BFI Film Funding

BFI Film Funding UK

Film Funds available to UK filmmakers

The British Film Institute offers a variety of film funding schemes for filmmakers across the UK in different categories. The BFI funds every year features and short films from pre-production to distribution.

Below are the highlighted funds available through the BFI. People wishing to apply for funding can download application forms directly on the website:

The Film Fund : Funding for feature films

The Film Fund is open to feature filmmakers who wish to apply for a grant that will allow them to develop, produce and complete their features. Every year, the BFI hands out £18 million in funding and oversees production, providing assistance through the development of feature projects.

Due to a high volume of entries the BFI is very selective about what films it will fund therefore filmmakers are encouraged to be as transparent as possible about what they are seeking funding for.

Filmmakers will be asked to provide certain information to complete their dossier before it can be reviewed by the BFI for possible funding. This includes some of the following criteria in two stages; a creative proposal and a strategic proposal :

  • The stage of the production
  • The track record of writers/directors on the team
  • Which audience demographic does it target
  • Dates of the shoot
  • Weblinks to work online
  • Financial plan (above and below the line if possible)
  • Distribution aspects

The Prints and Advertising Fund

Succesful films have strong marketing and distribution teams behind them. The aim of the Prints and Advertising Fund (P&A) is to provide funding for films to help them attain a wider distribution. Some of the films in question may be more cultural and have a more specific target market, therefore finding additional funding to help promote these movies is the central aim of this fund. Films that already have a budget behind them will apply for this type of fund as the production budget has been covered.

Film applicants for this fund must meet certain criteria in order to be considered for the P&A Fund including the nature of the film in question, which should be considered either a ‘specialised’ or ‘British film’.

There are two stages of application for this fund which includes an assessment process where the BFI will need to take into consideration the film’s marketability:

  • Does the film have sufficient theatrical potential?
  • Can the film reach the kinds of audiences it is target?
  • What is the expenditure required?
  • How many cinemas will the film be distributed in?
  • Marketing and publicity strategy?
  • Recoupment of investment after distribution
  • Monitoring including the use of external consultants

What is covered in the P&A Fund?

There are many aspects to film marketing and the BFI has shortlisted the items that would be covered by the fund which must be included in the application.

Some of these include:

  • Production and Design: Posters, trailers, magazine ads, screening tickets and merchandising
  • Prints and Distribution: Trailers, exhibitor screenings and censorship costs
  • Media costs: Magazines, online, radio, nataional and local press, TV
  • Publicity: UK Film festivals, PR agencies, media screenings EPK, radio syndication
  • Promotions: Agency fees, talker screenings
  • Research: Exit research, sneak previews, concept testing, media materials testing
  • Digital production: Scanning a negative, subtitles, production of digital cinema distribution master, payment of virtual prints for digital screenings

Film Export Fund

The Film Export Fund is open to British films that have been selected at major international film festivals abroad. This Fund of £200,000 helps sales agents and provides additional funding to market the film at chosen international film festivals covering logistical costs and other funding requirements for screenings.

The Fund will cover the following elements of a film budget:

  • Production of subtitled prints
  • Press campaign
  • Marketing items for film festivals
  • Travel and accommodation costs

Applicants will have to submit information specific to the film’s eligibility of the fund including:

  • Film and Film Festival details
  • Film length and budget
  • Anticipated subsides, grants
  • Marketing and promotion plan

Eligible film festivals

The BFI provides funding for British film screenings at the following film festivals:

  • Sundance Film Festival - January
  • Rotterdam International Film Festival - January
  • Berlin (Berlinale) Film Festival - February
  • South by Southwest - March
  • Hong Kong International Film Festival - March
  • Tribeca Film Festival - April
  • Cannes International Film Festival - May
  • Annecy Animation Festival - June
  • Karlovy Vary Film Festival - July
  • Locarno Film Festival - August
  • Venice (La Biennale) Film Festival – August/September
  • Telluride Film Festival – August/September
  • Toronto Film Festival - September
  • San Sebastian Film Festival - September
  • Fantastic Fest - September
  • Sitges International Festival of Fantasy - October
  • Pusan International Film Festival - October
  • Tokyo International Film Festival - October
  • Rome Film Festival – October/November

Transition Fund for Audience Development

The £2 million Transition Fund is no longer available for the current year.

BFI Shorts Film Funding

The BFI Short Film Fund is managed through Lighthouse.

Disclaimer: All the information provided above is available from the BFI. It has been written here to help you find the right fund for your films, but all applications must be made through the BFI. Film Industry Network merely provides you with useful information to help you understand the options available to you.