BFI NETWORK South West & Blak Wave & Little By Little Films present: New Voices

  • Fri 4 Sept – Fri 30 Oct, 2020

    BFI NETWORK South West & Blak Wave & Little By Little Films present: New Voices


BFI NETWORK have teamed up with South West based production companies Blak Wave & Little By Little Films to run a new talent development opportunity for aspiring South West based filmmakers looking to develop a five-minute short film idea. 

New Voices, Apply Now

Our aim is to support new and aspiring filmmakers who may face barriers accessing the BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding, do not feel confident to apply via the usual routes and feel they would benefit from a supported development process. We recognise that filmmakers can feel excluded from accessing funding by existing application processes and propose this new approach to encourage new voices to break through.

We are calling for short five-minute film ideas that provide fresh and authentic perspectives; giving a voice to new talent, particularly those who are underrepresented in the screen industries. We will mentor/support up to four filmmakers to develop their short film idea to a finished script and to be submitted to the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund.

The selected filmmakers will be matched up with either Blak Wave or Little By Little Films, who will mentor the new talent throughout this process, under the supervision of the BFI NETWORK Talent Executive. Peer sharing will also be encouraged throughout the programme as we believe there is great value in creatives learning from each other.



There will be three stages to the programme:

STAGE 1: Application

Applications for New Voices are now open and will close on Monday 28 September at 6pm, you will be able to apply with a paragraph about your short film idea, which can be delivered in writing, as a video or audio recording. Scroll down to our ‘How do I Apply?’ section for more information and the application form link.

If you would like to chat to our Talent Exec about your idea, your application or have any questions you can book a phone or video call via Calendly by clicking here (slots are 15 minutes max).

Up to fifteen filmmakers will be shortlisted for the next stage on the potential of their idea and creative ambition.

STAGE 2: Story Development Workshop

The shortlisted filmmakers will be invited to an online story development day on Friday 16 October from 11am to 4pm covering principles of storytelling, pitching tasks and group/peer-to-peer feedback. The aim is to develop the story to make sure it delivers for on screen for audiences, but also fulfils your intentions as a creative.

After the session we will ask for delivery of a first draft script for us to review by Friday 30 October. We hope to take up to four filmmakers on to the final stage of development.

This workshop will be delivered via Zoom with live closed captions, and if you have any specific needs, for example require a BSL interpreter, please contact us in advance of the event and we will arrange this. To tell us about your access needs, and/or if you have any questions in regard to access, please email us on

STAGE 3: Script Development & Mentoring 

All projects taken forward will be mentored by either Blak Wave or Little By Little Films and the BFI NETWORK Talent Executive. We will guide you through the application process and continue to develop your idea with you to a final draft of the script. We will also commit to attaching a script editor to the project at this stage to support the writing of a strong short film script.

All applications will be submitted to the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund by February 2021. Blak Wave or Little By Little Films will act as the executive producers on your project and should the project be successful, they will oversee the production.



Fresh and original ideas from new or aspiring filmmakers based in the South West, who currently do not feel that they can apply for BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding via the usual application routes and/or who would benefit from a supported development process.

Short film ideas must be a maximum of 5 minutes in length and narrative/fiction only. The work should feel culturally relevant, be risk-taking and must be eligible for BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding; please refer to the BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding Guidelines.

This programme is open to all, but in line with BFI’s commitment to supporting inclusion and areas of interest of Blak Wave & Little By Little Films, we strongly encourage ideas from LGBTQIA+, People of Colour and D/deaf & Disabled creatives.

All applicants will be over the age of 18, not in full time education and be permanently based in the South West (BFI Map of Regions).



New Voices is currently closed for applications.



All of our events and workshops will be delivered via Zoom with live closed captions, if you have any specific needs, for example require a BSL interpreter, please contact us in advance of the event and we will arrange this. To tell us about your access needs, and/or if you have any questions in regard to access, please email us on

There is also funding available via the BFI Access Support Fund for applicants who are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, disabled or neurodiverse, and people with sight loss, where this support is needed in order for someone to make a funding application to BFI Short Film Funding. This can be used to cover costs such as:

  • The costs of a support worker to assist you in using funding guidelines and making an online application.
  • The provision of guidelines in an alternative format (please note we can already provide a plain text version and audio described version of the BFI Short Film Funding guidelines).
  • Costs for meetings relating to your application including travel, note-takers, BSL interpreters.

Find out more information here.


BFI NETWORK exists to support, develop and champion new voices looking to kick-start their filmmaking career. Made possible through National Lottery funding, BFI NETWORK collaborates with film organisations and leading cultural venues across the UK to provide short film and early feature development funding, industry-backed professional development and networking support to producers, writers and directors of all ages.

This programme is led by BFI NETWORK South West based in Watershed in Bristol with support from the regional Talent Executive, Alix Taylor. Here to nurture the South West’s new wave of filmmaking talent and to support writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers with original stories to tell and inspired approaches to their craft.

Blak Wave is an independent production company based in Bristol,  committed to producing film and TV that better reflects our society, giving a voice to unheard voices and telling untold stories. Blak Wave strives to create content that is fresh, imaginative and crafted by diverse talent, utilising the skills and knowledge of Award winning self shooting director Michael Jenkins and producer director Somina ‘Mena’ Fombo. Passionate about literally changing the face of TV and film, they focus on creating entertaining, emotional and compelling stories across various genres, with recent credits including ‘The Shadow of Slavery’ for Channel 4, shorts for BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine’ and the upcoming live action ‘Pickney.’

Little By Little Films is a multi award-winning independent production company dedicated to brilliant storytelling by and about underrepresented voices, with a focus on women, LGBTQ+ folks and D/deaf and disabled people. Founded in 2011 by Emmy®-winning producer and director Lindsey Dryden and now based in Gloucestershire, LBL Films is LGBTQ+- and disabled-led, and works collaboratively with authentic voices to tell powerful, unexpected and intimate stories with artistry, originality and inclusivity.

With credits on Netflix, BBC and PBS, work on display in Tate Modern and Tate Britain, and collaborators including Wellcome Trust, Royal Court Theatre and the ACLU, the company’s award-winning productions include Sundance Special Jury Award-winning feature documentary Unrest (2017, Netflix/PBS); Emmy®-winning documentary series Trans In America (2018, SXSW/ACLU/Condé Nast them.); narrative short The Forgotten C (2020, The Uncertain Kingdom); short doc Jackie Kay: One Person Two Names (2017, Tate Queer British Art); narrative short Little Ones (2013, nominated Best Producer, Underwire) and feature documentary Lost and Sound (SXSW, 2012).

In partnership with BFI NETWORK, Blak Wave Productions and Little By Little Films.

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