Our work in the region supports writers, directors and producers with short film production funding, early feature film development funding, and professional development opportunities through events and labs.
We have compiled a list of common questions we receive from Midlands creatives who get in touch regarding the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund. You will also see the answers to some more general enquiries towards the bottom of this page. If you are interested in the BFI NETWORK Early Development Fund you can read our separate FAQs page here.
If you are curious about what we do or have a 121 coming up, please have a read through the FAQs on this page.
Can’t find the answers you need here? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does each region in England have its own BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund?
No- the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund covers the whole of England. When you apply you do so through the BFI NETWORK website. At this point, all applications go to independent readers for assessment before reaching their allocated region.
How do you decide which region a project is allocated to?
This is based on the postcode of the director, which is required at the point of application. This needs to be the permanent living location of the director and directors will be asked to provide evidence of address such as a household utility bill.
Where does the Midlands region cover?
Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Derbyshire, Dudley, Herefordshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford & Wrekin, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire (see BFI Regional Map).
What funding is available?
BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund can award up to £15k for:
- the production costs of fiction shorts projects, in both live-action and animation.
- projects which are viewed flat or in an immersive way i.e. VR as long as they are driven by a narrative.
- projects with a director based in England who hasn’t yet directed a fiction feature film that has received UK distribution.
- stand-alone short films which could have a life on the festival circuit- we cannot fund webinar episodes that are part of a larger arc.
- short films 15-minutes or less including credits.
I’m thinking of applying for BFI NETWORK funding, where do I start and what advice would you give me?
Firstly, we’d recommend reading or listening to the guidelines here. They give valuable insight into who can apply, what we are looking for and how to put together an application.
If you still have questions once you’ve read the guidelines, we’re happy to help or check below for some further FAQs about making an application. To talk to us you can either book a 121 with a Talent Executive here or you can email questions to us at email@example.com.
Who can apply for the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund?
- The creative team must be made up of at least two people and the director and producer roles cannot be held by the same person.
- The team will need to be able to demonstrate a creative track record as part of the application. This could be student work or something created at a grassroots/non-professional level, and it may be in film, television, theatre or another art form.
- For your project to be handled by the Midlands team, the director must be permanently based in one of the following Midlands locations: Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Derbyshire, Dudley, Herefordshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford & Wrekin, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire (see BFI Regional Map).
Please always check the most up to date guidelines for full information.
I’m a Midlands based producer- does the talent I work with also need to be based in the Midlands?
No, as a producer you can work with talent from across England. We recommend you speak to the BFI NETWORK team from the region where your director is permanently based (see BFI Regional Map) before making an application.
I’m a director from the Midlands- can I apply without a producer?
You will need a producer to apply for our short film funding. The director and producer both take on a large number of different responsibilities during production and we want to ensure the people in these roles don’t have a split of focus which could lead to a detrimental experience for them, their cast, crew and may even impact the quality of the final film.
How can I find a producer for my short film project?
Every quarter, we host NETWORKed, a networking mixing event for Midlands based talent to connect. Twice a year in March & September we organise an event called Connect + Collab, which is designed specifically to connect writers and directors with producers. Look at our Resources and opportunities page to see when these are next taking place and details on how to register for upcoming events.
There are also some really useful tips on finding a producer here.
Who completes the application form?
When applying for the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund, the producer will submit the application and be listed as the named applicant on the form. The director will need to fill in a creative vision section, but the producer will be the main contact for the application form. If the producer intends to claim Film Tax Relief on the project they will need to run the project through a company that is registered with Companies House. The name of the company will also need to be added to the form at the time of application.
Can I apply to the Short Film Fund with more than one project with the same producer-director team?
We aim to provide as many opportunities to as many individuals as possible across the region, and as such we would not fund the same team more than once in a single assessment round in the Midlands.
If members of your team 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.
It will need to be clear to us that those concerned would be able to fulfil their obligations to each film, should they be offered funding for more than one project. Each team member also needs to be fully available to carry out their function and not have conflicting commitments on the same project.
Can I apply to BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund for less than £15K?
Yes. The maximum amount we award is £15k, but we accept and strongly encourage applications under this amount. The average amount we award per project is around £11K.
Can I apply to BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund if our budget is higher than £15K?
Yes, we do accept applications for higher budget shorts – but please note that the additional funding must be secured or very close to being secured before your application.
No offer of funding from BFI NETWORK can be made until all additional finance is secured, so we would recommend applying when you have a realistic plan for any additional finance needed, as an application that has gaps in finance cannot be progressed.
Do you fund genre films?
Yes – we fund a broad range of genres and styles. Check out the Funded by NETWORK page to see examples of the different films we fund.
Where can I watch previously funded BFI NETWORK shorts?
Check out the Funded by NETWORK page to see examples of the different films we fund.
How much contact do you get with the BFI NETWORK Talent Executive if your project is funded?
The Talent Executive provides creative oversight of the short film, as well as working with filmmakers prior to and during production. Once you have been awarded funding, they may also be able to advise you on finding screening opportunities regionally and further afield, potential collaborators for your project and festival strategy for your film.
Can I meet with the Midlands Talent Executive?
The Talent Executives run regular 121 sessions for regional filmmakers to find out more about funding opportunities. You can book in a 121 slot with a Talent Executive here.
These meetings book up quickly, and are primarily for people who have not already had a 121 or connected with the Exec. You can find out about the next sessions by following our newsletter and following us on Twitter to get updates for when these go live.
If you are unable to find or book a slot and still need advice or assistance, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org with any further questions and we’ll be happy to help via email.
I’m an experienced animator with an ambitious short-form project which requires more than the top £15k BFI NETWORK award- where can I look for funding?
In this situation, we would suggest you look to the BFI Short Form Animation Fund.
Can you fund documentary projects?
BFI NETWORK only funds narrative fiction work.
Our partners over at Doc Society provide funding and development opportunities for documentary filmmakers. If you are making or aspiring to make documentaries, they are a valuable resource – check out their website here.
Can you help develop TV projects?
No, we work specifically in short films and feature films up to treatment stage. On occasion shorts we have funded have been picked up for development into TV projects, but this was after the short film was completed.
Can you fund feature films?
BFI NETWORK’s Early Development Fund can take a feature project to treatment stage only. If you are looking for BFI funding to develop a feature script or for feature productions, you would need to look to the central BFI Development Fund or BFI Production Fund. You can read more about all of BFI's funds here.