BFI Flare LGBT Filmmakers’ Mentorship Programme 2016

We’re offering five emerging LGBT filmmakers from the UK the opportunity to progress in the industry.

2015 BFI Flare Mentees (from left to right): Scout Stuart, Aleem Khan, Islay Bell-Webb, Rachelle Constant, Claire Kurylowski

2015 BFI Flare Mentees (from left to right): Scout Stuart, Aleem Khan, Islay Bell-Webb, Rachelle Constant, Claire Kurylowski

BFI Flare LGBT Filmmakers’ Mentorship Programme, delivered by BAFTA with BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, with funding from Creative Skillset, will offer five emerging LGBT filmmakers from the UK the opportunity to develop industry knowledge, professional connections, their passion for cinema and an overview of LGBT features entering the marketplace.

Successful filmmakers will receive:

  • a minimum of four one-to-one meetings with your mentor, a senior figure in the UK film industry.
  • a roundtable with all mentors and mentees on Thursday 17 March 2016 (TBC) exploring the current global market environment for LGBT films.
  • access to a bespoke programme of industry talks and events during BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (16-27 March 2016).
  • a delegate pass and access to the viewing library for BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival.
  • access to monthly BFI Flare-branded screenings at BFI Southbank.
  • two tickets to BFI Flare Opening Night film and party on Wednesday 16 March 2016.

The Festival will also promote your work by publishing a news story with filmmaker profiles for the BFI Flare website and social networks and offering you the option to have your short film available on the password-protected BFI Flare industry viewing portal.

Eligibility criteria

  • You will have written, produced or directed a short film which has screened in the official selection at one of BAFTA’s qualifying film festivals (PDF), or in BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (previously known as BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival).
  • You will be developing a feature film project.
  • You will be a UK resident.


Although the mentorship will be based in London, this is a UK-wide programme. There is some bursary support available to offset travel costs for participants living outside of Greater London.

Programme details

You will be assigned a mentor who is a senior figure in the film industry working in production or sales and distribution.

You will have at least four formal meetings with your mentor. You and the mentor will be given support on how to get the most out of the experience. Rather than being a project development scheme, the programme strengthens professional networks and offers a space for discussion and better understanding of opportunities and challenges for LGBT filmmakers in the UK and in the global marketplace.

The first of these meetings will be a collective gathering of all mentors and mentees at a roundtable session at BFI Flare 2016. This will be a Q&A exploring industry facts about LGBT content in UK film and in the global marketplace, and a discussion of the participants’ projects.

Three additional meetings will be facilitated by the programme producer throughout 2016. Other meetings may also occur at the discretion of mentor/mentee.

At the end of 2016 all mentees and mentors will have an exit interview which will inform an article on the current global landscape for LGBT filmmaking. The article will be published on the BFI website.

Key dates

22 February 2016 Application deadline
1-3 March 2016 Interviews (TBC)
4 March 2016 Notification of success
16-27 March 2016 BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival
17 March 2016 First mentor meetings, BFI Flare roundtable (TBC)
April-October 2016 Second and third mentor meetings
October 2016 BFI London Film Festival, fourth mentor meeting
November-December 2016 Exit interviews

How to apply

Please fill out our online application form, which will ask you to:

  • upload an online link to your qualifying short film (see above criteria).
  • discuss what you see as the three major challenges for LGBT films and filmmakers (you may deliver this as written text or a to-camera address).
  • tell us which filmmaker you admire and why (you may deliver this as written text or a to-camera address).

This programme is designed to help develop LGBT-identified filmmakers who may or may not be working on projects with LGBT content.

If you have any questions about the mentorship programme, please email us at or call us on 020 7815 1305.

Meet last year’s mentees

Find out more more about last year’s filmmaker mentees. Last year’s mentee-mentor partnerships were as follows:

  • Claire Kurylowski → Ester Martin Bergsmark (Something Must Break, She Male Snails)
  • Scout Stuart → Hong Khao (Lilting)
  • Aleem Khan → Ben Roberts (Director of the BFI Film Fund)
  • Islay Bell-Webb → Russell T. Davies (Cumcumber, Banana, Tofu, Dr Who, Torchwood)
  • Rachelle Constant → Gavin Humphries (BAFTA-nominated independent producer & Film Partnership Manager, Creative Skillset), and Mike Goodridge (CEO, Protagonist Pictures)

One mentee said that “having a structure that gave me a starting point for where to go, what to do and who to see and talk to was one the most useful aspects of the mentorship during the festival.” Another mentioned, “having a very supportive professional network of other LGBT professionals in the industry essentially handed to me on a plate was pretty brilliant.”



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