BFI and Film4 launch Future Takes, a new fund to support original short films

Awarding up to £90,000 to each project, the pilot fund offers an important stepping stone for emerging talent, addressing the increasingly challenging market to finance debut indie features.

15 December 2022

Future Takes, a new fund supporting short films

We’ve partnered with Film4 to launch Future Takes, a new pilot to expand the practice of emerging filmmakers from across the UK. The open call is seeking applications for ambitious and original short form work from exciting filmmaking talent, awarding up to £90,000 each to up to seven projects. Made possible thanks to funding by BFI National Lottery and Film4, Future Takes creates a crucial stepping stone between lower budget shorts and features/long form work. It aims to help more filmmaking talent build sustainable careers, enabling them to move onto bigger and bolder work. Deadline for application is Monday 13 February. 

In a tough climate for independent film – as underlined by the findings from the Economic Review of Independent Film – it is becoming increasingly challenging to secure financing for debut features and get them out to audiences. Therefore there is a growing gap in the support available to filmmakers who may have started their directing, writing and producing careers, but are missing the piece of work that allows them to command greater industry recognition. 

Future Takes will be available to teams with a background in – but not limited to – filmmaking, theatre, TV, video gaming, commercials, music videos, graphic novels, with a writer/director attached who has a demonstrably strong creative track record in their field (it will not fund directors making their first screen work). The fund will seek to back projects which demonstrate a clear career progression, for example with a more ambitious scale and/or production requirements; a greater duration; exploring a more complex story world; or using experimental techniques. It will focus on scripted live action fiction and documentary-fiction hybrid projects. Full details can be found in the fund guidelines.  

The new fund will also pilot an access coordinator role on all funded projects, supported by additional BFI National Lottery funding and in partnership with Bridge 06 and Julie Fernandez. Adding this role to the production team seeks to ensure access needs of the entire cast and crew are captured and necessary adjustments are made. A first for the BFI Film Fund, testing the impact of this role with Future Takes aims to encourage a proactive approach to access on film productions, with a view to understanding and addressing access requirements being embraced across the sector.

This pilot is a direct response to the call we repeatedly heard through our consultation and my listening tour, for more possibilities in the funding landscape for this area of talent development that were open to all. Future Takes aims to offer emerging filmmakers the means to make work that has greater narrative and cinematic scope, and more space to enhance and develop their practice. From discovering new talent who may not be on our radars, through to kick-starting careers that may have stalled, we hope these shorts will launch at international festivals, spark interest from the market and announce the filmmakers to industry as talent to watch and invest in. In teaming up with Film4, we are together developing more opportunities for UK filmmakers, and helping to launch more careers.Mia Bays, director of BFI Film Fund
From Foresight to our upcoming series of shorts by disabled and neurodivergent filmmakers, Film4 has a strong track record in supporting ambitious short form work. We’re now proud to collaborate with our partners at the BFI to open out this opportunity to filmmakers from all creative backgrounds, driven by our shared desire to nurture the next generation of talent across the UK.Farhana Bhula, senior commissioning executive, Film4
The talent we see coming through BFI NETWORK from across the UK is truly exciting, yet many still face difficulty to fully break into the sector and change a love and passion for film into a meaningful and fruitful career. Future Takes addresses that, nurturing talent, but also supporting them to build their skills and capabilities as a filmmaker. In line with our mission to ensure funding and opportunities reach talent regardless of their background or where they live, this is an open call, so I invite any UK talent who have a strong track record in short form work to get your applications in!Alice Cabañas, head of BFI NETWORK

Applications will be assessed and the fund will be delivered by the BFI and Film4, with input from BFI NETWORK’s talent execs based across the UK’s nations and regions. The fund will offer workshops and structured support for the selected filmmakers, offering a range of expertise across the process.

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