First feature funding

The Film Fund now selects features from first-time directors (and which are budgeted under £2,000,000) at quarterly intervals.

Supporting new filmmakers is a priority for the Film Fund, and we receive a high volume of applications, so we have found it beneficial to look at these applications at the same time. We believe that a more structured approach allows us to provide successful applicants with the right level of editorial collaboration and support in raising finance. Applications are welcomed at any time but will be assessed after the relevant deadlines for submissions and according to a set process which will include meetings with film-makers.

Applications for First-time Directors should be made on the Film Fund online application form.

Please read this information to find out whether this strand of the Film Fund would be applicable to you.

Who are we looking for?

This Film Fund process is aimed for producers working with a director on their first feature. As with all applications, they must be made by the producer through a company registered in the UK or another state of the European Union or European Economic Area and registered as a branch in the UK.

You must be able to express in your application the reasons why you feel the director is ready to make their first feature film, and we would ask you to describe the experiences they bring with them.

We will assess your application alongside examples of the director’s work. This could be short films, music videos, pilots, or whatever is applicable to their previous experience and supports your reasons for applying to this strand of the Fund.

Your film must be feature length and intended for theatrical release.

We accept applications in any genre. Please note that funding for documentaries is treated differently, and you should read the separate documentary funding sheet for more information.

You will need to have a finance plan in place and if possible identify the financial partners that would be willing to invest in your feature, alongside the BFI.

Directors whose previous work include feature length films that have had a non-theatrical, non-UK or very limited UK theatrical release, or were made on a micro budget, are likely to be considered within the first feature strand.

We encourage applications from filmmakers embarking on their first low budget feature. However, if your film is being made for a budget of under £500,000 please refer first to the relevant micro-budget schemes that we co-fund through our partners Creative England and Film London:


See Can I apply? Section of the Film Fund guidelines for other eligibility criteria.

The process

After each deadline applications will be read and assessed by Film Fund executives.

A number of projects will be shortlisted over the course of the next 8 weeks.

Shortlisted filmmakers will be invited to meetings at the BFI to discuss their project further.

Decisions will be made based upon the filmmaker meetings, and Letters of Intent issued in accordance with the standard process for the Film Fund. We may make an announcement after issuing those Letters.


Please ensure you have read the full information document for our funding before you complete the application form, and take careful note of the changes in our funding elaborated on above.

When to apply

Applications can be made at any time but will not be assessed until the next deadline for applications has passed (this list will routinely be updated):

Key dates

Please note that applications will not be assessed until after the application deadline has passed. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email.

Winter 2016

Deadline for applications Friday 15 January, 11.59pm
If shortlisted, filmmaker meetings w/c Monday 21 March
Decisions made, letters of intent issued w/c Monday 28 March

Spring 2016

Deadline for applications Friday 8 April, 11.59pm
If shortlisted, filmmaker meetings w/c Monday 20 June
Decisions made, letters of intent issued w/c Monday 27 June

Read more



    Discovering, developing and funding new and emerging filmmakers.

Read more

Back to the top