BFI NETWORK, the UK-wide partnership of film funding organisations which helps to discover and develop new writers, directors and producers, has launched a new and digital platform where new writers and directors from anywhere in the UK can search for funding opportunities and introduce their work to NETWORK partners and the wider industry.
Developing new talent is the lifeblood of the industry and introducing talented up and coming filmmakers, no matter where they live, to industry professionals who can help take their filmmaking to the next stage, is crucial for building a vibrant and successful film culture and industry.
Alongside funding opportunities, events and industry news, the BFI NETWORK platform offers aspiring emerging filmmakers a unique opportunity to gain exposure for their short film or script by sharing samples of their work directly in the POSTROOM, a space where NETWORK and industry executives will actively seek out the most exciting and creative new film talent.
Lizzie Francke, Senior Production Executive for the BFI and a long-term supporter of new filmmakers says:
“Everyone working in talent development recognises that filmmaking talent is everywhere in the UK but opportunity often isn’t – one of the biggest challenges for those of us working in talent development is how we can cast our nets as wide as possible in order to find, develop and support the next generation of filmmakers. On the flip side, whilst getting a first film or short film made is a phenomenal achievement for filmmakers, being able to present it to funders and other industry professionals is a whole new challenge. The BFI NETWORK is where filmmakers can share their work to the industry and get direct access to industry and talent development executives.”
Matimba Kabalika, BFI NETWORK Talent Co-ordinator & Content Editor adds:
“The beauty of the BFI NETWORK initiative for filmmakers is the combination of direct and specific support from the experienced development teams in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and having an online space where undiscovered talent has a real chance to shine through. In addition to showing their films, they can also access information about funding sources and other forms of support such as workshops which will aid them as they hone their skills, creativity and knowledge.”
With an annual budget of £3 million of Lottery funding, the BFI NETWORK sees the BFI work with national partners Creative England, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film London, Northern Ireland Screen, Scottish Film Talent Network in a joined-up network of experienced development teams supporting New and Emerging Talent – the NET in NETWORK, with additional support from Creative Skillset, which supports skills and training across film and the creative industries.
Early examples of filmmakers being supported through the BFI NETWORK partnership include:
- Rungano Nyoni from Wales whose short film Listen which she co-directed, won the Best Short Narrative Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for a European Film Award. Nyoni is currently writing her debut feature, I Am Not A Witch and her new short film Concrete Jungle was one of the nine projects recently selected for BFI NETWORK Wales’ short film scheme Beacons.
- Rachel Tunnard and Lucy Campbell whose short Pig Child, supported through the NETWORK with Creative England’s iShorts programme screens at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. Tunnard’s first short funded, Emotional Fusebox, was selected for last year’s BFI London Film Festival and won a BIFA nomination. Creative England is now supporting Tunnard with her first feature How To Live Yours.
- Aleem Khan, who won the best UK short prize at the Iris Festival for his first short, Diana, and a BAFTA nomination this year for Three Brothers produced through Film London’s shorts fund London Calling Plus, is now working on his first feature After Love.
- Michael Lennox from Northern Ireland whose short Boogaloo and Graham which he directed, won the Best British Short Film at BAFTA and was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the Academy Awards. Michael is currently in post-production on his debut feature, A Patch of Fog.
- Six filmmaker teams are starting production on their short films through the Scottish Film Talent Network.
The BFI NETWORK development teams take a hands-on approach tailored to the needs of each filmmaker in order to equip them with the skills, experience and support required as they prepare to make their first professional feature film. This approach includes developing and funding short films at various degrees of filmmaker experience and budget; commissioning and funding feature film pilots; developing and funding new writing; and further bespoke support geared to the needs of the individual. The NETWORK partners host regular screenings, readings, masterclasses and other talent development-focused events across the UK.
The BFI NETWORK is also hosting annual NETWORKER events – this year being held during Edinburgh – to bring together filmmakers from every part of the UK to share work, experience and information and help forge potential partnerships and collaboration.
For the full range of training, development and production opportunities offered by each partner organisation outside of the NETWORK, please see their individual websites.