BFI Film Academy: Short Cut Film Fund

Delivered by Young Film Network South East

The Short Cut Film Fund is now closed. Thank you for your applications and we aim to get back to you by 1 December 2023.

The back of a young woman's head. She's holding a film camera and wearing headphones.

Thanks to support from BFI Film Academy and the National Lottery, we’re delighted to be able to provide opportunities for aspiring young filmmakers like you to develop your creative track record through our Short Cut Film Fund.


This is an opportunity for three aspiring young filmmakers to receive a grant of £1000 to create a short film. You will also receive tailored mentorship to support your creative development.

Short Cut Film Fund applications close on 13 November. Please read the guidelines below before beginning the application process. Download a PDF version of the fund guidelines.


About the Short Cut Film Fund

This is an opportunity for three aspiring filmmakers aged 16-25 years old to receive a grant of £1000 to create a short film with a running time of up to five minutes. This includes all stages of production from start to finish, including script, shooting, post-production etc. You will also receive tailored mentorship to support your creative development. Previous filmmaking experience is NOT required.

The aim of this programme is to nurture aspiring filmmakers from underrepresented groups. It will guide you through your first filmmaking experience with financial support, and help you create a short film that showcases your storytelling vision.

This programme focuses on creative process rather than product. We are interested in seeing how the film reflects your development from idea to screen, and encourage you to explore your ambition to deliver something that showcases your filmmaking potential. You don’t need to have access to high-quality equipment either, you can make this on your phone or any device that can capture your story.

The £1000 grant could go towards covering camera equipment, casting, post-production costs, crew costs etc.

The deadline to complete and deliver your short film is 1 February 2024.

At the end of the programme you will be invited to showcase your work at a BFI Film Academy SCENE event in the South East region in 2024. You will have the opportunity to network with fellow aspiring filmmakers, and industry creatives and access festival events. Find out more about SCENE.

Programme Overview

The three selected filmmakers will receive mentorship from a filmmaker who has had their short film funded and supported by BFI NETWORK South East. They will offer:

  • Guidance on developing a short film idea into a shooting script
  • Guidance on how to make a short film, including budgeting, casting, storyboarding, creating shot lists, casting, crewing and more
  • Guidance on developing knowledge and skills that will be useful for you to explore and navigate the film industry, kicking off with the showcase at a SCENE event in the South East region in 2024

Can I apply?

If the following apply to you, make sure you apply by 9am on Monday 13 November 2023.

  • I am 16-25 years old and currently living in the South East region  (as defined by the BFI – see map, this excludes London) 
  • I do not have any professional filmmaking credits as a writer, director or producer. This includes IMDB credits.
  • I am not represented by an agent as a writer, director or producer.
  • I am not currently enrolled in higher education (degree level or above).
  • I am not currently studying a filmmaking course, and I have not studied a filmmaking course before (you can still apply if you have participated in BFI Film Academy short courses).

We encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply. If you face barriers to opportunities due to mental health issues, physical health/disability, learning disabilities, neurodivergence, substance misuse, survivors, people from working-class backgrounds, people from the LGBTQIA+ community, and people from Black, Asian, traveller, mixed heritage or other global majority backgrounds, we encourage you to apply.

On set on a sound stage. A film crew watching a replay on a monitor.

How to apply

After you click the ‘APPLY NOW!’ button below, you will need to fill in your contact details and complete an anonymous equality monitoring form. Then you will be asked the following questions (each 200 words max):

  • Tell us why you are applying for this opportunity
  • Tell us about your short film idea
  • Outline your pre-production plan
  • Outline your production plan
  • Outline your post-production plan
  • Outline how you would use the grant money
You can submit a video application instead. Both options are available on the application form.

We don’t expect you to have expert skills and knowledge, we just want to understand your idea better, as well as your approach as an aspiring filmmaker.

Need some help? Check out BFI NETWORK South East’s resource page for filmmaking.

Selection process: All applications will be assessed by the Young Film Network South East and BFI NETWORK South East teams. Shortlisted candidates may be invited to an informal meeting on Zoom. Due to the high volume of applications we receive it will not be possible to offer feedback to every applicant. We aim to let everyone know whether they have been selected for the award or not by 1 December.

If there are any barriers to you completing this application or if you think we can make it more accessible, please get in touch with us at: [email protected] 

The application deadline is 9am on Monday 13 November.

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