Filmmakers F.A.Q. | BFI NETWORK South West

Two people sat on the curb, one holding a monitor. they both look towards their left. it appears to be a service station at night, they look cosy and in control.

Our BFI NETWORK Talent Executives Alix Taylor and Alice Cabanas 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.

We have compiled a list of common questions we receive from South West creatives who get in touch.

If you are curious about what we do, have a 1:1 coming up, or a place booked on a NETWORKED event please have a read through the FAQs on this page.

Can’t find the answers you need here? Email us at bfinetwork@watershed.co.uk

Regions

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 (see BFI Regional Map).

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 new and emerging writers, directors and producers based in the region. We have two pots of funding available for short film production and early feature film development. You can find out more about our funding here

Do you fund documentary projects?

BFI NETWORK only funds narrative fiction work. 

Our partners over at Doc Society provide funding and development opportunities for documentary filmmakers. If you are making or aspiring to make documentaries they are a valuable resource – check out their website here.

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 / listening to the guidelines here as they give valuable insight into who can apply, what we are looking for and how to put together an application.

If you still have questions once you’ve read the guidelines we’re happy to help or check below for some further FAQs about making an application. 

To talk to us you can either book in a 1:1 slot with a Talent Executive here, or you can email questions to us as well on bfinetwork@watershed.co.uk

Who can apply?

BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding

This funding is for fiction shorts projects, in both live-action and animation, with a director based in England who hasn’t yet directed a fiction feature film that has received UK distribution. The team will need to be able to demonstrate a creative track record as part of the application. This could be student work or something created at a grassroots/non-professional level, and it may be in film, television, theatre or another art form.

  • Aged 18 or over.
  • Not in full-time education.

BFI NETWORK Early Development Funding

This fund is aimed at new feature writers based in England who have not yet written a feature film script that has been produced and received UK distribution. 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. 

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Not in full-time education.

Please note; we only handle applications from directors that are permanently based in one of these South West counties (see more detail in the next question).

Can I apply without a producer?

You will need a producer to apply for our Short Film Funding. 

You do not need a producer to apply to our Early Development Funding. 

Who completest the application form?

If applying for our Short Film Funding then the producer will submit 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 application form.

If applying to our Early Development Funding then the writer will submit the and be listed as the named applicant on the form.

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. 

It will need to be clear to us that those concerned would be able to fulfil their obligations to each film, should they be offered funding for more than one project. Each team member also needs to be fully available to carry out their function and not have conflicting commitments on the same project.

Do you fund genre films?

Yes – we fund a broad range of genres and styles. Check out the funded by NETWORK page to see examples of the different films we fund.

Can I apply to BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding if our budget is higher than 15k?

We do accept applications for higher budget shorts, but please note that the additional funding should be secured or very close to being secured before your application.  

No formal offer of funding from us can be made until all additional finance is secured, so we would recommend applying when you have a realistic plan for any additional finance needed, as an application that has gaps in finance cannot be progressed. 

Each application round will have a final deadline by when additional finance must be secured, this is always detailed in the deadline info on this page here, and is roughly 6 – 8 weeks after the applications close (please check the link for the exact deadline for each round).

Can I apply to BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding if our budget is less than £15K?

Yes. The maximum amount we award is £15k, but we accept and strongly encourage applications under this amount. The average amount we award per project is around £11K. 

Filmmaking Teams

How can I find a producer for my short film project?

Every other month, we host NETWORKED, a networking mixing event for South West Talent to connect which is a great opportunity to meet producers in the South West, make sure you are following our social media channels for the latest. 

Twice a year in March & September we also organise an event called Connect and Collab, which is designed specifically to connect writers and directors with producers. Look at our events page to see when these are next taking place and details on how to register for upcoming events

There are also some really useful tips on finding a producer here, and you can also check and post on our Facebook Group which fosters a network in the region.

South West Talent Executives

Can I meet with the South West Talent Executives?

The Talent Executives run regular 1:1 sessions for regional filmmakers to find out more about funding opportunities. 

You can book in a 1:1 slot with a Talent Executive here

These meetings book up quickly, and are primarily for people who have not already had a 1:1 or connected with the execs. You can find out about the next sessions by following our newsletter, joining our Facebook group, and following us on Twitter to get updates for when these go live. 

If you are unable to find or book a slot and still need advice or assistance please get in touch at bfinetwork@watershed.co.uk with any further questions and we’ll be happy to help via email.

How much contact do you get with BFI NETWORK Talent Executives if your project is funded?

The Talent Executive provides creative oversight of the short film, as well as working with filmmakers prior to and during production. Once you have been awarded funding they may also be able to advise you on finding screening opportunities regionally and further afield, potential collaborators for your project and festival strategy for your film.

Development Labs and other opportunities

Is now the right time for me to be applying to a BFI NETWORK development lab?

Application criteria for our labs can vary depending on the focus of the lab – here is a broad overview of who can usually apply:

  • 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 (see BFI Regional Map).
  • Aged 18 or over.
  • Not in full-time education.
  • Must be available for the majority of the key dates provided.
  • Please check individual call outs for the specific event criteria.

Where can I watch previously funded BFI NETWORK shorts?

You can watch a selection of funded work on the BFI NETWORK website

More from Film Hub South West

Programming as a Creative Practice (During a Pandemic)

Megan Mitchell of Matchbox Cine Club, reflects and reports back following their enrollment on a Open City Documentary Festival and UCL short course, attended with a bursary from Film Hub South West.

Blogs

Read more

Script Development Lab 2021: Meet the Participants

BFI NETWORK South West are pleased to present our participants for the Script Development Lab 2021. 8 participants were selected from 110+ applications - here you can learn more about each individual.

Training

Read more

News Directions

New Directions is a programme supporting archive film events which retrace the historic steps that have brought the UK to its current political and cultural crossroads.

Funding

Read more

Members’ Meet-Up

Events

Read more