A new digital platform for the British film industry has been launched where new writers and directors from anywhere in the UK can search for funding opportunities and introduce their work.
BFI NET.WORK is a UK-wide partnership of film funding organisations which helps to discover and develop new writers, directors and producers.
Alongside funding opportunities, events and industry news, the BFI NET.WORK platform offers aspiring emerging filmmakers a unique opportunity to gain exposure for their short film or script by sharing samples of their work directly in the Postroom, a space where NET.WORK and industry executives will actively seek out the most exciting and creative new film talent.
With an annual budget of £3 million of Lottery funding, the BFI NET.WORK sees the BFI work with national partners Creative England, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film London, Northern Ireland Screen and Scottish Film Talent Network, in a joined-up network of experienced development teams supporting new and emerging talent.
Lizzie Francke, Senior Production Executive for the BFI and a long-term supporter of new filmmakers explained the idea behind the resource.
“Everyone working in talent development recognises that filmmaking talent is everywhere in the UK but opportunity often isn’t," she said. "One of the biggest challenges for those of us working in talent development is how we can cast our nets as wide as possible in order to find, develop and support the next generation of filmmakers.
On the flip side, while getting a first film or short film made is a phenomenal achievement for filmmakers, being able to present it to funders and other industry professionals is a whole new challenge. The BFI NET.WORK is where filmmakers can share their work to the industry and get direct access to industry and talent development executives.”
An early example of a filmmaker being supported through the BFI NET.WORK partnership is Michael Lennox from Northern Ireland whose short Boogaloo and Graham (image, top) which he directed, won the Best British Short Film at BAFTA and was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the Academy Awards. Lennox is currently in post production on his debut feature, A Patch of Fog.
Another is Aleem Khan, who won the best UK short prize at the Iris Festival for his first short, Diana, and a BAFTA nomination this year for Three Brothers (below) produced through Film London’s shorts fund, London Calling Plus. Khan is now working on his first feature After Love.
The BFI NET.WORK development teams take a hands-on approach tailored to the needs of each filmmaker in order to equip them with the skills, experience and support required as they prepare to make their first professional feature film.
This approach includes developing and funding short films at various degrees of filmmaker experience and budget, commissioning and funding feature film pilots, developing and funding new writing, and further bespoke support geared to the needs of the individual.
The NET.WORK partners host regular screenings, readings, masterclasses and other talent development-focused events across the UK. It also hosts annual NETWORKER events – one such is being held during this month's Edinburgh Film Festival - to bring together filmmakers from every part of the UK to share work, experience and information and help forge potential partnerships and collaboration.