BFI Shorts 2012
BFI Shorts 2012 is now closed for applications.
BFI Shorts 2012 is a new short film production scheme that forms part of the BFI’s commitment to supporting emerging filmmaking talent and providing opportunities for filmmakers to demonstrate their potential to create feature films.
In 2012, up to 20 live-action fiction projects will be made with budgets ranging from £25,000 to £50,000.
We are looking for a diverse slate of films that tell compelling stories and have the ability to engage, inspire and entertain audiences.
Lighthouse, a Brighton-based digital culture agency, has been appointed as the management company for the BFI Shorts 2012 and will run this call for applications.
What we are looking for
The filmmakers who will be considered for support will:
- be writers, directors, writer/directors and producers
- have a strong track record in the discipline in which they are applying
- have a distinctive directorial vision and compelling storytelling ability
- come from a range of creative and cultural backgrounds
- be able to demonstrate that they are ready to make the transition into feature filmmaking and explain how their submitted short film proposal may be integral towards this ambition.
We are looking to support up to 20 live-action narrative fiction shorts which:
- have a duration of 10-30mins
- are able to engage, inspire and entertain audiences
- demonstrate that the filmmakers have the ability to dramatise stories that require a bigger canvas
- are achievable within the allocated time-frame and budget range specified
- have no development or production finance already in place.
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria in order to be considered for the scheme.
You are eligible to apply if you:
- are an individual aged 18 or over and a national or resident of the UK; or
- have a company which is registered and centrally managed in the UK; and
- meet the requirements set out for Director, Writer or Producer below.
Please note that this is not a scheme for inexperienced or first-time filmmakers.
You must have a demonstrable track record as a Director and your examples of work will indicate a distinctive directorial vision.
You are eligible to apply if you have at least two directing credits on any of the following:
- Impressive screen-based work;
which has been publicly screened – including drama broadcast on TV or online, or conceptual music videos, commercials, documentaries, or Artists’ Film and Video.
- Accomplishment in theatre directing;
which may be demonstrable by acclaimed reviews.
- An outstanding short film;
one that has been officially selected by a festival programmer and screened at a film festival; or may have won an award or featured in competition; or has had a theatrical release; or has a third party sales agency agreement in place; or has been picked up for broadcast on television.
- One micro-budget feature film;
which can be self-financed; and has achieved recognition in a film festival or on theatrical release.
You are eligible to apply if you have at least two writing credits on any of the following:
- A long-form fictional work;
which has been developed to treatment stage or full script, and may have been optioned or produced as a feature film; commissioned or publicly broadcast as drama on TV or online; published as a novel or a collection of short stories / poems; staged as a play for the theatre, or broadcast on radio.
- An outstanding short film;
one that has been officially selected by and screened at a film festival; or may have won an award; or has had a theatrical release; or has a third party sales agency agreement in place; or has been picked up for broadcast on television.
Writer/Directors who intend to direct their submitted project must fully satisfy the Director eligibility criteria only.
You are eligible to apply if you have at least two producing credits (i.e Producer, Co-Producer, Line Producer, Executive Producer, Associate Producer) on any of the following:
- A complete feature film;
which has been or is intended to be publicly screened.
- A screen-based work;
which has been publicly screened – including on TV or online, or conceptual music videos, commercials, documentaries, or Artists’ Film and Video.
- A short film;
one that has been officially selected by a festival programmer and screened at a film festival.
All Directors, Writers and Producers should note, your application will be ineligible if:
- An attached director has less than two significant directing credits
- An attached director has a directing credit on more than one feature film (other than a micro-budget feature)
- Your relevant credits are on work made as part of an undergraduate university degree or drama school
- Your screen-based examples of work are formatted TV genres such as reality TV, games shows and chat shows.
BFI Shorts 2012 encourages applications from and gives equal access to all sections of the community. We are able to facilitate access in a variety of ways – please see Appendix 1 for further information.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 5pm, Friday 23 March 2012. Please note, late applications will not be considered under any circumstances.
Number of Submissions:
- Writers – can submit or be attached to only one application.
- Directors – can submit or be attached to only one application.
- Producers – can submit or be attached to up to two projects. Please note that a separate application must be completed for each project.
Individuals or teams in any Writer, Director or Writer/Director, Producer combination can apply. Individuals cannot apply without a project.
Submitting your Application:
To apply, you must fill in an online application form and provide the required supporting documents. The online application can be accessed through Lighthouse’s website:
If you have any special access related requirements or need assistance with the online application form, please contact the Programme Assistant on 01273 647197.
Your application must include the following:
- a completed online application form
- a CV including filmography for all attached team members
- evidence of eligibility (see below) for every individual attached to the application
- Directors must submit two examples of outstanding work via an online link or DVD – if you are sending a showreel with more than two examples, please clearly indicate which two should be assessed.
- a complete script which can be at any stage of development; industry standard formatting; between 10-30 pages long
- evidence of permission to use any underlying source material your script is based on (if applicable)
- equality monitoring form for every individual attached to the application.
If you are sending DVD copies of your previous work, please ensure they are clearly labelled with your full name, the title of the project you have applied with, and your phone contact details. The DVDs must be post-marked on or before the date of the application deadline. Please send the DVDs to:
BFI Shorts 2012
28 Kensington Street
Brighton BN1 4AJ
Evidence of eligibility:
All applicants must submit proof of their eligibility. Acceptable evidence includes:
- a scanned Option or Writer’s Agreement demonstrating that their long-form fictional work has been optioned or commissioned;
- writing samples that satisfy the Writer eligibility criteria (i.e. treatments /full scripts;)
- festival programmes (scanned hardcopy or online link);
- correspondence with a festival or awards notification;
- copies of awards;
- proof of your credit on, and reviews of previous theatre work;
- proof of your credit on a broadcast or theatrically released work (i.e. contracts or listings).
Applications must be submitted to Lighthouse. Please do not submit your application directly to the BFI as it will not be forwarded to Lighthouse and will not be considered.
What happens next?
On receipt of an application, Lighthouse may request further information in relation to the application or to you, before proceeding with the assessment of the application.
The application will be logged and Lighthouse will check that it is complete and eligible. Incomplete, late and ineligible applications will not be assessed.
Initial Assessment – first round:
Project proposals will be assessed by Lighthouse against the criteria set out under What are we looking for and on the basis of their creative merit. A long-list of projects will be prepared.
Applicants who are not selected for long-list will be notified by email.
Due to the high volume of applications anticipated, we will not be able to provide individual feedback on unsuccessful applications.
Long-list – Interviews:
Long-listed applicants will be invited to interview in central London. Please see Important dates. The interview panel will include senior executives from the BFI Film Fund and Lighthouse.
Short-list – second round:
Following interviews, Lighthouse will prepare a short-list of applicants who will be invited to the second round which will require attendance at a workshop, to be held at Lighthouse in Brighton on Saturday 26 May and Saturday 9 June 2012. Applicants should ensure they are available to attend on one of these dates.
Following the workshops, the second round projects may enter a period of intense development with input and support provided by Lighthouse. Some projects may be declined after the workshops.
Filmmaking teams will be required to prepare a shooting script, budget, production schedule, cast lists and storyboards as the final stage of the application process (the Final Submission Materials) to a deadline as advised by Lighthouse.
Please note – we are looking for efficient use of the resources available and budgets will need to be proportionate to the scope and ambitions of the specific project. Only a very small number of projects may be awarded the maximum amount.
Following the interviews, projects which do not already have a full team (writer, director, producer) in place will be able to work with Lighthouse to identify suitable partners.
By the deadline for the Final Submission Materials at the end of the second round, all projects must have a fully assembled team in place. If you have been selected for the Second Round you will also need to identify a production company for your short film as any offer of funding from the BFI will be made to your designated production company (and not to the individual named on the application form).
Once the Final Submission Materials have been prepared, Lighthouse, together with the BFI Film Fund, will assess these materials and make recommendations as to which projects to support to the BFI’s Lottery Finance Committee. The decision of the BFI’s Lottery Finance Committee as to which projects to support is final.
Applicants whose projects are not selected will be notified by Lighthouse.
All projects to be supported through the BFI Shorts 2012 scheme will be selected by the end of July 2012.
Delivery of Films:
All shorts must be delivered by the end of 2012.
Lighthouse will seek to provide tailored support and work with the selected filmmakers to help determine the most appropriate exhibition and distribution strategy for each project.
Application Deadline 5pm – Friday 23 March 2012
Interviews 8, 9, 10, 11 May 2012
Workshops 26 May & 9 June 2012
(please note, invited applicants will only be required to attend one of the workshops)
Selection End of July 2012
Delivery of Films End of December 2012
Please note that the interview / workshop / selection dates may be subject to change by Lighthouse.
Conditions of funding
If your project is selected for funding by the BFI’s Lottery Finance Committee, a production finance agreement will be issued by the BFI to the designated production company for the short film. The production finance agreement will set out the terms and conditions of the funding which will include at a minimum the following conditions:
Award of funding:
The BFI award should be applied towards the production budget of the selected film. The production schedule will be agreed by the BFI prior to the award being made.
The budget for each film will be between £25,000 and £50,000 and will be fully funded through the BFI award.
Production budgets must include provision for:
- a contingency of at least 5%
- production insurance
- delivery materials requested by the BFI (primarily one master on a hard drive and 2 x DVDs of the final film)
- payment for all cast and crew at National Minimum Wage rates or higher
- the clearance of all rights to the short film for use worldwide in all media and in perpetuity.
BFI will agree a cashflow schedule for payment of the award. The cashflow will include a holdback of a minimum of 5% of the award until full and complete delivery.
The BFI will require approval of:
- key elements such as the writer, director, individual producer, screenplay, principal cast, all HODs and principal crew including but not limited to editor, director of photography, composer, sound designer, costume designer, hair and make-up designer, sound recordist, 1st AD, production manager
- all clearance agreements (cast, crew, music etc)
- the production budget, cashflow schedule and production schedule
- insurance policies
- all cuts of the film including rough cut, fine cut and picture lock.
Approvals will be exercised by Lighthouse on the BFI’s behalf.
The BFI will require a contractual front credit on a separate card in the following form:
and an end credit or logo recognising that the funding has been made available through the National Lottery in a format advised by BFI.
BFI will require delivery materials to include:
- 1 x master on a hard drive of the short film
- 2 x DVDs of each film (without timecode)
- publicity stills
- publicity materials
- copies of the clearance agreements.
The production company should ensure that the production budget contains provision for the costs of these materials.
The production company will be required to establish clear rights to all works required for the making and exploitation of the short film worldwide in all media in perpetuity. The BFI will require prior approval over all clearance agreements to be used on the short film (including for example agreements for the services of writers, directors, producers, cast and crew and for the clearance of music) unless BFI pre-approved template documentation is used.
Films should be produced in accordance with the requirements of all unions and guilds having appropriate jurisdiction and all applicable laws, statutes, and relevant EU Directives.
In order to minimise the costs of producing the short films and to ensure that the films can receive the maximum distribution and exhibition opportunities possible, ONLY pre-cleared library music or original compositions can be used on the short films unless a licence (for commercial music) has been obtained prior to first day of principal photography of the film.
The BFI will require a 50% share of copyright and all other rights in the short film, except that the writer will be entitled to reserve the right to adapt the script and all characters, places, scenes or situations appearing in it for the purposes of producing or procuring the production of a television programme and/or feature film.
The BFI will require the non-exclusive right to copy, reproduce and or exhibit the short film (in part or as a whole) in perpetuity:
(1) theatrically in the UK (commercially and non-commercially)
(2) non-theatrically throughout the world including through online means (for educational or promotional purposes)
including the right to authorise others to do so. BFI rights will not be exploited until after an appropriate festival window for the short film. In addition BFI will require a right of first refusal to release the short film commercially on DVD in the UK.
Recoupment and profit share:
The BFI will not seek to recoup its funding or participate in net profit share but will require the production company to share any revenues realised from the film with participants including director, writer and individual producer in an equitable manner.
All enquiries must be directed to Lighthouse via email in the first instance to:
Textphone: 01273 686320 (please do not use this number for phone enquiries)
We will endeavour to respond to your query within 48 hours.
Appendix 1: Accessibility
Lighthouse encourages applications from, and gives equal access to, all sections of the community.
To ensure equality of opportunity, access will be facilitated in the following ways:
- all guidelines and information regarding the scheme are available in large print format and can be downloaded from the Lighthouse website – http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/apply-bfi-shorts-2012
- a textphone is available: 01273 686320
- individual needs of applicants will be discussed once they have reached the long-list stage, prior to interview
- we have a budget allocation for BSL interpreters and associated travel and subsistence costs
- all scheme events and follow-up sessions will be held in venues which are wheelchair accessible.
Travel and Accommodation Costs
Financial assistance is available for a variety of access related costs including travel, subsistence and childcare, but applicants should note that we are only able to provide support to those who really need it. This will be determined on a means tested basis.
Participants who are not eligible for financial assistance will be expected to cover any costs incurred when travelling to training sessions and development meetings.
Every effort will be made to ensure selected applicants are able to participate in the full range of scheme activities and long-listed candidates will be able to discuss their specific circumstances with the project management team once invited to interview.
- All application to BFI Shorts 2012 will be managed through Lighthouse Arts and Training Ltd (Lighthouse). Applications must be submitted to Lighthouse and not to the British Film Institute in order to be assessed.
- The application form does not necessarily cover all the information we use to decide which applications to fund. We may ask applicants for extra information.
- All applications are made at the applicant’s own risk. Lighthouse and the British Film Institute will not be liable for loss, damage or costs arising directly or indirectly from:
• the application process;
• the British Film Institute’s decision not to provide an award to an applicant; or
• dealing with the application.
- The British Film Institute’s decisions on applications are final.
- The British Film Institute will not pay the award until it has received a fully executed copy of the production finance agreement and all conditions precedent to that agreement are met.
- The British Film Institute will publicise information on the number of applications it receives and the awards made.
- The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives members of the public the right to request information held by the British Film Institute. This includes information held in relation to applications to the British Film Institute’s various funding programmes or schemes. Therefore if you choose to apply to the British Film Institute through Lighthouse you should be aware that the information you supply, either in whole or in part, may be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Sometimes the British Film Institute’s Board of Trustees or members of staff may be involved in some way with applicants. This interest has to be declared in applications from such applicants. The relevant Board Trustee or staff member will not be involved in assessing the application or the decision to make an award. Applicants are advised not to try to influence the success of their application by approaching a Board Trustee or staff member.
- It is important that applicants carefully check the information given in the application form. The British Film Institute standard terms and conditions entitle it to withhold or reclaim an award in the following circumstances:
• If the application was filled in dishonestly or with incorrect or misleading information about the organisation or the project whether deliberately or accidentally; and
• If during the term of the agreement the awardee acts dishonestly or negligently to the disadvantage of the project. The British Film Institute will follow up cases of suspected fraud and will pass information to the police.
- Complaints and appeals: The British Film Institute’s decision is final. Inevitably, applicants will have to be turned down and may be disappointed by this result. Formal appeals against the final decision will not be considered unless the applicant has good cause to believe that the procedures for processing the applications were not adhered to, or applied in such a way as to prejudice the outcome of the application. A copy of the British Film Institute’s Complaints procedure can be downloaded from the website or obtained on request from the British Film Institute’s Communications Office.
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