We aim to help develop viable projects by teams across the UK who can demonstrate previous experience in writing, directing and producing to a point where they are ready to seek production funding from the BFI or other sources.

National Lottery funding for documentaries is provided by our partner, Doc Society and funding for short films is provided through BFI NETWORK.

COVID-19 temporary application closure period

Applications are normally accepted all year round, but due to the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Development Fund will be closed for applications from Tuesday 1 December 2020 to Monday 11 January 2021. We will not accept any applications during this time. We will also be taking the opportunity to do some maintenance work on our systems so if you have an in-progress application, this will be automatically deleted if you have not submitted it by 1 December.

Who can apply

Applications must be made by the lead producer who is a different person to the  writer and, if there is one, director.

We are unable to provide development funding to teams without a producer.

Projects without a producer should consider BFI NETWORK’s Early Development Fund.

Our funding priorities

We prioritise work that:

  • is made by filmmakers in the early stages of their careers
  • has cultural relevance or progressive ideas
  • takes risks in form and content
  • recognises the quality of differences in perspective, talent and recruitment
  • originated by filmmakers outside London and South East England

What you need to provide

The application form will ask you to supply:

  • synopsis, story and themes
  • previous work of the writer, producer and, if applicable, the director
  • motivations behind the project, ideally provided by the writer or director
  • details of the audience you are aiming to appeal to
  • ideas for casting (if applicable) and how you plan to approach that cast
  • approximate dates and locations you are hoping to film
  • details of potential or actual financial partners on the project and any expenditure to date
  • budget you anticipate needing in order to develop the project and get it made, including the amount you are requesting from the BFI
  • an estimate of the total production budget
  • any unusual or challenging technical or budgetary requirements that you foresee

Apply for funding

If this is your first application, please create an account.

Read the BFI Development Fund guidelines before making an application.

If you wish to see the online application format before applying, please download the application preview.

We aim to let applicants know the outcome of their application within 8 weeks.

If you have any questions relating to the fund or application, please email developmentcoordinator@bfi.org.uk.

We can provide assistance to applicants who have a disability, are D/deaf, have a visual or hearing impairment or are neurodiverse, where this support is needed for someone to make an application. See Access support for BFI Film Fund applicants.

Our resources: application outcomes and feedback

The extremely competitive nature of our funding means that we have to make very difficult decisions and often have to turn down projects even when they meet some or all of our stated criteria. On average, we have to turn down over 7 in every 10 projects seeking Development funding, and 8 in every 10 projects seeking Production funding.

We aim to make the application process as fair and transparent as possible. As a result of the volume of applications we receive, we do not have the resources to provide feedback on projects that have been declined.