmmakers commissioned Thu 20 June. 

Shoots take place Tue 2 July or Thu 4 July. 

Finished films delivered by Fri 4 Oct

About Dee Meaden

Dee Meaden is a writer, director and producer with over 15 years’ experience. She has written four original feature-length scripts, and written and directed 12 shorts. In 2018, she graduated from the Fiction Direction MA at the National Film and Television School, where she attended with the support of a David Lean Scholarship.   

She has been selected for schemes run by Creative England, The British Council, Film London and  TorinoFilmLab and her work has screened at BFI London Film Festival, Warsaw, Telluride, Clermont-Ferrand, Edinburgh International and Venice Film Festivals. Her first feature Dam the Blood is in development with the BFI. 

She is represented by Ellen Gallagher at Casarotto Ramsay & Associates. 

About the film set

The main bar area is 20ft (6.09m) x 20ft (6.09m). Accessed via double doors, in addition there’s a single door access behind the bar. On entrance via the double doors, and to the right, is a counter with a cloak room/hanging rails visible. Along from the cloakroom are steps leading to the ‘first floor’. This will be usable by cast (if wished) to create an additional option for entering/exiting. Opposite the double doors will be the bar. There’s 2x French windows which will enable the filmmaker to play with day/night. Exiting the bar via the double doors will lead to a corridor with 2 x doors to imply toilets and add depth/interest. A few ceiling pieces will also be added.

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