Funds remain fully open during COVID-19

We are committed to supporting the independent industry as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll, and are working to ensure the industry can continue to thrive on the other side of this crisis.

We have set out a programme of support for the UK industry, including a number of targeted funds. Details can be found on our Working in the screen industry during COVID-19 page.

Below are details of all the BFI Funds across features and talent development that are currently open. This includes some changes to criteria to respond to the crisis.

All open Funds are processing applications and awarding funds as quickly as possible.

Production and Development Funding

A total of £21.9m of National Lottery is available this financial year, through the production, development and talent development funds detailed below. Across shorts and features, the Funds continue to be active and fully open for business. Applications and funding decisions are being processed as quickly as possible, and payments are being accelerated to ensure funding can ease immediate cash flow challenges.

Development Fund

£2.5m is available through the BFI Development Fund for new projects, as well as continuing to offer funding and editorial support for over 150 live projects. The BFI is keen to ensure producers impacted by COVID-19 can continue to develop projects, operate their companies and retain staff, including engaging writers, directors and other freelancers. We are offering greater flexibility in the scheduling of payments and frontloading fees, and can now cash flow funds up to 80% for each step (eg a draft). Producers of already awarded ‘live’ projects can email to request acceleration of payment on a similar basis.

Production Fund

Although the vast majority of production in the UK is currently on hold, the BFI Production Fund, with £15.9m available in 2020/21, is continuing to accept, assess and make decisions on applications for Production Funding to give producers confidence that funds will be available, and allow them to work towards commencing production as and when possible. We are also continuing to support existing BFI funded projects that had to stand down during this period, working closely with the teams to ensure production is able to restart at an appropriate point in the future.


Doc Society, our documentary partner with over £1.2m available to fund documentaries in 2020/21, are continuing to run their range of support and funding for UK documentary filmmakers through the BFI Doc Society Fund. They are due to make a new round of feature awards in April, with the fund reopening in the summer, while the Made of Truth Short Film Fund will open in May.


BFI NETWORK in England is still offering funding through the Early Development Fund and our partners in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales continue to offer their NETWORK provision too. NETWORK Talent Execs across the UK have moved their support online, offering coaching and 1:2:1 guidance and the new webinar series BFI NETWORK Live. The BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund in England is currently paused until production on the current slate has restarted. The latest details can be found at @BFINETWORK.

BFI Locked Box

Available to those who have a share of income from previous BFI supported projects held in a BFI Locked Box, funds will be made accessible on an exceptional basis to help alleviate hardship for producers, writers and directors during this period. Ordinarily accessible only for future project development, production or training, a portion of Locked Box funds will now also be made available to help support reasonable overheads to protect business resilience during the next six months.

Young Audience Content Fund

The Young Audiences Content Fund, financed by the UK Government, supports the creation of distinctive, high-quality content for audiences up to the age of 18. Although some production is currently on hold, there is £18.8m available through production and development awards which continue to be processed and regularly awarded. An announcement detailing the projects funded between January-March 2020 will be made in April.

Audience Fund Project Awards

Audience Fund Project Fund Awards are open, welcoming funding applications for a range of audience-facing activities – including online strategies. The Fund seeks to back projects which offer people across the UK the opportunity to enjoy and learn from the richest and most diverse range of great UK and international filmmaking, past, present and future.