Filmmaker FAQs | BFI NETWORK South West

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Our BFI NETWORK Talent Executives Nadia Attia and Jess Wheeler are here to support and develop regional filmmakers.

Our work in the region supports writers, directors and producers with short film production funding, early feature film development funding, and professional development opportunities through events and labs. Can’t find the answers you need here? Email us at

Explore BFI NETWORK’s directory of resources, compiled by Talent Executives, on the Independent Cinema Offices’ website via this link


Where does the South West region cover?

We only handle applications from directors that are permanently based in one of these South West counties: Bath & NE Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Southampton, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Torbay or Wiltshire.

If you’re a writer, director or producer living in one of these counties then you can access any of our events, labs, networking and other activities. 

How do you decide which region an application is allocated to?

This is based on the postcode of the director, which is required at the point of application.

Funding Applications

What funding is available?

BFI NETWORK South West supports emerging writers, directors and producers based in the region. We have two pots of funding available for short film production and feature film treatment development. You can find out more about BFI NETWORK short film funding here.

Do you fund documentary projects?

No, BFI NETWORK only funds scripted fiction work. Our partners BFI Doc Society provide funding and development opportunities for documentary filmmakers.

I’m thinking of applying for funding with you, where do I start and what advice would you give me?

Firstly we’d recommend reading the BFI guidelines as they give valuable insight into who can apply, what we’re looking for, and how to put together an application. Please note that BFI NETWORK funding is highly competitive and filmmakers are expected to already have a solid background in creating moving-image work or experience in similar disciplines such as theatre. We’re looking for talented storytellers and unique, achievable ideas. For more info on what makes a great application check out this blog post from our Talent Executive.

The BFI have also put together a handy FAQs page.

If you still have questions once you’ve read all of the above you can email

Do you fund feature films?

We don’t fund the production and distribution of feature films. We are only able to support the development of a feature film treatment via the:

BFI NETWORK Early Development Fund

This fund is aimed at writers who have not yet written a feature film script that has been produced and received UK distribution (theatrically or on a major streaming platform). They will, however, have previously written one or more short films that have been produced, or have realised comparable work in another creative medium. This work will have received some industry recognition in the form of being showcased on a major platform in its field (e.g. festival, professional theatre, selection on a significant online outlet). Established writers in media other than film are welcome to apply. Applicants must:

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Have an idea for a feature-length (70mins +), scripted live-action, animation or immersive film that is not an adaptation of someone else’s work or a biopic (it can be any other genre).

Can I apply without a producer?

You will need a producer to apply for the Short Film Fund. The producer can be based anywhere in the UK.

You do not need a producer to apply for the Early Development Fund.

Why do I need a producer?

In order to apply for short film funding from BFI NETWORK, there is a need for your project to have a producer for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, the Fund supports teams and collaborations working together from the outset, with the producer being a central part of that team and project. The full team should work together to contribute to the project proposal, and we will be looking at the strength of the group before an award is made. Ultimately the most successful projects are a result of collaboration, with the film benefiting from different lenses, experiences, skills and expertise. 

To ensure your film has the best chance of success, it’s imperative to have a distinct split of focus on set. The director should be able to maintain directorial vision and work with the actors whilst knowing that the business continuity and experience of cast and crew is being capably managed by somebody else. 

We also seek to support the creation of opportunities and development for the widest number of people possible in order to create a more sustainable and thriving regional community and film culture. 

Who completes the application form?

If applying for our Short Film Fund the producer will submit the application and be listed as the named applicant on the form. The director will need to fill in a ‘creative vision’ section, but the producer will be the main contact for the project and the named recipient of the award.

If applying for our Early Development Fund the lead writer will submit the application and be listed as the main contact and recipient of the award.

Can I apply with more than one project, with the same producer-director team?

We aim to provide as many opportunities to as many individuals as possible across the region, and as such we would not fund the same team more than once in a single assessment round in the South West. 

If members of your team are involved in other projects that are also seeking funds, or have secured funds, from the BFI including BFI NETWORK you should state this in your application. 

Do you fund genre films?

Yes we fund a broad range of genres and styles and welcome new perspectives, though we do focus on narrative, scripted storytelling (as opposed to experimental/art films). Check out our previously funded short films and feature projects.

Where else can I get funding?

Here are some additional links that might be of use:  

We suggest you sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media to stay up to date on funding as well as other events and opportunities that might be of interest

The Independent Cinema Office also has a resource directory you can find here

Do you fund setting up a production company or can you help with this?

BFI NETWORK do not offer funding to cover the costs of setting-up or running a production company, this type of support can be provided by Creative UK via various schemes. There’s more guidance on setting up a production company here.

Do you fund film-related events?

BFI NETWORK South West does have a (small) amount of funding available each year to support filmmaker networks – projects that bring together talent and help promote an inclusive, diverse and vibrant film community in the South West. We don’t fund one-off film projects, however. If you’re setting up film nights, festivals or one-off film events please consider becoming a Film Hub Member.

Filmmaking Teams

Can you help me find a producer for my short film project?

We don’t have the capacity to offer individual introductions between filmmakers in the region, but we do occasionally run networking events, so sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media.

Additionally, we have a Facebook Group ‘South West Talent Connect’ for those searching for crew/collaborators.

Here’s some useful advice on finding collaborators from our partner Film Hub Midlands. 

There is plenty of invaluable advice on filmmaking, collaboration, festivals and more in the (free) Short Film Toolkit.

South West Scriptwriters connect producers with scripts.

You can also check out local networking events and crewing opportunities via Shooting People and Tabb.

You might also want to keep an eye on the Pervasive Media Studio (based at Watershed) as they regularly have open days/events for creatives to meet and also host free drop-in desk spaces for Producers on ‘Producer Wednesdays’.

If you identify as a woman or non-binary and are based in the South West then it’s also worth checking out the Forge Group filmmaker meet-ups that happen about once a month, a network of women filmmakers from different backgrounds. To find out more and be included in the mailing list contact them via 

Can you help me find a crew for my short film project?

We’re unable to offer bespoke matchmaking between filmmakers and crew in the region, but you may find these links useful:  

The Filming in England database

BAFTA Crew  

Shooting People


Look Beyond the List

Screen Cornwall crew and talent database

Crew Bristol

Bristol Crew

You could also try this Facebook group (Bristol Production Talent)

South West Talent Executives

Can I meet with the South West Talent Executives?

The Talent Executives occasionally run 1:1 sessions for regional filmmakers to find out more about funding opportunities. These meetings book up quickly, and are primarily for people who have not already had a meeting with the execs. You can find out when the next 1:1 slots become available by following our newsletter, joining our Facebook group, and following us on X (Twitter) to get updates for when these go live. You can find out more about the Film Hub South West team here.

If you’re unable to find or book a slot and still need advice or assistance please get in touch with us at and we’ll be happy to help via email.

What can I discuss in a 1:1?

As we’re such a small team the Talent Executives don’t have the capacity to read scripts, treatments or pitch docs and offer script development advice. These meetings are a way for the team to get to know talent in our region – they are not intended to be a careers advice or mentoring session. What the Talent Execs can help with is:

  • General info on what funds we distribute on behalf of BFI NETWORK
  • Activity we have planned over the coming year
  • General resources you could use to find collaborators (please note that we don’t offer direct introductions or ‘matchmaking’ between talent – see above)
  • General advice on what makes a good script or funding application

How much contact do I get with the Talent Executives if my project is funded?

The Talent Executive provides creative oversight of your short film or feature treatment prior to and during production, and are available for any questions. Once you have been awarded funding they may also be able to advise you on screening opportunities and festival strategy.

Film Festivals

Can you give me advice on film festivals?

As we’re such a small team we can’t offer detailed or bespoke festival advice, it’s best if you visit each festival’s website for info on eligibility, deadlines and fees. We suggest that you look at a BAFTA recognised festivals list as they will be some key ones to approach, then of course think about genre ones depending on your themes/content (eg BFI Flare, horror festivals, short-length films eg Depict!, Straight8 etc…).  is what most people use to search for and enter festivals.

Also look into any support that the British Council can offer as they sometimes fund filmmakers to attend festivals abroad. Most festivals charge an entry fee so remember to include a line in your budget for that, ensure that your synopsis and credits list is accurate and that you have some great film stills available to help you with your submissions. Good luck!  

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