Throughout the application period, one of our most frequently asked questions is “What type of projects are you looking for?”, and while we don’t have a type or genre of the project that we are seeking, we do have a few different things that we look for an in an application that we would like to share. 

In the Midlands, projects receive at least three reads and every eligible application is considered and discussed during our assessment process. Alongside considering the guidelines we have a few things that frequently come up in our discussions that we wanted to share: 

  • Have the guidelines been read and does the project delivery against the BFI National Lottery Strategy? This includes: 
    • Equity, diversity and inclusion
    • Impact and audience 
    • Talent development and progression
    • Risk
    • UK-wide 
    • Environmental Sustainability 
  • Does the application and script have a clear and strong sense of what the story is? Ensure your logline is snappy and the synopsis has a clear sense of beginning, middle and end to accompany your script. Being able to express your story will help with pitching to cast and crew, potential other funders and once it is made - programmers, broadcasters and festivals.


  • Is the project achievable for the the budget that has been asked for and will it come in under 15 minutes? An epic production full of crowd scenes, special effects, and costumed extras with a 19-page script while not impossible, will immediately alert us to high costs and a potentially extensive edit process, so thinking about this beforehand and demonstrating consideration is important. 


  • We don’t expect you to have a portfolio of high-budget shorts to be able to apply for funding but make sure that the project you submit feels like a step up that makes sense. It’s an opportunity to flex your filmmaking skills so push the boat out a little, but be cautious of taking too big a step and taking too much on. 


  • A clear vision of why you want to tell the story. Tell us why it is important to you and why it needs to be on screen. Having a clear sense of this will help us to understand why you have submitted the film and what the important themes are for you as a team. Your passion for the film will be its driving force, tell us about it! 


  • Part of the guidelines is risk - this is connected to you stepping up as a filmmaker. An awareness of what is challenging about the film is really important - all films have challenges, it isn’t a bad thing! We are here to support filmmakers and hiding the things that are challenging doesn’t help the process and will sometimes lead us to thinking they haven’t been considered. 


  • Are you a team that collaborates well, have the same goals and are supportive of each other? Having a clear collaborative process between writer, director and producer and shared vision will help to strengthen the application - making a short can be a tough process, but knowing you have each other’s backs is a great way to go into the process. 


  • A film idea that feels fresh - be aware of other shorts out there, we don’t expect you to have seen everything but an awareness of trends and what is doing the rounds is useful in ensuring you aren’t making something we’ve seen before this year. 


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Short Film Funding

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