Funding for filmmakers FAQ

My application has been rejected. Why?

We make every effort to ensure that our application process is fair and as transparent as possible. Unfortunately, given the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide detailed feedback on projects that we have decided not to progress.

Your application may have been rejected for a number of reasons. For example:

  • The project was not eligible for funding.
  • We felt the material was too ambitious for the budget.
  • We felt the material was too familiar or derivative.
  • We didn’t feel the filmmakers were experienced enough to make a feature.
  • We didn’t feel that there was sufficient appeal in the project for its target audience.
  • We didn’t feel that the project ‘needed’ Lottery support, i.e. it should be financeable by other means.

Of the 300+ applications we receive each year for production funding, we are only able to support between 25 and 30, so we have to say ‘no’ far more often than we are able to say ‘yes’.

How long will it take to process my application, and how do I check the status of my current application?

When we’ve received your submission, we’ll send you a confirmation email if the application is eligible for consideration. We will then contact you within eight weeks to let you know whether your project is being considered further.

During this period of time, we may ask for additional materials to support your application. In all, it can take several months to fully secure funding for your film if the application is successful, so please allow plenty of time before you plan to go into production.

I don’t have a producer or production company for my film. Can I still apply?

When submitting a request for production funding or completion funding, you must have a producer attached to your project and we will not accept projects from individuals who are the sole writer, director and producer. All applications must be made through a UK or EU/EEA registered production company to qualify.

If you’re applying for development funding, we strongly suggest you involve a producer, as you must have one attached to your project. If you’re unable to collaborate with another individual, you can nominate yourself as the producer – but you must show an ability to drive your project through your proposal.

I don’t have a director. Am I still able to apply for funding?

If you’d like to apply for development funding, you do not need a director attached to your project. If you’re submitting an application for production funding, you must have a director attached to your project. Please read the Can I apply? guidelines for more information.

I have a project I’d like to work on, or get funding for. Is it eligible to apply for Lottery funding?

Yes, as long as you’re over the age of 18, and your project is a feature film intended for theatrical release. Your project must be capable of qualifying for British film certification to be eligible.

I’ve got an idea for a film that I’d like to make. Can I speak to someone about funding?

Please make sure to read our application information and terms & conditions first, as these may answer any questions you have. Should you need further information, you can get in touch with the Film Fund team through our contact form.

We receive a very high number of applications, so unfortunately we’re not able to discuss projects creatively in advance.

I need to set up my own production company. How do I do this?

The BFI isn’t able to offer advice on setting up a company. If you need further information and advice, you could try contacting Companies House.

Can I include my treatment or script when I submit my application?

It’s not possible to attach any other documentation to your application form. Once your submission has been assessed, we may then request further details from you. This doesn’t guarantee that your application has been accepted – if we ask for additional material, such as the script or treatment, we may still choose to decline your submission.

What do I need to include in my strategic and creative proposals?

Please refer to our guidelines for detailed application information and advice on completing these sections.

What is the deadline for applications? Do you accept late submissions?

The Film Fund is an open access fund, which receives applications all year round. Outside specific schemes or funding strands (such as First Features or Feature Documentaries) there is no deadline for Lottery funding applications, and you may submit your application at any time.

Is there Lottery funding available for my studies?

We do not currently provide funding for any courses or training schemes. You can get more information and advice by contacting Creative Skillset.

Is funding available for short films?

We don’t fund stand-alone short films through our regular applications mechanism, but we do consider short films to be a vital part of the talent development process. Our UK-wide network for emerging talent, which aims to discover and develop new and emerging voices, enabling them to realise their potential and ultimately prepare them for their first feature.

The network will connect the work of the BFI’s funded partners, including Creative England, Creative Scotland, Film Agency for Wales, Northern Ireland Screen and Film London, who will nurture writers, directors and producers who have yet to have a film produced and/or released, through a hands-on and holistic approach. This work will include developing and funding short films at various degrees of filmmaker experience and budget; commissioning and funding feature pilots; and developing and funding new writing.

My short film has been accepted by a film festival, and I’d like funding to attend. Is it possible to apply for this?

For advice on applying for this kind of funding, please get in touch with the British Council – film.britishcouncil.org.

My project is a music video, corporate film, or a project intended for online channels or television. Am I eligible for funding?

The Film Fund only offers Lottery funding for feature-length films that are intended for theatrical release. If your project is for any of the above, we are unable to accept your application.

Can I apply for funding if I’m under the age of 18?

We only accept Lottery funding submissions from filmmakers who are over the age of 18, but the BFI Film Academy has been set up for aspiring filmmakers aged 16-19. The 2012-13 residential Film Academy has now finished, but check the BFI website again soon for more information about the 2013-14 programme.

My question isn’t answered here. How do I contact the Film Fund?

Please make sure that you have read through all our guidelines before contacting us with any enquiries. If you still can’t find an answer to your question then please email us at filmfundquestions@bfi.org.uk or call the Film Fund on 020 7173 3232.

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