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 Early Development 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 Short Film 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 bfinetwork@filmhubmidlands.org

Does each region in England have its own BFI NETWORK Early Development Fund?

No- the BFI NETWORK Early Development 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 writer which is required at the point of application. This needs to be the permanent living location of the writer and writers 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 Early Development Fund can award between £3,000 to £5,000 which can cover:

  • up to £3,000 writer allowance
  • up to £750 producer allowance if you are working with a producer
  • If there is more than one person fulfilling the same role on your project, for example, co-writers or co-producers, they would need to split the capped amount
  • reasonable research and travel costs
  • these may include travel or accommodation, the costs of accessing materials or archives, making copies of archive materials, subsistence while travelling (at a maximum of £40 per day, which must consist of specific receipted costs) or other relevant expenses.
  • the creation of visual materials where this incurs specific costs – graphic design by a third-party contractor
  • any disability access support you require to produce the project
  • Costs associated with any personal access needs during the early development work. We define such needs as specific support required by people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition, which has an actual cash cost. For example, a BSL interpreter to work with a writer, director or producer; additional transport or accommodation costs for disabled team members; or a personal assistant for a team member with a learning disability or mental health condition to assist during project work.

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, you can do so 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 bfinetwork@broadway.org.uk.

Who can apply for the BFI NETWORK Early Development Fund?

  • This fund is designed for writers who are actively working towards their debut feature, having already created work of other lengths or formats. Writers and, if involved, producers are expected to be able to demonstrate a strong creative track record as part of the application; those already working in film need to have previously created one or more short films that have been produced. Individuals coming from creative media outside film do not already need to have made a short film but do need to have made previous work in television, documentary, theatre, immersive or another art form. This can be student/grassroots/non-professional work but in all cases should have gained industry recognition (for example, festival selections, screenings/broadcasts, articles or reviews) that you can describe in your application.
  • The writer 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 writer from the Midlands- can I apply without a producer?

Yes, you do not need a producer attached to apply for the BFI NETWORK Early Development Fund.

I’m a Midlands based producer working with a new writer- 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 writer is permanently based (see BFI Regional Map) before making an application.

Who completes the application form?

The writer will submit and be listed as the named applicant on the form.

Do you fund genre films?

Yes – we fund a broad range of genres – we are just looking for bold and nuanced stories with engaging characters that can interest audiences over at least 80-minutes.

What would I be expected to produce if I received an Early Development award?

You would need to develop a 5-7 page document that presents the story idea of your film written in the present tense, in visually descriptive narrative-like prose, and highlight the most important information about your film, including title, logline and story summary. You will also be required to create a visual document such as a pitch deck that you can use to pitch the project to producers, production companies and commissioners/funders.

Can I see treatments and pitch decks created by previous awardees?

Unfortunately, not. If writers are now looking to attach producers and/or financiers these documents will be subject to negotiations over intellectual property and rights ownership however, your Talent Executive will talk you through all the elements required.

How much contact do you get with the BFI NETWORK Talent Executive if your project is funded?

You will meet with the Talent Executive periodically over the duration of your development process and they will give feedback on both the treatment and visual/pitch deck document.

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.

If you are unable to find or book a slot and still need advice or assistance, please get in touch at bfinetwork@broadway.org.uk with any further questions and we’ll be happy to help via email.

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.

What is the stage 2 funding?

Projects we support at treatment stage (Stage 1) that are completed to schedule can then go on to apply for funding for a first draft of the full feature length screenplay (Stage 2), with no more than five of those projects each year likely to receive this support. This means the majority of projects supported by the Early Development Fund will only receive Stage 1 support.