I am a non-UK national who has residency in the UK. Can I apply?
Yes, but you must demonstrate that you are committed to continuing to work in the UK film industry.
Do I have to pay a fee to take part on the Guiding Lights scheme?
Yes, the selected participants will be required to pay a fee of £75, which goes towards administrative costs. There is no cost to submit an application.
I am on a low income. Will I have to pay my own travel and accommodation costs?
The scheme is intended to be accessible to all. We are able to provide financial assistance towards pre-agreed costs if you are unable to cover certain expenses incurred when meeting with your mentor or attending training sessions. Every effort will be made to ensure selected applicants are able to participate in the full range of programme activities, and short-listed candidates will be able to discuss their specific circumstances with the project management team once invited to interview.
I don’t live in London, is this likely to count against me?
Definitely not! We are actively seeking applications from all parts of the UK.
Is there an age limit for applicants?
I work full-time. Does this mean I won’t be able to participate on the scheme?
No, the time commitments required from participants over the 9 months should be easily manageable alongside full-time employment. Please be aware however that there are certain dates we ask participants to be available for – please see the Key Dates section in Application Guidelines for further information.
Guiding Lights used to be open to cinematographers. Is this no longer the case?
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the funding for this round of the scheme, only the specified disciplines are eligible to apply for Guiding Lights 7. Please contact Creative Skillset for information on other training and development initiatives.
Do you provide mentoring for editors, composers or sound designers?
No. The scheme is currently only open to the disciplines specified. Please contact Creative Skillset for information on other training and development initiatives.
I’ve directed two shorts, but only one qualifies according to your eligibility criteria. Can I apply?
No, you must have a directing credit on at least two eligible pieces of work, as defined under the DIRECTORS – Eligibility & Application Information section of the Application Guidelines.
I’m a writer/director, can I apply for both categories?
No. Although we realise that certain disciplines often cross over, particularly in the case of writer/directors, the application process requires that you select only one field under which your submission will be considered. This is due to limited resources, meaning we are only able to assess applications against one set of criteria. Should your application be successful, we will take the fact that you work across both disciplines into account when matching you with a mentor.
I am an eligible director and can provide proof of my eligibility. Does the work I send in for assessment have to be the eligible films, or can I send something else?
As long as you provide evidence that demonstrates your eligibility, you can send us whatever previous work you feel best demonstrates your abilities as a director. This also applies for producers and writers.
Can I send a music video or a commercial instead of a short film?
We are specifically looking for talent with feature film potential, so would prefer to see examples of work that demonstrate narrative storytelling and your ability to direct performance.
I have directed drama for television which has been broadcast. Can I send this in as my supporting materials?
Yes, but you should remember that we are specifically looking for feature film potential so need to see work that demonstrates a strong cinematic sensibility. We will also look for evidence that you have been proactive in trying to develop a career in film.
What do you mean by work that has had online distribution?
This will be a piece of work that has been picked up for distribution through VOD or the curated channel of a recognised industry platform (e.g. Vimeo staff picks), third party festival, institution or awards body.
Do you accept applications for writing or directing duos?
Yes. As long as you can demonstrate a history of working together as a pair, and your work for assessment is credited to you both. Please bear in mind however that it may be more difficult to find a mentor willing to take on two mentees, should you be accepted onto the scheme.
When you ask for online links to examples of my directing work, do you mean work that is publicly available through a website such as BBC Film Network?
Links to examples of your work online can be through publicly accessible websites (such as BBC Film Network, or other) or private, such as password protected uploads on a platform such as Vimeo (or similar). Please provide weblinks that you have available and are most comfortable providing us with access to.
The two examples of my previous work are not yet online. Can I send DVDs instead?
Yes. Online links are preferred, but we are happy to accept DVD copies. Please note, they must be post-marked on or before the date of the application deadline, and clearly labeled with your name, discipline and contact details. If you are sending a DVD with a number of films, please specify which two you want us to watch. You should send the DVDs to:
28 Kensington Street
Brighton BN1 4AJ
My short film has screened at the Short Film Corner in Cannes. Does that count as an eligible festival screening?
No, having a film shown at the Short Film Corner in Cannes doesn’t count as an eligible festival screening as there is no selection process involved.
I am eligible to apply but don’t have a copy of any of my films. Will you consider my application without this?
No, your supporting material is a compulsory element of your application. We have to be able to see examples of your work.
How do I prove that my short films have been screened at a festival?
Evidence may include an acceptance email or letter from the festival, a copy of the festival programme, a link to or screengrab of an online festival programme, or written confirmation from the festival. If you have another form of evidence but are unsure as to whether or not it will be accepted, please email: email@example.com.
One of my films was directed with a co-director – can I submit it?
No. If you are applying as a director on your own, we need to be able to assess your ability and potential as a director, so will need to see work that we know you were wholly responsible for.
I’ve had work produced/optioned and have written scripts for short films, television and radio but have not yet written a feature-length screenplay. Can I apply as a writer?
No, submission of a completed feature-length script is a compulsory part of your writer application.
I have written two published novels, can I apply?
Yes, as long as you have also written a feature-length screenplay that you can submit for assessment, and you have another feature in development, you are eligible to apply. We will also be looking for evidence that you have been proactive in trying to develop a career in film
Is there a limit to the length of the films I submit as my supporting materials?
There is no maximum length for the films you submit. However, due to the high volume of applications expected, we may not be able to watch more than 45 minutes of material per applicant.
Can I save an incomplete application form and return to it at a later date?
No. You cannot save a part-completed form before submitting, but you will be able to view the form in full so we recommend you work from a separate document and complete the form once you are ready to submit.
Are links to IMDB sufficient evidence that I satisfy the eligibility criteria?
We generally do not accept IMDB links – although they prove a film/credit exists, it is not proof that they meet the eligibility criteria. However, we will accept them in cases where they explicitly include a date of transmission or release date. If not, you will need to provide something additional which proves the work qualifies as set out in the Application Guidelines.
In the Application Form you ask me to provide three mentor suggestions. If selected for the scheme, is this who you will match me with?
Not necessarily. Your suggestions will help us to get a better sense of your career aspirations, and the qualities you are looking for in a mentor. At this stage it’s really more of a wish-list, and doesn’t need to refer to past Guiding Lights mentors. If you are selected for the scheme, there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss potential mentors further, so although your suggestions will be taken into account, they may not end up being the mentor we match you with.
I work in exhibition and have the required level of professional experience, but don’t work in the South East. Can I apply?
Unfortunately not. The funding to support the participation of the exhibition professionals comes from the Film Hub South East (FHSE) – part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) – whose work is specifically intended to benefit the exhibition sector and audiences in the South East of England, in the following counties: Berkshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.
I’m a foreign national and I am not working in the UK. Am I eligible to apply?
If you are a national of a European Union country you are technically eligible to apply. However, you should bear in mind that the priority for Guiding Lights is to support UK filmmakers and that the programme is designed to benefit the UK film industry. These priorities will be taken into account in the selection process so you must show how your participation will help to achieve this.
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