BFI Film Academy: Short Cut Film Fund

Delivered by Young Film Network South East

The Short Cut Film Fund for 2024-25 is open!

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

We are delighted to provide opportunities for aspiring young filmmakers like you to develop your creative portfolio 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 as well as a 121 session with BFI NETWORK talent executives.

Short Cut Film Fund applications close on Monday 3 June at 10am. 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. It is the perfect first step to develop your skills in preparation for you to apply for the BFI NETWORK Short Film Fund in the future.

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 casting, post-production costs, crew costs, festival entries etc.

Please note that to hire out camera equipment you will need insurance which is a large cost. We recommend looking for extra funding sources if this is your goal. When preparing your budget, factor in that BFI requires you to pay all your cast and crew at least London Living Wage (£13.15 per hour). If you do not include this in your budget, you cannot advertise to recruit cast or crew.

The deadline to complete and deliver your short film is 30 September 2024.

At the end of the programme you will be invited to showcase your work at Film Hub South East Forum in February 2025 to exhibitors and festivals across the South East.

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

Can I apply?

If the following apply to you, make sure you apply by 10am on Monday 3 June 2024.

  • 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 or get inspired and watch the films by our 2023-24 awardees.

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 July.

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 10am on Monday 3 June 2024.

This scheme is made possible with support from BFI Film Academy awarding National Lottery funding.

The Short Cut Film Fund for 2023-24 is now closed.

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