Making an application for BFI NETWORK England short film funding

This guide gives you advice and recommendations on how to write a good application for BFI NETWORK England Short Film Funding.

BFI NETWORK England short film funding 2023 is now closed for applications.


1. Overview

BFI NETWORK is a collaboration between the BFI, national film organisations and leading cultural venues around the UK. The partners that make up BFI NETWORK are detailed on the NETWORK funding page. This BFI NETWORK Short Film funding programme supports projects with directors based in England and is run in partnership with the five English film hubs. The hubs employ BFI NETWORK Talent Executives who review applications and work with filmmakers on the delivery of funded projects. This England-wide partnership means that more voices in more places can contribute to distinctive, original storytelling.

This fund is for fiction shorts, in live action, animation and immersive/VR (our use of the words ‘film’ and ‘filmmakers’ throughout encompasses each of those genres and media). We support standalone projects, which may include those that have the potential, further down the line, to be developed into other forms or formats (e.g. a feature film, content in serial form, etc.). The fund is intended to stimulate new ideas and stories, so it doesn’t support adaptations of existing material, unless a writer is adapting their own work for the screen.

What support do filmmakers receive?

This fund provides grants to support the production costs of short films, including short form immersive/virtual reality (VR) work. Each award of funding is accompanied by creative oversight of the project by a BFI NETWORK Talent Executive. In addition to working with filmmakers prior to and during production, they may also be able to advise successful projects on:

  • finding screening opportunities, regionally and further afield
  • potential collaborators for your project
  • festival strategy for your project
  • other means to gain industry exposure for your work

2. Delivering against our National Lottery Strategy

All activity funded through the BFI NETWORK England Short Film Fund should deliver against some of the outcomes of the BFI National Lottery strategy.

The outcomes that Short Film Fund applicants should seek to meet can be found in our funding priorities and outcomes. You will be asked to identify which outcomes your project will achieve in your application.

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 – 25
  • Number of applications received – 600
  • Applications received from outside of London and the South East (in terms of director location) – 50%
  • Funded projects completing carbon footprinting – 100%
  • Funded projects taking part in dedicated training in environmental sustainability for film – 90%

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

This section explains the eligibility criteria for this fund.

Applicant

All applications for funding must:

  • be submitted by the project’s dedicated individual producer, who is a UK resident
    • they will be considered the ‘lead applicant’ to whom, if your application is successful, the award will be made
    • they can apply either as individuals or through their production company, registered and centrally managed in the UK. If applying through a production company, this company must be owned or co-owned by the project’s producer, and the producer must also be a director of the company
    • the producer or, if applying through a production company, the 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, who can each demonstrate a creative track record as part of the application
    • the track record may include creative work in film, television, documentary, theatre or other art forms, and can be student work or work created at a grassroots/non-professional level
  • a writer, 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, i.e. submitted course materials, final project and/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 director, or a writer-director, who is resident in England
    • the fund is intended to support and nurture talent across all regions in England
    • your application will be considered by a Talent Executive within the region in which your director resides.
    • to ensure that projects are assigned to the correct region, we will ask for proof of your director’s address as part of your application
    • if you have a separate writer attached to your project (as opposed to having a writer-director) that writer must be resident in the UK
    • if you have a co-producer, co-writer or co-director, they can be based outside the UK
  • 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
    • if you want to find collaborators for your project, visit your local BFI NETWORK hub website to see if they have any suggestions or upcoming networking events
  • 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. It will need to be clear to us that writers and producers would be able to fulfil their obligations to each project, should they be offered funding for more than one project
    • if your writer, director and/or producer are involved in other projects that are also seeking funds (or have secured funds) from the BFI, including BFI NETWORK, you should state this in your application

Projects

All projects must:

  • clearly engage with some or all of our core priorities
  • be a ‘single project’ fiction short film in live action, animation or immersive/VR
  • have an intended length of up to 15 minutes
    • as an indication, a typical page of dialogue will roughly equal a minute of on-screen time
    • we welcome and encourage projects of different lengths, whether a five-minute gem or a 15-minute masterpiece
  • be capable of obtaining a BBFC certificate that is no more restrictive than BBFC ‘18’.
    • in the case of VR/Immersive projects which are not subject to BBFC certification, they need to be capable of meeting an 18 or equivalent rating on any platforms they are considering exhibiting with, and in general not contain content that, were it to be presented within a traditional short film format, would exceed a BBFC 18 classification
  • be seeking funding of between £5,000 and £25,000
    • we encourage applicants to carefully consider their level of experience when deciding the scale of project and the amount of funding to apply for. We hope to receive applications at a range of budget levels; we don’t expect to support many projects at the top end of £25,000 and would not encourage very early stage filmmakers to submit an application for the maximum amount of £25,000
    • we encourage applications for projects with smaller budgets, particularly from newer filmmakers who are looking to take a risk on doing something new in a short, sharp format
    • for more experienced filmmakers, we expect to see applications for projects that represent increased ambition in relation to previous work, and so can consider requests at the top end of the available NETWORK funding where the script and its production needs clearly justify this budget level
    • we know that animation and immersive projects can often cost more to produce per minute than regular live action projects, and we therefore encourage shorter duration animation or immersive projects to apply to this fund
    • if the total cost of your project exceeds the amount you are requesting from the BFI, you don’t need to have all of the additional funds raised at the point of application, but will need to show an achievable plan for securing them. If we are interested in funding your project, the Talent Executive overseeing your application will agree a cut-off point with you, by which any additional funds need to be raised. In all cases this needs to be in advance of the BFI’s final approval of funding via its Lottery Finance Committee (see What happens after you apply). In addition, you must not commence work on the project until that funding has been secured, approved by the BFI, and the BFI has confirmed that all other pre-conditions to our funding have been met
    • where funding from third parties, in addition to the amount you have requested from the BFI, is required to make your project, then your project will need to meet the following guidance on acceptable levels of co-finance:
      • for applications seeking between £5,000 — £20,000: the amount you are seeking from BFI NETWORK should be at least 40% of your total budget
      • for applications seeking between £20,001 — £25,000: the amount you are seeking from BFI NETWORK should be at least 30% of your total budget
      • you do not have to raise additional finance for your project, if you can make it with the amount of funding you are requesting from the BFI
  • 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. Should you need advice as to whether your project is capable of qualifying, please contact certifications@bfi.org.uk prior to submitting your application.
  • have a script (or equivalent format for immersive/VR work) that is original to your writer, 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 do so
  • 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)

When you’re ineligible

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

  • has commenced shooting, finished shooting or is in post-production
  • is longer than 15 minutes
  • is intended primarily for broadcast television
  • is a documentary
  • 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
  • is a biopic (i.e. it is primarily based on the lives of one or more real individuals)
  • finance plan does not meet the acceptable levels of co-finance detailed above

Get in touch with the team if you’re unsure that you are eligible for this Fund: bfinetwork@bfi.org.uk

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 provision 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 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. This is the minimum requirement; you can include higher fees for producer, director and writer. These fees cannot be waived at any point
  • 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
  • if your project is a short film, as opposed to an immersive/VR project, 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 England Short Film Fund 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 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
  • cost 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 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 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.

If you are already seeking the maximum award amount and have not been able to cover support costs within that, you can apply for these in addition to the maximum award amount.

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

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 your project is immersive/VR, we will discuss your specific materials delivery requirements with you at the point of issuing you a funding agreement.

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 both:

  • hearing impaired captions in .stl format or timed text format
  • 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

Documentation

  • 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 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

This section details how you can apply for this fund.

When you can apply

BFI NETWORK England short film funding 2023 is now closed for applications.

If you have submitted an application, you can view it by logging into your account. You can view a PDF preview of the application form below:

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

These sections will ask you for information including:

  • your story
  • a written or video statement from your director and writer
  • details of the individual producer(s), writer(s) and director(s) or writer/director(s), including their key credits
  • links to examples of previous work from your writer, director and producer

Creative proposal

  • story or synopsis
  • the creative vision
  • project work undertaken to date
  • declaring whether your project is an adaptation of an underlying work

Production

  • production plan
  • casting proposal
  • environmental impact
  • your plans for distribution, festival strategy or other means of maximising impact and exposure for your project to industry and audiences

Finance and budget

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

BFI diversity standards

This section asks you to describe how your project responds to the 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

Attachments

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 this BFI NETWORK production calendar budget template.
  • 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 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. For example, applications for an animated short may submit a storyboard in place of a script
  • proof of address for your director/writer-director, so we can see their region of residence. This should be in the form of a bank statement, utility bill etc. dated in the past three months, showing their name and address. Personal details (such as bank details) other than the name and address of the director/writer-director should be redacted
  • 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 bfinetwork@bfi.org.uk

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 core priorities. We will also consider: 

  • the ambition and strength of the project proposal and its script or, for animation, storyboard
  • how the story will connect with audiences
  • the strengths of the project team
  • 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 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 different people: BFI NETWORK Talent Executives and/or independent, external readers. In addition, we may share parts of your application with other BFI teams, or further external consultants, to help with our assessment. External consultants participating in the assessment process will be required to maintain confidentiality regarding the application contents and agree not to retain application materials following their review.

The Talent Executive in your director’s region will lead on making recommendations for funding to the BFI. They may contact you to discuss your project, including to suggest you revise your application, prior to a final decision being made. This doesn’t mean any commitment has been made to fund your project, but will help the Talent Executive gather the information needed to make a decision.

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

For projects progressing to Lottery Finance Committee consideration (see below), we will also request 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. This is the final stage of the funding decision process.

Timeline

You’ll get a decision within 12 weeks of the closing date for applications. However, if we receive exceptionally high numbers of applications, where we approach you for additional information, or when there are other circumstances out of our control, it may take us longer to give you a decision. 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 as to whether it wishes to support your application is final. There are circumstances in which a project can be re-submitted for support as a new application – see Resubmission below.

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 and/or immersive/VR projects, 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 six core priorities, including in relation to engagement with the BFI diversity standards
  • was too ambitious for the budget
  • did not demonstrate enough relevant experience
  • 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.

We welcome your feedback on the application process and how we might improve it.

Resubmission

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. 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 your local Talent Executive in advance for their approval before you apply again.

We will also allow a resubmission in situations where we have directly recommended further development of the project, or where the 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, our Film Hub partners and the National Lottery) in the opening and closing credits for the project.
  3. A Talent Executive in your director’s region will provide creative input and oversight of your project and will be your main point of contact as you produce your project. 
  4. You will be expected to take part in training and professional development events as part of your award.
  5. 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).
  6. 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
    2. all main production elements including key crew, key casting and final credits
    3. a fully executed inducement letter 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
  7. The BFI will have rights of approval during the production of the project and a right of approval over each cut of the film.
  8. The BFI will take rights as outlined here. This would come after a period of festival exhibition for the project, and will be designed to maximise audiences for your work. We will agree a release strategy with you that takes in both festival and online exhibition. 
  9. You will be required to provide a permanent, non-exclusive license to the BFI to copy, reproduce and/or exhibit the project: (a) non-theatrically including, without limitation, in educational establishments (including the BFI Mediatheque) or online on the BFI websites (including BFI Player) throughout the world; and (b) the right to use clips from the project for promotional purposes in relation to the project or in relation to promoting BFI National Lottery funding. The BFI will own the delivery materials provided to us and may choose to deposit, preserve and permit access to such materials through standard terms applied by the BFI National Archive.
  10. A requirement to put in place all customary production insurances on which the BFI must be named as a loss payee.
  11. A delivery date by which you agree to complete your project and submit the required delivery materials to us. We require all projects supported to be completed and delivered by the delivery date agreed in their PFA, and all circumstances no more than 18 months after signature of their PFA.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. A requirement to undertake BAFTA albert carbon footprinting for the project, in both pre- and post-production.
  15. Where relevant to your cast and crew, you will need to adopt safeguarding provisions for protecting children and vulnerable adults.
  16. 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.