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.

This fund closed at midday on Thursday 9 May 2024.

1. Overview

BFI NETWORK is a collaboration between the BFI, national film organisations and leading cultural venues around the UK. You can find more information about the partners that make up BFI NETWORK on our Funding and resources page. 

The fund 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 their 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 word ‘film’ in these guidelines encompasses each of those forms and media. 

We support standalone projects. This may include those that have potential to be developed into longer form or serial form in the future. 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 (and if necessary, has secured the right to do so).

You can apply for funds from £5,000 to £25,000.

2. Delivering against our National Lottery Strategy

Core priorities

We apply the following six priorities when reviewing applications. These take in the three BFI National Lottery strategic principles as well as outcomes identified in our BFI 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

Your application should address priority one – equity, diversity and inclusion – by engaging with the BFI Diversity Standards for film

You’ll need to show 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:

Our inclusion targets for writers, directors and producers supported are:

  • disabled (including those with a longstanding physical or mental condition and those identifying as D/deaf or neurodiverse) – 18% 
  • Black and Global Majority (London) – 40% 
  • Black and Global Majority (outside London) – 30% 
  • those identifying within the gender binary (also monitoring trans and non-binary identities) – 50:50 gender 
  • sexual identity (those identifying as LGB+) – 10% 
  • working-class background – 39% 

3. Check if you’re eligible

Applicant (lead producer)

All applications for funding must be submitted by your project’s producer who must:

  • be a UK resident
  • not be attached as the film’s director – they can be the film’s writer
  • be the ‘lead applicant’ to whom, if your application is successful, the award will be made – the producer will own the rights in the completed project

If applying through a production company, your producer should ensure the company is registered and centrally managed in the UK. The producer will also need to be either:

  • registered as a director of the company 
  • a permanent employee of the company

If the producer has been formally paired with the company as part of a BFI NETWORK Talent Lab, they’re also eligible to apply.

If you’re applying through a production company, the company will own the rights in the completed project. 

Filmmaking team

Your team must be made up of at least two people across the three creative roles of writer, producer, and director (except that a producer and director combination is not eligible to apply). 

All team members need to be fully available to carry out their role and not take on potentially conflicting roles on the same project.

All team members must:

  • be over 18
  • be able to demonstrate a creative track record – this can be in film, television, documentary, theatre or other art forms and can be student work or work created at a grassroots level or without commercial or institutional funding
  • have finished full-time education (or be set to complete full-time education by 1 August 2024)
    • any student work will need to be fully completed by 1 August 2024, meaning course materials, final projects and/or dissertations have been submitted, all examinations are complete, and you will not be entering a further year of study later in 2024

The director

Along with the above requirements for all team members, the director or writer-director for your project must also:

  • be resident in England 
  • not have directed a fiction feature film that has received UK distribution
    • if they 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, they may apply

Your application will be considered by a Talent Executive in the region where your director lives. We’ll ask for proof of address for your director as part of the application. 

The writer 

The writer and director can be the same person, as can the writer and producer. The writer can be based anywhere in the UK as long as they’re not the writer-director (who must be resident in England).

Co-writers, directors and producers

If your team includes co-producers, co-writers or co-directors, they can be based outside the UK as long as the main person in each role lives in the UK and the director is based in England. 

Applying with more than one project

Directors, writer-directors and writers may only be attached to a single application per round. This also applies to co-writers and co-directors.

Producers may be attached to two applications providing they are in the role of producer on both.

Writer-producers can be attached to two applications, one in the role of writer-producer and one additional application as a producer.

It is fine for members of the core team to take on crew or ‘below the line’ roles other than writer, writer-director or producer on additional projects.

If a writer, director and/or producer is involved in other applications that are seeking funds (or have secured funds) from the BFI, including BFI NETWORK, you should let us know in your application.

Your project

All projects submitted to this fund must:

  • clearly engage with some of our core priorities
  • be a standalone fiction short film in live action, animation or immersive/VR 
  • have an intended length of up to 15 minutes, including credits
    • 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 
  • have a script (or equivalent document for immersive/VR or animation such as a storyboard) 
    • the script (or equivalent format) must be original to your writer, and not an adaptation of third-party existing material 
    • should be no longer than 16 pages (including the title page) for directors with some narrative filmmaking experience or 11 pages (including the title page) for new directors
    • we would consider your director to be a new director if they are moving into filmmaking from a different medium for example, theatre, or if they haven’t yet directed a fiction short film.
  • not be a biopic or documentary or be focussed on another art form such as literature, dance or poetry on film, opera or artists’ moving image
  • 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. Most of our funded filmmakers don’t receive the maximum award of £25,000 and we encourage very early-stage filmmakers to apply for a lower amount. 
  • meet the following requirements for acceptable levels of co-finance, where funding from third parties, in addition to the amount you have requested from the BFI, is required to make your project:
    • 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
    • if you want to raise additional finance but haven’t yet done so when you apply, you’ll have to show us you have an achievable plan for securing these funds
    • if we want to fund your project, we’ll be in touch with a date by which any co-finance must be raised
  • be capable of qualifying for certification as a British film, either through the applicable cultural test, or as an official co-production
    • 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, contact prior to submitting your application
  • have secured, or have a contractual right to secure, certain necessary rights to complete the project including the following:
    • the rights (including any underlying rights) in the idea you are proposing. This includes use of any necessary archive or journalistic material or, the right to adapt an existing work created by your writer (but not works created by an unrelated third party as that would be ineligible). 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)
  • not have commenced or finished principal photography or be in post-production 

Get in touch with the team if you’re unsure that you are eligible for this fund by emailing

4. What you can use the funding for

As part of your application, you’ll need to fill out a budget spreadsheet – the template is available to download below. Not all cost types will be relevant to your project, and you only need to include estimated amounts for costs you think you’ll need to cover while making your film. 

If you’re unsure of how to use the spreadsheet or have any questions about your budget, contact your local hub or email


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 (currently set at £13.15/hour), with parity across grades, across departments
  • a fee for your film’s producer, director and writer. This fee should at least 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 access support you require in order to produce the project (see Access costs during production of your project below) 
  • 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 must be named as a loss payee
  • all the delivery materials required by the BFI, including enhanced access materials (open captions and audio description track) for the project – see Delivery materials
  • 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 to cover any unforeseen costs 
  • 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 creating your budget 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. 

In some circumstances, you can include contributions ‘in kind’, for example, 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.

Costs we cannot support

We cannot support funding for:

  • 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

We’re committed to making our funds as open and inclusive as possible. If any members of your core team, cast and/or crew have access needs that mean there will be additional costs during the production of your project, you can include these in your budget. They should be clearly listed in the Access Budget tab of the above template.

We define access support needs as specific help 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. This might include:

  • a BSL interpreter to work with members of cast or crew; 
  • additional transport or accommodation costs for disabled team members; 
  • fee for the personal assistant of a team member who requires assistance during the production

If you’re asking for the maximum award amount (£25,000), you can still apply for access costs on top of this if you need to.

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 only a summary 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 SMPTE DCP
  • 1 Pro Res 4444 or XQ Quicktime [.mov] file
  • 1 H264 .mov or .mp4 file
  • 1 Digital Cinema Distribution Master (DCDM)

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

We’re committed to ensuring that the cinema experience is open to all, especially to disabled audience members. Our funding requires that your film is delivered with subtitles and audio description and that:

  • the availability of these materials is publicised
  • they are made available in time for any screenings of the film

You’ll need to include both:

  • Open captions (English) | Created in .srt format 
  • Audio description [AD] track

You should factor the creation of these materials into your production timeline and ensure you’ve 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
  • film and team written information


  • 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
  • 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)), Music Contributors Agreement, along with a copy of the music cue sheet, and any other clearance documentation required to clear all rights in the project.
  • 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. Making an environmentally sustainable film

All teams applying to the fund 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. 

You will have 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.

We are also keen to see creative responses to the climate and ecological emergency and will ask you to consider this in relation to your project in the application form.

BAFTA albert carbon footprinting

BFI NETWORK-funded projects are required to complete carbon footprinting via BAFTA albert. 

If you are selected for funding, 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 use the Carbon Calculator to predict your production’s footprint by entering information on your anticipated activity, including prep and post-production phases. The predicted footprint will enable you to see which aspects of the production will generate the most carbon emissions and help you to identify actions to reduce these before you start. 

Once production gets underway, enter the actual data to calculate a final footprint which must be submitted to albert at the end of post-production.

Important resources for environmental sustainability

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

BAFTA albert certification

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 involves developing a carbon action plan and documenting the sustainable actions you take. To seek BAFTA albert certification, you must start the process when pre-production begins, as it can’t be done retrospectively.

6. How to apply

This fund closed at midday on Thursday 9 May 2024.

You can check your application on our grant website.

We can only make awards to projects that have been submitted to us through the online application process. This means that we cannot accept, or read, application materials submitted by any means other than the online application portal. You can get access support with the application form if you need it.

Make sure you complete all the required sections as incomplete forms will automatically be deemed ineligible. We strongly encourage you to keep an offline copy of your application in case of any technical issues. 

Information you’ll need to provide

In the application you’ll need to complete the following sections: 

Lead contact and organisation details

This section will ask for organisation and contact details for the producer (either an individual or a company).


This section will ask for:

  • details of the individual producer(s), writer(s) and director(s) or writer/director(s), including their key credits and relevant career history
  • links to examples of previous work from your writer, director and producer
    • you’ll need to specify which piece of work is the most relevant or important for each team member.
    • 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: for example, 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.


This section will ask for information including:

  • your project’s title
  • an outline of your story – up to 500 words
  • a written or video statement from your director explaining their creative vision for the film – 500 words
  • a written or video statement about who you want to reach with your film and the impact you want it to have – 500 words
  • a written or video statement about how this funding would benefit your team’s careers – 300 words
  • a written or video production proposal – 200 words
  • details of where work will take place on your film and how it will represent and benefit people in this region and beyond – 300 words
  • details of how your project will address environmental sustainability in terms of your story (if applicable) and how the film will be made – 300 words
  • details of any previous funding you have applied for from the BFI, including BFI NETWORK or any applications you are waiting to hear back on

Supporting materials

This section will ask you to provide optional links to materials expressing your ideas for your project for, for example:

  • mood board or reel
  • production design
  • images 

We strongly encourage you to include something which will give us an understanding of your director’s visual ideas for the film.

Finance and budget 

This section will ask for:

  • the amount of funding you are seeking from the BFI
  • the total cost of the project
  • any access costs you want to apply for
  • 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 for film

Documents you’ll need to provide

At the end of the form, you need to attach:

  • our completed Budget and Production calendar template which includes:
    • the full budget for your project 
    • a finance plan showing any additional funding for your project, if you intend to raise co-finance
    • a production calendar showing your provisional shoot dates and the key stages of pre- and post-production
  • the script of your project in standard industry format, submitted as a PDF or Word doc. 
    • make sure this is dated on its front page. It 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. This should be in the form of a bank statement, utility bill or other official document 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. 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. 

The data you submit on this form will be confidential and anonymous. It will not be seen by the staff assessing your application. 

We can’t assess your application until you have completed the equality monitoring form.

If you have any questions when completing the application form please contact us on

7. What happens after you apply 

We’ll send you confirmation that we have received your application within five working days. We will then check that:

  • your application has been submitted by the project’s lead producer
  • there are at least two individuals across the roles of writer, director and producer
  • all core team members are UK residents, and the director is based in England
  • your director and writer or writer/director are only attached to one application  in this funding round
  • your project’s estimated length is no more than 15 minutes
  • your project is not an adaptation of an existing piece of work which was written by someone other than your writer
  • you’re applying for £5,000 – £25,000 (excluding any access costs)

If your application doesn’t pass our initial eligibility checks

We’ll let you know via email that we can’t consider it for funding.

If you’ve made a mistake in your application, and that’s the only reason it’s ineligible, we may give you the opportunity to correct it.

If your application passes our initial eligibility checks

You’ll be sent:

  • an email letting you know that your application will be moved on to the first step of the assessment process
  • a unique ID number for your application

How we assess your application

This is a very competitive fund, and each application undergoes a thorough assessment before we reach a decision. Below we have explained the different steps of our assessment process. Projects are identified for progression at each step, and only some projects will progress from one step to the next. 

All applications that pass our initial eligibility checks will be assessed against the fund’s assessment criteria following the steps described below. A minimum of two different people will review each project: a BFI NETWORK Talent Executive or BFI NETWORK team member and/or an independent, external reader.

Step one

External readers will review:

  • your script
  • the following questions on your application form:
    • CV summaries for your producer, writer and director
    • your project’s story outline
    • your director’s creative vision for the film

External readers may review:

  • up to 15 minutes of your director’s previous work (you’ll be asked to specify which piece they should watch)
  • some or all of your supporting materials and further pieces of your team’s previous work

Talent Executives or BFI NETWORK staff will review:

  • your script
  • your full application form
  • one piece of work up to a maximum of 15 minutes each for your producer, writer and director
  • any supporting materials provided

The Talent Executive or BFI NETWORK staff member will only review application budgets and production calendars for projects they are considering progressing to the further stages of assessment.

Step two 

Each region will decide on a longlist of projects. These are shared and discussed between regions and with the central BFI team.

All projects that are not on the longlist are notified that they have been declined.

A final list of teams are invited to interviews with the Talent Executives in their director’s region to discuss their project.

Step three 

All interviewed projects are informed by email that their application is either being progressed further for potential full BFI approval or has been unsuccessful.

If we’re interested in funding your project

You’ll be assigned a Talent Executive who will be your point of contact from this point onwards. 

You’ll need to send them: 

  • 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
  • the applicable funding agreements or other evidence of commitments related to any co-finance you have secured

BFI 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. 

For projects progressing to BFI Lottery Finance Committee consideration, we’ll also request the personal address and date of birth of the CEO or Managing Director of the organisation applying, if your producer is applying under a production company. Our request for this information is not an indication or confirmation of funding. You will be informed separately of the funding decision on your application. 

We 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. 

The Talent Executive(s) in your director’s region will lead on making recommendations for funding to the BFI. They may contact you at any stage of the assessment process 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.

Sharing your information 

At any stage of the assessment process, we may share parts of your application with other BFI teams, or other external consultants, to help with our assessment. 

These individuals are required to maintain confidentiality regarding the contents of your application and agree not to retain application materials after their review.

Assessment criteria

Your application will be assessed against how well it meets our six core priorities. We will also consider: 

  • the ambition and strength of the project proposal and its script or, for animation, the 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 the 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.

8. Getting a decision

We’ll contact you by Wednesday 14 August to let you know that either:

  • you’ve reached a further stage of assessment
  • that we will not be supporting your application

As the regional hubs all handle a different number of applications, the assessment process can vary in length and the assessment steps described above may not happen at exactly the same time across the different regions.

The decision of BFI NETWORK as to whether it wishes to support your application is final. 

If you’re unsuccessful 

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 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 apply, you will be able to opt in, or out, of receiving feedback if your application is unsuccessful. If you opt in, at a minimum, you’ll receive feedback on the funding outcomes and core priorities that we felt other applications addressed more fully than your project.

Feedback is given in the spirit of constructive comment. Due to the high level of applications we receive, we can’t enter into dialogue about your project and its further development.

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

Resubmitting in a future funding round

If your application has been declined, this usually means you can’t resubmit it for future rounds of the fund. We may allow you to resubmit a project if:

  • there is a significant change to your original proposal. This would usually be a change of director or a significant rewrite of the material with a different writer. 
    • if this is the case for your project, you’ll need to contact  the Talent Executives in the region where your director lives for their approval before you apply again.
  • the original application was voluntarily withdrawn before a decision was made
  • we have directly recommended further development of the project

If your project meets any of the above criteria, and you choose and are granted permission to resubmit your application in a future round, you should clearly identify the revised elements of the project in the new application.

If you’re successful

Following our confirmation of funding for your project, you’ll 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):

  • final production calendar and schedule
  • confirmation of certain specifications for your project such as confirmed HODs, cast, delivery format & length (or equivalent alternatives for animation and/or immersive/VR projects, where applicable)

These 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 your PFA. This is a legal document that explains, among other things:

  • how you’ll receive the funding
  • how you must use it
  • how we expect you to report to us

You’ll 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. 

9. 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.  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 (for example, 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 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.
  11. 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 (for example, 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.
  12. 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.
  13. A requirement to undertake BAFTA albert carbon footprinting for the project, in both pre- and post-production.
  14. Where relevant to your cast and crew, you will need to adopt safeguarding provisions for protecting children and vulnerable adults.
  15. 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.
  16. VAT is not payable on any BFI NETWORK England Short Film Funding 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.
  17. Any third party funding must be secured in advance of the BFI’s final approval of funding via its Lottery Finance Committee. No work will commence on the film until said third party funding is secured and its terms and conditions are approved by BFI, and we have confirmed that all other pre-conditions to our award have been met.
  18. The BFI will not advance any funding until you have signed the PFA and have complied with the conditions of funding above and as further particularised in the PFA.