Making an application for More Films for Freedom

This guide gives you advice and recommendations on how to write a good application for More Films for Freedom.

1. Overview

BFI NETWORK exists to support, develop and champion new filmmakers looking to kick-start their career. Made possible through National Lottery funding, we collaborate 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 aged 18 and above. The partners that make up BFI NETWORK are detailed on the Connect with BFI NETWORK page.

More Films for Freedom is a partnership between BFI NETWORK and the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities that aims to find and fund vital, creative collaborations that explore LGBTQIA+ global human rights, intersectionality or diaspora identity. It builds on the #FiveFilmsForFreedom digital campaign, which originated in 2015 as a partnership between BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival and the British Council, and has generated views from over 23 million people worldwide in over 200 countries and principalities.

We aim to commission up to three new projects that will have at their heart an element of collaboration between UK-based filmmakers and storytellers from Africa and/or the Middle East.  The successful applicants will be awarded a grant of up to £25,000 each, to cover the costs of all stages of production, delivery of materials, and team travel.

We can support fiction, documentary and animated film, and films that cut across these generic distinctions. All films should have a strong central idea and storyline which will help them reach a wide range of audiences internationally.

All films must be fully delivered by 4 March 2024. We are looking for applications from teams that can be confident about their project achieving this deadline.

The successful applicants will be able to submit their finished films to festivals upon completion. They should discuss these plans with the BFI and British Council in advance of any festival submission, but responsibility for festival submission ultimately lies with the filmmakers. Once a significant festival premiere, according to the judgement of British Council and BFI, of a funded film has taken place, the film will be made available for screening via the British Council’s International Touring Programme offer and made available online via BFI and British Council’s respective platforms. The BFI and British Council will each have the non-exclusive right to exhibit the film via our online platforms, from the point of its delivery to us. The British Council and BFI rights to exhibit the film are part of the contractual terms of the funding of this grant and are non-negotiable.

Filmmaker support

Each award of funding is accompanied by creative oversight of the short film by a BFI NETWORK representative, with input from British Council staff. Each funded team will work with the BFI NETWORK Funding and Programme Manager, whose support as an “Executive Producer” will be provided alongside the funding, to guide both team and project from script through to final delivery.

For projects shooting outside the UK, it may be possible to match them with a partnership organisation or similar resource in the country where the shoot is taking place as a source of guidance and support. Film teams will also be connected with the British Council’s local office in the country of the shoot.

2. Delivering against our National Lottery Strategy

Core priorities

We apply the following six priorities when reviewing applications. These take in the three National Lottery strategic principles as well as the outcomes identified in our National Lottery strategy. You will be asked to address some of these directly in your application to us.

  1. Equity, diversity and inclusion: addressing under-representation in perspective and representation, talent and recruitment, agency and opportunities, widening the range of voices and audiences served.
  2. Impact and audience: supporting projects with a strong cultural or progressive impact for audiences.
  3. Talent development and progression: supporting early career filmmakers (producers, writers and directors) and projects with a reasonable proportion of early career cast and crew.
  4. Risk: supporting projects that take creative risks.
  5. UK-wide: increasing the number of projects and filmmakers outside London and the South East, looking at location and representation.
  6. Environmental sustainability: addressing sustainability both creatively and practically.

BFI diversity standards

We ask applicants to address priority one – equity, diversity and inclusion – through engaging with the BFI Diversity Standards for film (you can download the document below). You will need to demonstrate how your project meaningfully tackles under-representation in relation to disability, gender, race, age, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, while also considering the interactions of these identities and any other barriers to opportunity.

Key Performance Indicators

The BFI will measure the success of this short film funding using the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

  • number of projects supported - 2
  • number of applications received - 30
  • funded projects completing carbon footprinting - 100%
  • funded projects taking part in dedicated training in environmental sustainability for film - 100%

The awards made by More Films for Freedom will contribute to achieving the overall BFI inclusion targets for writers, directors and producers supported:

  • disability (including those identifying as D/deaf or neurodiverse or with a longstanding physical or mental diagnosis): 18%
  • ethnically diverse (London): 40%
  • ethnically diverse (outside London): 30%
  • gender (50-50 balance of male and female identifying within the gender binary): 50%
  • LGBTQIA+ (including those identifying outside the gender binary): 10%
  • working class background: 39%

3. Check if you’re eligible

More Films for Freedom supports international collaborations between UK-based filmmakers and filmmakers in, or from, the Middle East and/or Africa.

All teams applying must have this international component, which may be by:

  • citizenship
  • nationality
  • residency status or cultural heritage of at least one of the core collaborators (writer, director, writer-director or producer)

The core team may be composed of filmmakers that are now based solely in the UK if it includes one or more individuals among the writer, director, writer-director or producer who have citizenship, nationality or cultural heritage from the Middle East and/or Africa.

A team’s international component can also be constituted by either:

  • a co-production arrangement with a production company based in Africa or the Middle East. In this instance, both producers will need to contribute to the application - particularly to the question on co-production in the application form - and, if selected for an interview, be present at the interview which will be conducted virtually
  • through working with an individual or group documentary subject based partly or wholly in Africa or the Middle East

In all cases, teams need to include an experienced, UK-based producer capable of delivering projects with an international component, who will be the lead applicant.

All teams applying need to demonstrate how they will collaborate internationally and how they will achieve a meaningful collaboration.


All applications for funding must:

  • be submitted by the project’s dedicated individual producer through a limited company registered and centrally managed in the UK
    • this dedicated individual producer must be a UK resident
    • they will be considered the ‘lead applicant’ to whom, if your application is successful, the award will be made
    • the production company must be owned or co-owned by the project’s producer, and this producer must also be a director of the company
    • the applicant company will own the rights in the completed project

Filmmaking team

All projects must have:

  • a director attached who hasn’t yet directed a fiction feature film that has received UK distribution
    • individuals who have self-financed and directed a feature, or made a feature that did not achieve commercial distribution (theatrically or via a major online platform) in the UK, may apply
  • a team comprising a writer and a director, or a writer-director, in addition to the applicant producer
    • documentaries may apply with only a producer and director and do not need to have a designated writer
  • one team member, whether the director, writer (where applicable), writer-director or producer, who has written or directed or produced (as appropriate) one or more short films that have either:
  • a writer (where applicable), director and producer who are all over 18 and not in full-time education. If any of your core filmmaking team are currently in full-time education, you may include them in your application provided that their course or studies will be completed by 1 August 2023
    • This means the writer, director and producer all need to have fully completed any student work, for example, submitted course materials, final project or dissertation and have completed all examinations in a final year of study, and not be entering a further year of study later in 2023 
  • a minimum of two individuals across the three key creative roles of producer, writer and director. The writer and director may be the same person, as may the writer and producer
    • this means that director-producers are not eligible to apply. Team members need to be fully available to carry out their function and not undertake potentially conflicting roles on the same project
    • for documentaries, which generally only have two roles – director and producer – these must be separate individuals
  • a director who is only attached to a single project applying to this funding round
    • producers and writers can be attached to multiple applications within each funding round
    • if your writer (where applicable), director and/or producer are involved in other projects that are also seeking funds (or have secured funds) from the BFI, including BFI NETWORK England Short Film Fund 2023, you should state this in your application. Furthermore, should you be successful with this application to More Films for Freedom and if any of your writer, director and/or individual producer(s) are attached to a successful application to BFI NETWORK England Short Film Fund 2023, it will need to be clear to us that the team members involved would be able to fulfil their obligations on each project. We may require work on each project to be phased to ensure this is the case.


All projects must:

  • clearly engage with some or all of our core priorities
  • explore LGBTQIA+ themes such as global human rights, intersectionality or diaspora identity 
  • be a ‘single project’ fiction or documentary short film in live action or animation
  • have an intended length of up to 10 minutes
    • as an indication, a typical page of dialogue will roughly equal a minute of on-screen time
  • be capable of obtaining a BBFC certificate that is no more restrictive than BBFC ‘15’. While we do not require you to gain certification for the final film, if you are successful in your request for funding and require certification for your film, you will be solely responsible for seeking this directly from BBFC.
  • be suitable to screen online, globally, for as wide an audience as possible. In order to maximise the international accessibility of the films, we cannot support films that include graphic violence, nudity in a sexual context, strong sexual content or frequent use of strong language
  • be seeking funding of up to £25,000
    • we will assess the feasibility of your budget and may offer you funding at a different amount than that which you’ve requested
    • projects can shoot in the UK and/or internationally but it must be possible to complete the films on the budget available. We know that animation projects can often cost more to produce per minute than regular live action projects, and we therefore encourage shorter duration animation projects to apply to this fund
  • be feasible for you to fully complete and deliver to the BFI by 4 March 2024. Projects therefore need to enter production swiftly following confirmation of support and all funding conditions being met. This means there is minimal time for securing any additional finance on top of the support provided to successful applicants by the BFI and British Council. Applicants seeking to raise additional funds must signal this in their application form. Failure to raise necessary additional finance may result in the funding award being withdrawn
  • have a script (or treatment/concept for documentary work) that is original to your team, and not an adaptation of third-party existing material. A short form adaptation of an existing work created by your writer, including (for example) work developed by your writer for the stage, will be eligible for funding, provided that the writer or the producer have, or have a contractual right to secure, the rights in the existing work that are required to create the adaptation
  • have secured, or you have a contractual right to secure, the rights (including any underlying rights) in the idea you are proposing. This includes use of any necessary archive or journalistic material or, as noted above, the right to adapt an existing work created by your writer (but not works created by an unrelated third party). You will be required to provide proof of securing all such rights prior to any funding offer or payment of any award from the BFI
  • be able to clear all third-party rights, including in the music for your project, for use throughout the world, in perpetuity, before it becomes part of your script or is included in the project (this is to ensure that you do not infringe any third-party rights whenever or wherever you show the film)
  • be capable of qualifying for certification as British, either through the applicable cultural test, or as an official co-production. Read more information on British certification. Please note that your own assessment of your project as being capable of qualifying for certification does not mean that it will necessarily pass. If you need advice as to whether your project is capable of qualifying, contact before submitting your application.
  • not have been previously submitted to More Films for Freedom unless there has been a significant change to the original application, for example, a change of director or a significant rewrite of the material with a different writer. In this instance, you will need to contact for prior approval before you apply for this round of funding.

When you’re ineligible

You’re not eligible to apply for this funding if your project:

  • does not explore LGBTQIA+ themes
  • has commenced shooting, finished shooting or is in post-production
  • is intended primarily for broadcast television
  • is a virtual reality or other immersive media work
  • focuses on another art form such as literature, dance on film, poetry on film, opera or artists’ moving image
  • adapts an existing work of fiction that was not written by your writer
  • has been submitted for funding to the BFI NETWORK England Short Film Fund 2023

This list is not exhaustive and there are other reasons, as referenced elsewhere in these guidelines, why your project may be ineligible.

Get in touch with the team if you’re unsure that you are eligible for this fund:

4. What you can use the funding for

Your budget should be created using industry norms and market rates. You are not required to put a cost against every line of the budget template – not all cost types will be relevant to your project – and you should only show the expenditure you actually expect to incur. Your budget should contain provisions for the following:

  • all costs you expect to incur in order to deliver the finished film
  • the costs of clearance of all rights (including in the music) in the project worldwide in all media in perpetuity on a full buy-out basis (save only for PRS payments for music)
  • crew payments at least equivalent to London Living Wage, with parity across grades, across departments
  • a fee for your film’s producer, director and – where applicable – writer. At minimum, this fee should be in line with other Heads of Department (HODs) on the project, or in line with cast and crew wages for shoot days, whichever is the highest
  • any disability access support you require in order to produce the project (see Access support costs)
  • reasonable external legal fees to cover the costs of your production legal services, including in relation to clearing all third-party rights, noting that for successful applicants, BFI will supply a pack of template agreements (covering the writer, director, individual producer, cast, crew, locations, music composer) for use on your project
  • all customary production insurances on which the BFI will require to be named as a loss payee
  • all the delivery materials required by the BFI, including enhanced access materials (HOH subtitles and Audio Description) for the project – see Delivery materials below
  • a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) for you to use when exhibiting your project
  • a minimum 10% contingency
  • any other requirements of funding detailed within these guidelines

You may also include up to £500 towards the costs of festival submissions or equivalent exhibition opportunities for the completed work.

We encourage you to be economical when budgeting but we need to ensure that the projects we support are produced in accordance with all applicable UK laws, including in relation to cast and crew payments. You can include contributions ‘in kind’, e.g. of resources or time – these should be clearly identified as such in your budget and you will need to demonstrate that cast and crew are being fairly paid.

VAT is not payable on any BFI NETWORK awards. The total grant funding supplied through the BFI award is outside the scope of VAT and the BFI award is fully inclusive of any and all taxes that may be payable in connection with the granting, receipt or use of the BFI award. Producers receiving BFI funding will need to deduct any such taxes out of the BFI award and in no circumstances will the BFI be required to pay any additional sums in respect of such taxes.

Costs that we cannot support

Some costs the fund does not cover includes:

  • core costs for day-to-day running of your production company not associated with the project
  • activity that is already specifically supported by another external source of funding
  • costs incurred prior to an offer of funding from BFI

The above list is not exhaustive and we may inform you that other types of activity identified in your application may not be included in your production budget.

Access costs during the production of your project

If any members of your core team, cast and/or crew have personal access needs that will incur additional costs during the production of your project, you can include these costs in your application. We define such needs as specific support required by people who are disabled or have a physical and/or mental health diagnosis, which will result in a verifiable additional cash cost to your production budget. For example, this might include a BSL interpreter to work with members of cast or crew; additional transport or accommodation costs for disabled team members; or the personal assistant of a team member with a learning disability or mental health diagnosis who requires assistance during the production.

If you require support for such costs, please include them in the Access Budget tab in the BFI NETWORK Production Calendar and Budget Template.

These costs will not count towards the £25,000 maximum award amount, so if you require additional funding to pay for personal access support during production, you can make an application to us for up to £25,000 plus the additional amount you need for access support.

Environmental sustainability

All teams applying for BFI NETWORK funding need to plan their project, from development stage onwards, with the environment and the climate crisis in mind. In your application, you’ll need to tell us about how you will embed the principle of environmental sustainability into your production. This means working to reduce your carbon emissions as much as possible, and your impact on the living world; and to maximise the positive environmental benefits your project could have. This will require you to think about the impact of your approach to production; where your energy comes from, in offices and on location; what materials you consume and how you plan for reduction, re-use and recycling, etc. We ask all applicants to share and embed sustainable values and behaviour with their collaborators and their supply chain, and promote sustainable production to colleagues across the wider industry.

BFI NETWORK-funded projects are required to complete carbon footprinting via BAFTA albert, submitting pre- and post-production carbon footprint calculations. If you are selected for funding, you should visit the albert website to request an account (you should not do this prior to receiving a confirmation of funding from the BFI). You can then log into the calculator and it will calculate your emission prediction. The prediction will enable you to see which of your activities will generate the most carbon emissions, and so identify actions to reduce these before you enter production.

All teams should read What to Think About When Making a Sustainable Short and follow these ten actions to reduce their actual carbon footprint. Albert has a range of production and editorial tools, and free training courses to support you to reduce the negative and increase the positive environmental impacts of your project. Full details can be found in albert’s Production Handbook. If your funding request is successful, a member of your team will need to attend BAFTA albert’s sustainable production training prior to your project entering production.

You can also choose to apply for BAFTA albert certification, to gain recognition that you have taken action to produce your project in a more sustainable way. This includes developing a carbon action plan, and paying to offset any remaining unavoidable emissions at the end of production. This offset fee generally amounts to approximately 0.1% of a total production budget and should be allowed for in the costing of your production if you choose to apply for certification. Projects can use the albert Creative Offsets estimator to predict how much it might cost to carbon offset.

Delivery materials for funded projects

Below is a summary of the key delivery materials that will likely be required if we fund your project, the cost of which must be contained in the production budget for the project. Please note this is a summary only and a more detailed, final list of delivery materials will be provided to projects that receive a funding award from us.

Film and Video Materials (for live action and animation projects)

  • 1 unencrypted DCP
  • 1 Pro Res 4444 Quicktime mezzanine file
  • 1 H264 .mov or .mp4 file
  • 1 online viewing link – password protected
  • If the film is not in the English Language, 1 .srt format subtitle file translated into English

Enhanced access materials

The BFI is committed to ensuring that the cinema experience is open to all, especially to disabled audience members. It’s a requirement of our funding that the film is delivered with subtitles and Audio Description, and that the availability of these materials is publicised and they are made available in time for any screenings of the film. You will need to include:

  • hearing impaired captions in .stl format or timed text format; and
  • visually impaired narrative [VI-N] audio track

You will need to factor the creation of these materials into your production timeline and ensure you have budgeted for them. Cost estimates for this work can vary considerably so it is important to shop around as early as possible.

Publicity materials

  • 1 selection of approved publicity stills
  • 1 selection of ‘Behind the Scenes’ stills taken from the film
  • 1 written pack — template to be provided


  • 1 Final Cost Report
  • 1 Release Plan
  • 1 BAFTA albert carbon calculator report, comprised of pre- and post-production calculations, submitted via the albert website
  • any applicable rights clearances
  • PDF copies of all clearance agreements including Artists Agreement(s), Director and Writer Agreement, Contributors Agreements (to include at a minimum all Heads of Department: DOP, Sound Recordist, Editor, Art Director/Production Designer, Sound Designer (if applicable)) and Music Contributors Agreement, and a copy of the music cue sheet
  • equality monitoring report submitted via an online link. This will request information on the contributors to your project and will be used to measure success against the BFI Diversity Standards

5. How to apply

When you can apply

Applications are now closed.

We can only make awards to projects that have been submitted to us through the online application process. This means that we cannot accept, or read, application materials submitted by any means other than the online application portal.

Information you need to provide

In the application you’ll need to complete the following sections:

Applicant details

Organisation and contact details of the applicant individual producer.

Project and team

Details required in these sections include:

  • your story
  • a written or video statement from your director and writer about the project
  • details of the individual producer(s), writer(s) and director(s) or writer/director(s), including their key credits and links to previous work, including the film that makes you eligible to apply

Creative proposal

  • story or synopsis
  • declaring whether your project is an adaptation of an underlying work


  • production plan
  • an outline on how you plan to implement safeguarding around the production and distribution of LGBTQIA+ themed work in relation to any potential hostile production conditions, and the impact of the global distribution the film will receive on the film team and any contributors/communities involved in or relating to it
  • if your film will involve shooting internationally, your experience in international production and the considerations for your proposed film in terms of achieving a successful, safe and on-budget international shoot
  • environmental impact
  • your plans for distribution, festival strategy or other means of maximising impact and exposure for your project to industry and audiences
  • for co-productions only; a statement as to how responsibilities will be divided between the producers involved

Finance and budget

  • the amount of funding you are seeking from the BFI
  • the total cost of the project
  • details of any other finance you have secured, or will need to secure, in order to make your project

BFI Diversity Standards

Supporting materials

  • links to materials expressing your ideas for the project you are seeking funding for, e.g. mood board or reel, production design, images etc
  • links to previous creative work from your core team members, such as short films, writing samples or visual artwork. We may decide not to review all of these before making a decision. You should provide some brief context as to why you’ve included each link: e.g. the work is similar in tone to that of the proposed project, or perhaps you learnt something specific from making one of the films, or encountered a challenge that you’d like to address on your next film


At the end of the form you need to attach:

  • your budget and, if applicable, finance plan showing any third-party finance already secured. Your budget needs to use the Excel template available for download below
  • a production calendar, including provisional shoot dates, as part of the same Excel template
  • the script of your project in standard industry format, submitted as a PDF or Word doc. This needs to be dated on its front page and should be a completed script rather than a treatment or outline. If your project has a format, such as documentary or animation, that doesn’t lend itself to regular script presentation, or you have an alternative mode of expression you would like to use (for example, because you are neurodivergent and work more visually), you can submit your ideas in your preferred medium e.g. animation storyboard or documentary treatment
  • any other materials relevant to the project, if you’ve not provided links in the previous section

Equality monitoring

You’ll be asked to complete an equality monitoring form when you submit your application. The data that you submit on this form will be confidential and anonymous, and will not be seen by the staff assessing your application. This collects data to help measure how effective the BFI is in attracting a diverse range of applicants for funding. It requests information about the writer(s), director(s) and producer(s) on your project. When filling it in, you can select ‘prefer not to say’ if you’d rather not share the information requested. Please note that we will not be able to put forward your application for assessment until you have completed the equality monitoring form.

If you have any questions when completing the application form please contact us on We also welcome your feedback on the application process and how we might improve it.

6. What happens after you apply

Once you’ve sent us your application we will send you confirmation that we have received it within five working days. We will then check whether your application is eligible for funding using the criteria identified in the Check if you’re eligible section. If your application does not meet our eligibility criteria, we will email to tell you that we will not be able to consider it. If you have made a mistake in your application, then we may enable you to correct this, if that is the only reason that the application is considered ineligible.

How your application is assessed

Once you have passed initial eligibility checks the BFI will confirm by email that your application will progress to assessment and a unique ID number will be assigned to the application.

Assessment criteria: Your application will be assessed against how well it meets our six core priorities. We will also consider:

  • the ambition and strength of the project proposal and its engagement with LGBTQIA+ themes including global human rights, intersectionality or diaspora identity
  • the strengths of the project team, including the strength of the proposed international collaboration
  • how the story is likely to connect with audiences internationally
  • if your project involves international location shooting, your level of experience in previous international shooting and/or the strength of your approach to this as described in your application
  • the strength of the case made for the potential career impact of the project for filmmaking team
  • the feasibility of the budget, its value for money and whether the project as described in the application and the script require the amount of money requested
  • your demonstration of need for National Lottery and British Council funding. Our funding is not intended to substitute or replace existing or commercial funding or other income that would or might otherwise be available, or to fund activity that can be achieved without our funding. National Lottery funds can only be awarded to applicants who demonstrate a compelling case for National Lottery support and a clear public benefit from the activity being funded. Projects that have already secured significant levels of third-party finance are not likely to be prioritised
  • the overall balance of projects receiving support, to ensure variety in the nature of the projects funded by the BFI

When assessing applications, we will also take into account previous National Lottery awards received by the applicant producer.

Assessment process

Following the closing dates for application for each funding round, and completion of eligibility checks, all eligible applications will be assessed against the assessment criteria set out above by two or more different people, drawn from BFI NETWORK and British Council representatives and/or independent, external readers. In addition, we may share parts of your application with other BFI teams or external consultants to help with our assessment. External consultants participating in the assessment process will be contractually required to maintain confidentiality regarding the application contents and agree not to retain application materials following their review.

A shortlist of up to 10 applicants will be invited for an interview on the week commencing Monday 18 September in order to select the final projects for funding. Interviews will be conducted by video call and need to include each project’s writer, director and producer(s).

While the intention is to fund up to three projects, the BFI reserves the right to make no awards, or less than three awards, under the More Films for Freedom programme, in the event there are not enough applications considered by the BFI to be sufficiently viable.

If we are interested in supporting your project, at this point we will request from you:

  • copies of the fully executed agreements (in a pre-approved format) for the services of the Writer(s), Director(s) or Writer/Director(s) and Producer(s) of the project
  • a final budget. After reviewing your budget, we may request that you amend specific lines and/or allocations before we make a final funding decision. We may offer you a different amount to the one you’ve requested
  • if you have secured third-party funding for your project, the applicable funding agreements or other evidence of commitments related to that funding (please note that third-party funding agreements must not conflict with BFI funding terms so they should be submitted for BFI review prior to you signing the contract with the third party)

For projects progressing to Lottery Finance Committee consideration (see below), we will also ask you to fill in a form giving us the personal address and date of birth of the CEO or Managing Director of the organisation applying. Please note that our request for this

information is not an indication or confirmation of funding and you will be informed separately of the funding decision on your application. We will use this data to run an identity check. This is not a credit check and will not affect the ability of the CEO or Managing Director to receive credit from other organisations. We will be unable to submit your application to our decision-making committee until we have received your completed form.

Lottery Finance Committee Consideration

Following assessment of each application, funding recommendations will be made to the BFI Lottery Finance Committee for the selected projects. This is the final stage of the funding decision process.


You’ll get a decision within 12 weeks of the closing date for applications. However, it may take us longer to give you a decision for reasons including: if we receive exceptionally high numbers of applications; if we approach you for additional information; or if there are other circumstances out of our control. We will keep applicants updated if the timeframe is likely to be extended.

7. Getting a decision

All applicants will be informed in writing of the decision on their application. The decision of BFI NETWORK and the British Council as to whether we wish to support your application is final.

Successful applicants

Following our confirmation of funding for your project, you will need to provide us with the following final materials and information which, subject to BFI’s rights of approval, will become part of your Production Finance Agreement (PFA).

  • production calendar and schedule
  • final budget
  • confirmation of details of the following specifications for your project (or equivalent alternatives for animation or documentary, where applicable):
    • writer(s)
    • director
    • individual producer(s)
    • director of photography
    • editor
    • principal cast
    • length (including credits)
    • prep start date
    • principal photography
    • (a) start date
    • (b) wrap date
    • delivery date
    • format

This will constitute part of the agreed criteria against which the project will be delivered.

Once we have reviewed and approved that information, you will receive a PFA, setting out details of how you’ll receive the funding, how you must use it and how we expect you to report to us. You will need to sign the PFA and return it to the BFI within 14 days, or sooner if required in relation to commencement of shoot dates.

BFI National Lottery Funding is project-based, time-limited funding, and as such, there should be no expectation of ongoing support beyond the term of any awards made.

Unsuccessful applicants

We are only able to support a small percentage of the applications we receive and, unfortunately, have to say no far more often than we are able to say yes. We may have turned down your application because we determined that your proposal:

  • did not sufficiently meet our core priorities, including in relation to engagement with the BFI Diversity Standards
  • was too ambitious for the budget
  • did not demonstrate enough relevant experience in relation to the scale or nature of the production you are proposing
  • did not sufficiently engage with the stated themes of More Films for Freedom
  • was not yet developed enough
  • did not demonstrate sufficient need for National Lottery support and should be financed by other means

When you make your application, you will be able to opt in, or out, of receiving feedback in the event that the application is declined. Feedback is given in the spirit of constructive comment and owing to the high level of applications we receive we will not be able to enter into dialogue about the project and its further development.


If your application has been declined then, unless there is a significant change to your original proposal, you will not be able to resubmit it to any future round of More Films for Freedom. A significant change would usually be a change of director or a significant rewrite of the material with a different writer. In this instance, you will need to contact in advance for approval before you apply to any future round of this fund.

We will also allow a resubmission in situations where an application has been voluntarily withdrawn.

If your project meets any of the above criteria and you submit a new application for the same project at a future round of this fund, please ensure that you clearly identify the revised elements of the project in the new application.

8. Conditions of funding

If your application for funding is successful then, in addition to the General Conditions of National Lottery Funding, the following conditions will apply to your award. These will be set out in more detail in your PFA.

  1. The award will take the form of a non-recoupable grant.
  2. You will be required to include specified credits (for BFI NETWORK, BFI Flare, British Council and the National Lottery) in the opening and closing credits for the short film.
  3. The BFI NETWORK Programme and Funding Manager will provide creative input and oversight of your project and will be your main point of contact as you produce your project.
  4. A right for BFI and British Council to make a public announcement of the successful applications, to publish the names of the writer(s) (where applicable), director(s) and producer(s) and brief biographical details, and the requirement for these filmmakers to make themselves available to participate in press/promotional interviews as required.
  5. An agreement to obtain written consent from the BFI before undertaking any press or publicity activity relating to involvement in the More Films for Freedom project.
  6. A legal undertaking by you that the work being funded is wholly original to you and your team and that all third-party materials incorporated in the project are cleared, or capable of being cleared, for use in the project throughout the world, in all media in perpetuity. You will need to provide evidence of such (e.g. writer and director agreements) before we advance any funding. Where chain of title documentation is in a language other than English, you will be required to provide a certified English translation. You will be required to clear worldwide rights in all media in perpetuity from all individuals or organisations who are contributing to, or whose material is to be featured in, the project (save only for music public performance rights).
  7. The BFI will require certain approvals over your project including approval over all key production and financial documentation prepared in relation to the project. You will be required to obtain approval from BFI of the following elements before the release of any BFI funding to you:
    1. final script or equivalent
    2. all main production elements including key crew, key casting/documentary contributors and final credits
    3. a fully executed inducement letter from the individual producers of the project using a template that we will provide to you
    4. evidence that any other finance required to meet your final budget has been secured, including copies of the fully executed agreements under which such other finance has been provided
    5. a risk assessment for the project
    6. copies of all production insurance policies for the project naming the BFI as a loss payee and confirmation that the applicable premiums are within the budget
  8. The BFI will have rights of approval during the production of the project and a right of approval over each cut of the film.
  9. The BFI and British Council will take rights as outlined here. These rights will be exercised after a period of festival exhibition for the project, and will aim to maximise audiences for your work. We will agree a release strategy with you that takes in both festival and online exhibition.
  10. You will be required to provide a permanent, non-exclusive license to the BFI and British Council to copy, reproduce and/or exhibit the Film (1) non-theatrically including without limitation in educational establishments (including the BFI Mediatheque), or online on the BFI and British Council respective websites and online channels throughout the world (including the BFI Player, BFI NETWORK and British Council YouTube channel) and (2) the right to use clips from the project for promotional purposes in relation to the project or in relation to promoting BFI NETWORK, the British Council, BFI Flare, the National Lottery or the More Films for Freedom project.
  11. A requirement to put in place all customary production insurances on which the BFI must be named as a loss payee and pre-approved by BFI as per 7.6 above.
  12. A delivery date of 4 March 2024 by which you agree to complete your project and submit the required delivery materials to us.
  13. A cashflow that breaks down the award total into instalments, with the final payment being subject to submission to us of the delivery materials. The majority of the award is generally paid by way of an initial instalment (e.g. of 90%), with a final instalment of the balance being paid upon receipt by us of all required delivery materials. Any underspend on the award will be retained by, or reimbursed to, the BFI.
  14. The requirement for the Producer to adhere to and promote the set of principles aimed at tackling and preventing bullying, harassment and racism in the screen industries commissioned by the BFI and partner organisations. This entails taking active steps to help tackle and prevent bullying, harassment and racism in the screen industries and, in particular, in connection with the funded project.
  15. A requirement to undertake BAFTA albert carbon footprinting for the project, in both pre- and post-production, and to attend BAFTA albert sustainable production training prior to commencing production.
  16. Where relevant to your cast and crew, you will need to adopt safeguarding provisions for protecting children and vulnerable adults.
  17. An undertaking from you to deliver against the plans made by you in relation to the BFI Diversity Standards. Failure to deliver against those undertakings without good cause may affect your ability to receive future project funding from the BFI.