Making an application for UK Global Screen Fund International Distribution Film Sales Support

These guidelines provide information on how to write a funding application for UK Global Screen Fund: International Distribution Film Sales Support funding.

1. Overview

Welcome to the guidelines for the International Distribution Film Sales Support strand, part of the UK Global Screen Fund (UKGSF): financed by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and administered by the BFI. Please read these guidelines carefully before applying.

The UKGSF is a three-year scheme that seeks to boost the UK’s international competitiveness by offering additional, targeted support at each stage of the screen content supply chain.

The UKGSF supports international business development, co-production, sales and distribution activities, so as to:

  • grow the revenue and sustainability of UK independent screen businesses by supporting their international activity
  • enable industry to further grow international partnerships and to develop projects with international appeal for mutual benefit
  • increase the reach of UK screen content to international audiences

The International Distribution strand

The International Distribution strand aims to grow exports and global demand for UK independent film by supporting the UK film industry to achieve measurable results which would not have been achievable without UKGSF support, including:

  • increasing the number and value of international sales of UK independent film
  • international audiences for UK independent film
  • commercial returns for UK screen companies, rights holders and financiers

Having considered the most efficient way to achieve the above aims, the BFI considers it appropriate to streamline two of the previous forms of support by amalgamating and consolidating the festival and market launch support offered via the International Distribution funding strand in 2021-2022, and the support offered via the National Lottery-funded Film Export Fund.

This type of festival launch support will continue to be offered going forward under the Festival Launch Support scheme which will be operated under the International Distribution strand of the UK Global Screen Fund.

The International Distribution strand of the UK Global Screen Fund will therefore make three forms of support available:

  • Film Sales Support — awarded to a UK sales agent presenting a UK film to international buyers at international markets with the aim of securing international distribution deals
  • Festival Launch Support — awarded to either the UK producer or UK sales agent of a UK film, to support the launch of the film at an agreed film festival with the aim of increasing the film’s profile and sales.
  • Prints & Advertising (P&A) Support — awarded to either the UK producer or UK sales agent of a UK film, to contribute towards the P&A costs of a grouping of international distributors, with the aim of increasing the film’s circulation, audience size and Box Office potential

These guidelines cover Film Sales Support only.

Read the guidelines for P&A Support and Festival Launch Support on our website.

Film Sales Support

Applications for Film Sales Support are now open. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis.

Film Sales Support funding is available for specific sales and marketing activities, including the creation of marketing materials for use by UK sales agents and international distributors of UK independent films. This will further enhance their promotion, reach and value internationally, which will in turn benefit the UK producers of the films.

This will enable UK sales agents to:

  • compete more effectively, overall, in the international marketplace, securing additional sales for completed UK independent films;
  • more effectively launch and market new UK independent films in a highly competitive international marketplace;
  • secure better returns on international sales with immediate benefit to UK rights holders and financiers.

Film Sales Support funding will help UK sales agents to increase their international promotion and sales of those live action and animated fiction and documentary feature films that are capable of qualifying as ‘British’ films under the current definitions, and which otherwise qualify as an Eligible Film (as per the requirements set out in section 2 below). Eligible Films can be in any language including English. We are looking to provide support for those Eligible Films that have clear appeal to identified international audiences, and strong potential for commercial success.


In making awards through each of its strands, the UKGSF is seeking to ensure a UK-wide benefit and address geographic imbalance within the industry. This means that as part of our assessment, we will consider:

  • where the applicant company and UK producer(s) are based
  • where projects are shot/made
  • how projects reflect the culture and talent of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the English regions outside Greater London

Any queries about the Fund or the application process should be directed to

2. Check if you’re eligible

Applications can only be made through a UK registered and centrally managed company whose core business is securing and selling distribution rights to new feature film titles (UK Sales Agent). Applications must also be made in partnership with the lead UK producer of the Eligible Film.

The application must be made in the name of the UK Sales Agent, who must also qualify as an Eligible Applicant (as per the requirements set out below).

To be eligible to apply for the Film Sales Support funding, you must meet all of the eligibility criteria below before submitting application for funding.

Eligible Applicant

  • Is a limited company registered and centrally managed in the UK whose core business is securing and selling distribution rights to new feature film titles
  • Is not a company is which more than 25% of its shares are held, directly or indirectly, by any one or more of the following third parties:
    1. A non-UK corporate entity
    2. television broadcaster/SVOD platform or operator
    3. Any company defined as a large company under the Companies Act 2006
  • Has been appointed as the UK sales agent selling the international rights for the Eligible Film
  • Has written consent from the lead UK producer of the Eligible Film approving the submission of this application and the proposed budgeted expenditure

Eligible Film

  • Has a production budget of £12,500,000 or less
  • Is a new feature length (minimum 60 minutes running time) live action or animation, fiction or documentary film
  • Is either complete, in production, or in post-production
  • Will be completed within 12 months of the application date or has been completed 12 months prior to the application date
  • Qualifies or is wholly capable of qualifying as a British film under one of the following:
    1. The cultural test for British films
    2. One of the UK’s official bilateral co-production treaties; or
    3. The European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production
  • Has not been majority financed by a studio or mini major or streaming platform
  • Is not intended for a TV or SVOD premiere

If you have read this section of the guidelines thoroughly and are still unsure if you are eligible to apply, please email us at

3. What you can use the funding for

An Eligible Applicant can apply for support in respect of certain Eligible Costs (as listed below) in connection with the international sale, marketing and promotion of an Eligible Film.

Funding caps

The maximum grant available per Eligible Film is £25,000.

The grant awarded cannot exceed 25% of the Total Sales Costs of the Eligible Film. These are defined as the agreed sales expenses cap, plus any standard excluded sales costs. The maximum grant request is calculated using the estimated Total Sales Costs at application stage and, if the application is successful, will be re-evaluated at Final Report stage to ensure that a Film Sales Support award does not exceed 25% of the Total Sales Costs as they stand at Final Report stage.

The grant awarded cannot exceed 25% of the Total Sales Costs of the Eligible Film.

For the purposes of completing the application, the “Total Sales Costs” are defined as the anticipated sales expenses cap plus any standard excluded sales costs as provided in the sales agency agreement. If the application is successful, the applicant will be obligated to provide a Final Report along with providing the actual Total Sales Costs within 12 months from the funding agreement to ensure that a Film Sales Support award has not exceeded 25% of the actual Total Sales Costs as they stand at Final Report stage.

In exceptional circumstances, Eligible Films that have already been awarded Festival Launch Support may receive UKGSF funding which constitutes up to 50% of their Total Final Sales Costs (inclusive of the Festival Launch Support funding). Please contact us at if you have any queries on how much you can apply for.

A further limit on the UKGSF funding programme as a whole, in order to ensure proportionality, is that no group of companies can receive more than £625,000 in combination from any or all of the UKGSF funding strands over a three-year fiscal period. If you are making multiple applications to us, or intend to access other UKGSF funding strands for support, you will need to ensure your total applications to us are within this overall funding cap. For the avoidance of doubt, any awards made under other BFI funding programmes (i.e. awards made from non-UKGSF funds) will not count towards the UKGSF £625,000 cap.

Partnership funding

In order to be considered for support, Eligible Applicants will also need to provide evidence of partnership funding, which may come from the Eligible Applicant’s own resources or elsewhere. Costs incurred and paid for by the Eligible Applicant prior to the submission of the application and which are within the overall agreed sales expenditure cap may be counted as partnership funding.

Eligible costs

Eligible Applicants may apply for funding towards costs relating to the enhancement of sales and marketing activities for the Eligible Film including costs of:

  • the design, implementation and/or use of a film-specific virtual screening space for buyers
  • promotional and marketing materials to market the film to international buyers (e.g. promo reels, clips, brochures, advertising costs, one-off promotional items, scripts, lookbooks, postcards, posters)
  • market screenings, whether virtual or physical (materials, subtitling, shipping costs), and festival submissions (if festival play is a targeted part of a film’s launch), and for a loan DCP for festival use

Eligible Applicants may also apply for funding towards the costs of providing services and creating materials which will be made available for use by international distributors including costs of:

  • creating a voiceover, dub or subtitled version of the Eligible Film
  • creating an international trailer OR converting a promo to a trailer OR costs of access to lead distributor’s trailer and artwork
  • hiring digital marketing company services — to create digital promotion materials that can be adapted by international distributors

Ineligible costs

The following costs will not be eligible for support:

  • company overhead (including sales, marketing, finance, legal, technical and other staff costs; insurance, telecoms)
  • festival launch costs (including talent travel and accommodation, language versioning costs specific to the festival launch, marketing and promotional costs specific to the festival launch);
  • company market expenses (including market office; shipping costs; registration; travel and accommodation costs; per diems or hotel extras, cabs, entertaining)

The UKGSF reserves the right to exclude any other costs which do not reflect the spirit and intention of the International Distribution Film Sales Support strand.

All applicants will be required to submit a budget (using the template provided) detailing the costs in respect of which the application is made.

It will need to be clear from the information given in the application that any award from the International Distribution Film Sales Support strand would achieve good value for public funds, including through supporting only activity and outcomes that would not otherwise occur.

Please note that retrospective costs i.e. costs already incurred prior to the date of application, cannot be covered by funds awarded by the UKGSF (although as noted above, they may be counted towards the required partnership funding).

Support awarded under the International Distribution Film Sales Support strand will be made in the form of non-recoupable grants. Under the terms of such grants, successful applicants will be contractually required to fully disclose the amounts received by them from the UKGSF when accounting to the applicable UK producer(s) and financiers of the Eligible Film.

Where costs for any sales, marketing and/or promotional activity have been met by funds from the International Distribution Film Sales Support strand, the supported Eligible Applicants must not seek to recoup any such costs from sale proceeds or from any other source, in order that the benefit of these grants is shared by the rights holders and financiers of that film.

To the extent that the Eligible Applicant subsequently receives any other funding in respect of any costs covered by an International Distribution Film Sales Support strand grant, then the Eligible Applicant will be required to immediately repay an equivalent amount of the grant to UKGSF.

4. How to apply

Applications for Film Sales Support are open on a rolling basis.

Information you need to provide

This section tells you what you’ll need to provide when you apply. 

Online application form

The information to be submitted in the online application form includes details of:

  • the Eligible Applicant
  • the Eligible Film
  • the lead UK producer and any other co-producers and the Collection Agent (if applicable) for the Eligible Film
  • a detailed sales and marketing strategy which provides an overview of the activity for which you are seeking funding
  • the Total Anticipated Sales Costs (the agreed sales expenses cap plus any standard excluded sales costs)
  • value of documented and/or forecast sales of the Eligible Film
  • any festivals and markets that the Eligible Film has been invited to over the next six months
  • how the application will address the UK-wide priorities set out in the assessment criteria


At the end of the form you will be asked to attach the following documents

  • A copy of the signed Sales Agency Agreement/Deal Memo appointing the Eligible Applicant as the UK Sales Agent for the Eligible Film
  • A signed statement from the lead UK producer(s) confirming consent to the application and approval of the proposed sales and marketing budget
  • A list of documented and/or forecast sales, including the formal sales estimates prepared by the Eligible Applicant
  • A sales and marketing budget (using the template provided) which shows a breakdown of the Total Anticipated Sales Costs and details how the UKGSF funds will be used
  • A copy of the proposed final gross budget for the Eligible Film together with a detailed finance plan
  • A corporate structure chart for the Eligible Applicant, detailing all direct and indirect ownership interests, and corporate domicile of all related entities

Further documentation may be requested during the assessment process, if necessary for us to properly evaluate the application.


The following template should be used to provide details of your sales and marketing budget. The completed template should be uploaded under the attachments section of the application form.

Submitting an application

If this is your first time applying for BFI UK Global Screen Fund support you will need to create a new applicant account. Click create an account to do this and make your application online. You can save your application and return to it later.

Make sure you complete all the sections as incomplete forms will be automatically ineligible.

Download a PDF preview of the application form

If you need additional support using the application form, please contact us at

Please remember that we will review a considerable number of applications and have to turn down many more applications for funding than we are able to support, so it is important to be detailed and specific with your application.

Speculative Submissions

We will only consider funding projects that have been submitted to us through the formal application process. This means that we cannot accept, or read, informal submissions such as scripts or application materials submitted by any means other than via the online application portal.

BFI Diversity Standards

As part of your application, you must complete the BFI Diversity Standards tab so we can understand your intentions around diversity, inclusion and representation for your project. This means detailing how you will address industry under-representation in relation to disability, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status and geographical location. Please refer to the guidance (PDF) on how to complete the Diversity Standards section of your application form.

If successful, you will need to report following the conclusion of your activity, evaluating how you have delivered against the aims of the Diversity Standards in practice.

Applicants to this fund need to respond to the Diversity Standards on a summary level. This means you are expected to fill in an overall response to each Standard A-E, not individual criteria. You are only expected to respond to each Standard where you have relevant activity and staff, but you should still try to fill as much detail as possible. Please refer to the guidance for ideas of how to respond given your project and activity type, the size of your company or project team, and any early career or career development roles you are able to offer.

If your plans are not fully developed at the point of application, then please state the stage you are currently at and explain how you will turn your aims into actions. If we are interested in supporting your project we may ask you to further develop your ideas before we make a funding decision.

If your team or organisation has a long-standing commitment to diversity, enabling you to meet the BFI Diversity Standards by continuing your current practice, your application should outline how you will build on past achievements and show leadership to the wider industry.

Successful applicants will be required to submit an Equality Monitoring Report as part of deliverables required to release final payment. This Report will request information on the contributors to your project and will be used to measure success against the BFI Diversity Standards. If you do not hold equality monitoring data for key staff working on your project, we advise that you send out anonymised equality monitoring forms prior to activity commencing so that you have the information to hand when completing your final report. The information will be used to measure achievement against the BFI Diversity Standards.

Please note that the information provided by applicants within both their diversity standards and Equality Monitoring forms will be anonymised and used to help inform future funding decisions, research and strategy.

If you have questions or concerns about your ability to meet the standards or would like to discuss approaches to meeting the criteria, you can contact the Diversity Standards Manager in the BFI Certification Unit on 020 7173 3273 or email

Equality Monitoring Form

You’ll be asked to complete an equality monitoring form when you submit your application. The form asks for demographic information on the staff working on your project or in your organisation. The data that you submit on this form will be confidential and anonymous and not seen by the staff assessing your application. However, we will not be able to put forward your application for assessment until you have completed the equality monitoring form.

Environmental sustainability

You will be asked to describe your approach to environmental sustainability, including efforts to reduce carbon emissions and negative environmental impact and any specific actions you will take in the activity you are seeking funding for.

5. What happens after you apply?

You’ll get confirmation we received your application within 3-4 working days.

We’ll request any additional information we may need within 4 weeks, the amount of time it takes for you to supply these may have an impact on our ability to take a funding decision within the timeframes outlined above.

You’ll get a decision within 6 weeks.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a unique ID number and an automated confirmation of receipt. If you do not receive this, please email us on to let us know.

Once submitted, we will review your application and if necessary, may write to you or request to meet with you to obtain more information about your application. If we need additional information from you, it may take us longer to reach a decision on your application.


We will check that your application is eligible for funding using the eligibility criteria identified in the ‘Am I Eligible’ section 2. Incomplete applications will be considered ineligible, so please ensure that you complete all sections on the application form with the information requested.

If your application is ineligible we will send you an email to inform you that your application will not be progressing further. We may at this stage allow you to rectify an error on your application if this is the sole reason that it is ineligible.

If your application is eligible, it will progress to Assessment.


All applications will be assessed by the UKGSF team at the BFI. We may choose to consult external reviewers with relevant expertise during the assessment process.

The UKGSF will seek to support projects that are in clear need of public funding and that make a case, including measurable indicators of success, for achieving significant results against the stated aims of the UKGSF.

How your application is assessed

Our assessment will score applications against the following criteria:

International growth - 20%

Quality of the sales and marketing strategies which should:

  • show a clear route for the Eligible Film to market and to international audiences
  • provide details of any market and festival participation
  • clearly describe target territories and distributors
  • demonstrate innovation in sales strategy and/or planned activity

Finance - 20%

  • economy and efficiency evident in the proposed sales and marketing budget (whether the proposed expenditure represents good value for public money: are the costs reasonable, will good deals be secured on items and services etc.)
  • demonstration of market confidence through sales already made to date or initial interest from specific buyers
  • the level of detail in the budget clearly shows how UKGSF funding will be used and that costs are eligible
  • evidence that the Eligible Film has been fully financed

Funding outcomes (for applicant/IP owners) - 20%

  • projected impact on revenues for UK film companies.
  • projected impact for UK talent, including career of UK producer(s) involved and/or UK directors/producers/writers working on their first or second features

Additionality - 20%

  • likelihood of additional sales to be generated, compared against base projections without UKGSF support
  • additional territories and revenues to be targeted through the activity with UKGSF support
  • how existing marketing plans will be enhanced to achieve the objectives above with UKGSF support

Track record & experience of team - 10%

The ability of the Eligible Applicant, based on evidence of previous experience of the Eligible Applicant and/or its staff, to deliver significant international sales/distribution for comparable UK films

UK-wide benefit - 10%

  • where the Eligible Applicant and the UK producer(s) of the relevant Eligible Film are based
  • where the relevant Eligible Film is shot/made
  • how the relevant Eligible Film reflects the culture and talent of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the English regions outside Greater London
  • any other proposed UK-wide benefits identified within the application

Over-arching priorities, reviewed across all BFI open funds

Each of the following must be fully addressed:

  • the quality and ambition of plans to address the BFI Diversity Standards
  • feasibility and impact of company’s intentions for activity to be more environmentally sustainable

If we don’t receive any further materials or information from you within four weeks of our requesting it, your application will automatically be marked as ‘withdrawn’. This will not affect your ability to apply for other BFI funds or other strands of the UKGSF.

Applications which are not progressing beyond the assessment stage will be declined by email. This email will state that we have reviewed your application and are not considering it further and that your application is now closed.

6. Getting a decision

Following assessment by the UKGSF team in accordance with section B above, all applications which are deemed appropriate to recommend for funding will then be submitted to the BFI Grant Finance Committee for final approval. This committee is made up of members of the BFI Executive Board and other staff members who make funding decisions in line with the BFI Grant Funding Policies and Procedures handbook.

Notice of a successful application will be sent to the Eligible Applicant, the lead UK producer and, where applicable, the Collection Agent for the Eligible Film.

Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis. The fund will aim to provide a decision in writing within six weeks from the date of submission. Eligible Applicants should bear this in mind when determining when to submit their application.

If you’re successful

  • You will receive a funding agreement (the “Funding Agreement”) which you should sign and return to the BFI within 14 days or it will automatically lapse
  • A copy of the executed Funding Agreement will be sent by UKGSF to the lead UK producer and the Collection Agent (where applicable) so that they are notified of the UKGSF funding and that any expenditure funded by the grant should not be recouped by the Eligible Applicant as sales agent expenses or otherwise


No resubmissions can be made to the International Distribution Film Sales Support strand for applications that are declined unless there is a substantial and significant change in elements, or where applications have been withdrawn from the previous application process by the applicant.

If you believe that your application meets one of the above criteria for resubmission, then please contact us to receive confirmation that you are able to re-apply. If you then submit a new application for the same Eligible Film based on a change in elements, please ensure that you identify the revised elements clearly in the new application.


We aim to make the application process as transparent as possible but please note that, as a result of the volume of applications we receive, we do not have the resources to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

This means that if we are unable to support your application, you will receive a standard email from us that states this outcome without providing further information about the decision.

We welcome constructive feedback from you on our application process, so we can continue to improve.

If your application is successful, you will be issued with a conditional offer of funding. The offer must be countersigned and returned to the BFI within 14 days of issue or it will automatically lapse.

7. Conditions of Funding

In addition to the BFI general funding conditions for successful applicants, the following conditions of funding will be set out in full in the Funding Agreement that each successful applicant will be required to enter into. This will include the following (but may also include others specific to your application):

  1. Any award must be used exclusively for the purpose for which it was requested, as set out in your application.
  2. The funding is awarded as a grant that is not recoupable by the BFI, except in the circumstances set out below and in the funding agreement.
  3. An amount equal to 80% of the grant will be paid to the successful applicant upon signature of the Funding Agreement provided that the Eligible Applicant can demonstrate that it has secured or has sufficient resources of its own to cover the required partnership funding, and has satisfied any other conditions precedent to the award specified in the Funding Agreement.
  4. The final payment, in an amount equal to 20% of the grant, will be made upon receipt and approval by UKGSF of a final report, to be submitted to UKGSF no later than twelve months after issuance of the Funding Agreement. If final expenditure is less than the originally agreed budget, then UKGSF may proportionately reduce the amount of the grant payable or require a portion of the grant to be repaid. We may require evidence of expenditure by way of copies of receipts/invoices for expenses covered by the funding. The final report must include:
    • Sales data to include:
      1. The name and contact details of all distributors purchasing the Film in each international territory
      2. Rights sold to each distributor
      3. The sale price achieved for each international territory
    • An analysis of expenditure (and if requested, evidence of such expenditure) against the approved Sales and Marketing Budget for the Film
    • An analysis of the benefits to the Lead UK Producer
    • Promotional data including but not limited to:
      1. A list of international press coverage achieved through the participation of the Film at festivals and markets where this activity was supported by the Award
      2. Examples of the marketing and advertising materials which were produced with the support of the Award e.g. copies of trade advertising, festival-specific posters, etc.
    • A cost statement detailing actual income received and expenditure compared against the Total

      Successful applicants will be issued with guidance on final reporting, which will specify any additional information required to be provided to UKGSF in addition to the above.
  5. Successful applicants will be required to take part in formal evaluation of the UKGSF if contacted by an independent evaluator. This will include the provision of information on the relevant Eligible Film and the funded activities to inform this evaluation. This may include, but shall not be limited to, information in respect of the Eligible Film and the funded activities for the purposes of case studies, quotes from the Eligible Applicant benefitting from the award, and provision of visual materials relating to the funded activity.
  6. Successful applicants will be required to grant, or use reasonable endeavours to secure the right to grant to the BFI and DCMS, the right to use stills and clips from the supported production for the purpose of promoting the UKGSF in any media throughout the world for a period of at least three years from the date that the conditional offer of funding was issued.
  7. Successful applicants may not seek to recoup any costs which are funded by the UKGSF grant funding, whether as sales expenses or otherwise, and will be required to notify the lead UK producer and the Collection Agent (if applicable) for the relevant Eligible Film, of any sales expenses funded by the UKGSF grant which might otherwise be recoupable under contractual expenses definitions. The impact on recoupable expenses is measurable and can evidence a direct benefit to the IP owner and financiers of a Film, which is a stated aim of this funding. If, and to the extent that, the Eligible Applicant subsequently receives any other funding in respect of any costs covered by the UKGSF grant, then the Eligible Applicant will be required to immediately repay an equivalent amount of the grant to UKGSF.
  8. The Funding Agreement may be terminated, and any funding already advanced may be required to be repaid, in the event that any of the requirements set out in these Guidelines, or any of the terms and conditions of funding set out in the Funding Agreement are breached.
  9. The BFI may terminate the Funding Agreement if it has reasonable concerns relating to the Eligible Film and/or its ability to be distributed internationally, the Eligible Applicant’s third party partnership funding, or if the Eligible Applicant operates in a way which might bring the BFI or DCMS into disrepute.
  10. Successful applicants will be issued with detailed branding guidelines that set out the requirements for acknowledging this funding and the UKGSF as a fund financed by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and administered by the BFI.
  11. We require award recipients to increase the visibility of the Government’s support by: promoting and displaying the UK Global Screen Fund logo; assisting in communicating the benefit of the fund to ensure its value and impact is recognised and understood by key stakeholders; making themselves available to take part in promotional activities and encouraging the participation of talent connected to the Eligible Film. It is therefore an important condition of UKGSF funding that the source of the funding is prominently acknowledged through use of the UKGSF logo and through agreed verbal and written acknowledgement. Also that partners and beneficiaries take opportunities to highlight not just the fact of the funding but why it is funded and therefore the increased opportunity that is possible through the Government’s support.