Our prestigious talent development programme at the BFI London Film Festival (LFF).

BFI NETWORK industry lunch
Applications for this programme are now closed

Now in its 11th year, BFI NETWORK with the 68th BFI London Film Festival will provide a unique opportunity for up to 15 UK screenwriters, directors, and producers working across fiction and documentary to participate in screenings, events and one to ones with industry professionals. 

This is an incredible opportunity for emerging creatives to hear from UK and international filmmakers premiering their work, and connect with peers to share industry knowledge and experience. 

The programme combines private screenings, engagement with the LFF industry programme, facilitated networking and exclusive opportunities to interact with filmmakers and industry guests drawn from the Festival’s programme. Participants will also receive accreditation for the duration of the Festival. 

We will also be collaborating with BFI Doc Society Fund to plan dedicated and cross-discipline elements of our programme and working with them to select small group of documentary and hybrid filmmakers to join this year’s cohort.

BFI NETWORK@LFF is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding.

Making an application to BFI NETWORK@LFF

1. Overview

We expect the programme will be made up of screenings and events within the festival programme as well as networking opportunities and showcasing of participants work. 

All the activity will take place during the first week of the Festival (9 — 16 October) with participants attending scheduled sessions between the afternoon of 10 October until the evening of 14 October in London. Within reason, travel and accommodation requirements will be covered as part of the scheme. 

Successful applicants would need to be able to commit to attending at least 10 – 14 October to take part in approximately 10 scheduled in person events. The exact programme schedule will be confirmed closer to the festival event dates.  

Should any successful applicants subsequently be unable to attend the scheduled dates or have a change in circumstances, they will have the opportunity, prior to commencement, to elect to leave the programme without financial implications provided we are given sufficient prior notice (see Offer of place — Special terms and conditions for participants below). 

Events and opportunities covered during the programme are likely to include but are not restricted to: 

  • Access to the Festival and Industry Programme 
    Participants will have festival accreditation allowing them full access to the festival screenings and industry events. Recommendations will be made along with optional time to engage with the Festival freely. 
  • Private Screenings + Filmmaker Q&A from the festival programme
    A selection of work will be screened privately with filmmakers at the festival who will be invited to meet the cohort for a Q&A on their work. Screenings last year included HOARD (Luna Carmoon, Helen Simmons and Loran Dunn), HOW TO HAVE SEX (Molly Manning-Walker) and SKY PEALS (Moin Hussain).
  • Networking opportunities
    The cohort will be invited to industry events throughout the programme to meet filmmakers, commissioners, and other guests in attendance. Along with a BFI NETWORK Alumni Lunch there will be an opportunity to join similar events with attendance previously from BFI Filmmaking Fund, BBC Films and BFI London Film Festival.
  • Showcasing of work
    As part of the LFF For Free programme participants will be invited to submit their work for a public screening hosted at BFI Southbank.
  • Introduction to BFI Filmmaking Fund
    BFI Stephen Street will be the main venue throughout the festival with a dedicated space for the cohort to meet and interact throughout the programme. As part of the introduction to the event members of the BFI Filmmaking Fund will meet with filmmakers and discuss the festival and their picks.

We are looking for the brightest emerging creatives with a significant body of short form work who now have the experience to make the step toward their debut feature.

Applications are open to creatives from all backgrounds working in fiction, documentary or hybrid media who have a distinct quality to their short form work and are ignited by an insatiable passion to make their voices known.

2. Who can apply? 

To be eligible to apply you must be able to satisfy all the following conditions: 

  • resident in the UK 
  • over 18 and outside of full-time education 
  • not have written, produced, or directed a feature film that has received UK distribution (this includes via online platforms)
  • have produced, written or directed a significant body of work that shows you are ready to take the step toward a debut long-form project

By significant body of work, we mean a creative track record of multiple projects in short film (immersive, music video, theatre, TV, web series may also be considered) that have garnered industry recognition by way of awards, critical praise, or a substantial online audience.

If you are unsure if this year’s programme is suitable for you or if you have enough experience in comparison to previous participants, please email

3. How to apply 

Complete and submit the online application for BFI NETWORK@LFF by 11am on the morning of Wednesday 17 July 2024. We are unable to accept any applications after this point. 

There is assistance available to applicants who have access requirements and need support to apply.

If you have any questions or have technical issues when applying, email us at before 10:45am on the morning of Wednesday 17 July 2024.

We are unable to accept resubmissions or alterations of applications after the application deadline unless further information or supporting material is requested by our assessors. 

4. What happens next? 

Participants will be selected on the overall strength of their application, as well as their eligibility for the programme. We will also consider: 

  • the extent to which the programme is likely to benefit your career progression as a filmmaker.
  • the strength of your work to date and your upcoming projects. 
  • representation of all UK regions and nations across the cohort. 
  • representation of Writer, Director and Producer roles across the cohort.
  • the balance of creatives working in fiction, documentary and hybrid media
  • your demonstration of need for BFI NETWORK support. 

Places can only be offered to creatives who demonstrate a compelling case for National Lottery support and a clear public benefit from the activity being funded. 

We’ll contact you by Friday 16 August 2024 to let you know that either:

  • you’ve progressed in the assessment process
  • that you have not been selected on this occasion

This date may change, depending on the volume of applications we receive. 

5. How we assess your application

This is a very competitive programme, and we can only support around 4% of applicants. Below we have explained the different steps of our assessment process. Applications are identified for progression at each step, and only some applicants will progress from one step to the next.

Step one

Eligible applications will be read and assessed by BFI NETWORK and/or other BFI staff. We may also use external assessors depending upon the number of applications that we receive. 

Assessors will review responses to these questions on the application form: 

  • your creative experience to date
  • how do you feel you would benefit from taking part in BFI NETWORK@LFF?
  • where do you see your career taking you in the next two years, and are there any key milestones you are hoping to achieve?
  • tell us about the feature or long-form project you currently have in development that best represents you as a creative

The application form will also ask you to provide us with a link to of up to five minutes of an excerpt of a film or piece of video content you have written, directed or produced that best represents your creative voice.

Assessors will only watch this previous work if they are considering progressing the application to the further stages of assessment.

Step two

Each assessor will select a longlist of projects to progress to step two. This longlist will then be merged and discussed with the number of projects progressing to step two agreed by consensus. 

All applicants that do not progress to step two will be notified that they have not been selected on this occasion.

At this stage assessors will take into consideration the need for the final cohort to have a mix of:

  • geographical locations
  • creative roles (writer, director, producer)
  • media formats (fiction, documentary, hybrid)

A shortlist will then be agreed by consensus among assessors, with applicants invited to an interview with a panel of BFI staff and a BFI NETWORK@LFF alumni filmmaker.

Step three

Interviews are likely to take place week commencing 19 August 2024. Please note this date may change, depending on the volume of applications we receive. Questions will be sent to applicants in advance. 

Following the interviews, the panel will meet to decide on the participants for the lab. Up to 15 will be chosen with offer letters sent following decisions. 

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 can say yes. Some of the reasons an application may be unsuccessful include:

  • the applicant did not demonstrate enough relevant experience
  • the applicant’s career milestones were not clearly defined or too ambitious for the opportunity
  • it was unclear how the lab would benefit the applicant’s progression to longform work
  • the applicant has already received substantial National Lottery support through other schemes

We regret that owing to the volume of applications we receive, we are unable to provide feedback to applicants other than those called for interview.

6. Offer of place — special terms and conditions of participation 

If you’re selected as a participant, you’ll be asked to enter into an agreement with the BFI setting out the terms and conditions attached to your participation in the programme. In addition to the General Conditions of National Lottery Funding for successful applicants, they will include: 

  • confirming your participation and supplying us with personal details authorising us to make arrangements in your name
  • as a participant in the programme you will be benefiting from a non-cash grant funded through the National Lottery. As such, as an award recipient, we are required to publicise information about you including names and a brief biography
  • all reasonable travel and accommodation costs associated with participating in the programme will be met by the BFI provided that they are agreed with us in advance or booked directly by the BFI. We will not be providing subsistence or “per diems” but meals may be provided during some sessions
  • we will also meet reasonable costs associated with any personal access needs that an individual might encounter in order to participate fully in the programme. We define such needs as specific support with an actual cash cost required by people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition. For example: a BSL interpreter or additional transport or accommodation costs for disabled individuals. Successful applicants are invited to discuss this with us once they have received an offer of a place on the programme
  • you will be expected to attend all events, sessions, meetings etc. organised by the BFI, as part of the overall programme and to represent, promote and advocate for the UK screen sector. In doing so, you are expected to act in a collegiate and collaborative manner, adhering to all relevant codes of conduct, for example, those in use by the London Film Festival
  • following the confirmation of programme dates you will be given the opportunity to withdraw from the programme. If you then agree to participate, and subsequently fail to attend part or all of the programme and/or to meaningfully engage with its activities, you will be required to reimburse the associated costs incurred on your behalf (unless BFI at its sole discretion agrees otherwise)
  • the BFI has Anti-Bullying, Harassment and Racism guidance and principles in place and is committed to providing a safe, welcoming, accessible, and inclusive work environment for all our participants, partners and organisers, in-person and online. Our expectation is that every delegate, representative, or partner attending our events or programmes, as well as every member of our team is behaving in a respectful, responsible and reasonable way towards colleagues. Any kind of discrimination, abuse, harassment, harmful behaviour or bullying, such as: use of offensive or discriminatory language; intimidating behaviour; micro-aggressions has no place on our programmes and anyone not observing these principles will be stopped from attending immediately and asked to reimburse the costs incurred by BFI by way of this non-cash grant
  • you will be required to comply with all applicable laws associated with your attendance at the programme and not act in a way which, in our reasonable opinion, might be damaging to the BFI or the National Lottery’s, reputations or goodwill whether directly, by association or otherwise
  • completing an evaluation form at the end of the programme