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Short Support Scheme

Dear Mr Shakespeare dir. Shola Amoo, supported to attend Sundance 2017


British Council Film is committed to showcasing new UK film talent to audiences around the world and has a long tradition of support for short filmmakers.

British Council Film's Short Support Scheme (which includes our Short Film Travel Grant Fund) exists to support UK-based filmmakers show their work internationally.

Benefits of the scheme include:

Short Film Travel Grant

In partnership with the BFI, British Council Film operates a Travel Grant Fund that supports filmmakers to travel to key international festivals. If your film has been accepted into any of the festivals included on our 'Key Festivals List' (available for download at top right of this page) then you are eligible to apply to the Travel Grant Fund.

As of August 2016 we also support Virtual Reality projects at festivals marked VR on the Key Festivals List.

For detailed information on how to apply to the Travel Grant Fund please download and read the guidelines at the top right hand of this page.

To make an online application to the Travel Grant Fund  please click here.

Please note: there is no formal application process to join the Short Support Scheme. Participation is contingent on being accepted into one of the festivals on our 'Key Festivals List'. The assumption is that if you have been accepted into a festival, you will make an application to us for a travel grant and will therefore automatically qualify for inclusion on the Short Support Scheme.

If you have specific access needs please talk to us about what additional help may be available to Travel Grant recipients – for example additional funds to facilitate travel with a BSL interpreter or access worker, for example.

Short Support Scheme FAQs

1) How do you select the festivals on your 'Key Festivals List'? We select the festivals on our list based on the strategic role each festival plays in promoting and developing new talent internationally. We work hard to make sure our industry knowledge is as up to date as possible and therefore may add/remove festivals when appropriate. The list is subject to change.

2) Do you ever accept short films onto your scheme that haven’t been accepted into one of the festivals on your list? Yes, we reserve the right to invite films that haven’t been accepted into any of the festivals on our list but which we feel would be of interest to our programming contacts, or which might form a part of a touring package on a particular theme. Please note, however, that we will not consider unsolicited material - films will either meet the criteria outlined in the guidelines, or be recommended to us by one of the scheme advisory partners.

3) If my film is selected for a major event like the Academy Awards can I apply to the fund? The Travel Grant Fund is designed primarily to support filmmakers to travel to festivals, but we may consider major film awards for travel grant support. Consideration for support in these cases is at the discretion of the British Council Film Department.

4) I've been accepted into one of the festivals on your list but I only want to be included in the Short Support Scheme, I’m not interested in applying to the Travel Grant Fund, is there a separate application form?If this is the case then please contact us to discuss by emailing Films@britishcouncil.org

5) If I apply to the Travel Grant but for some reason am unsuccessful, then will I still qualify for the Short Support Scheme? Yes, as you will still have met the basic criteria for inclusion on the Shorts Support Scheme i.e. acceptance into one of the festivals on our 'Key Festivals List'

6) Does British Council submit films to festivals on my behalf? No, you will need to submit your film to appropriate festivals yourself. We are not a sales agent or a distributor, so we cannot do this on your behalf.

7) What if I don’t want British Council to screen my film as part of a package or at an event? We will always ask permission from filmmakers before screening their films in any context.

8) Do you support feature films under the terms of the Short Support Scheme and Travel Grant Fund? No, please visit the BFI's Film Export Fund page for more details.

9) Is this Fund anything to do with the Artist's International Development Fund (AIDF)? Yes - and no! British Council is a partner in the AIDF, a joint travel fund launched with Arts Council England. The short film Travel Grant Fund has been created because the AIDF does not cover film. If you would like more info on the general AIDF have a look here.

10) Do you support Virtual Reality projects? Yes, we support travel for VR project makers to the festivals marked VR on the Key Festivals list.

Resources for filmmakers

Film Directory

Our British Film Directory is for shorts too! An incredible tool for increasing exposure of new and existing film work to programmers and audiences around the world, if you haven't submitted you can do so by clicking through here ‘Suggest a New Film’.

If any details change, please make sure a profile of your film, including all relevant contact details, is completely up to date on the British Council Film Directory.

Short Sighted

There are a number of questions that come up regularly for short filmmakers who want to get their work seen. In 2012 we decided to address many of them by staging Short Sighted, a joint conference produced by British Council, BAFTA and Shooting People.

Designed to help filmmakers once they have completed a short film to navigate the murky world of exhibition and distribution and actually get that film seen, Shortsighted brings together ar ange of experts from the worlds of distribution, exhibition and film promotion, together with fellow filmmakers who have trod the path before you.

You can see some key discussion points from the 2012 edition below. Come and join us for the next one!

The next edition of Short Sighted will be held in Belfast and London in November 2017.

Resources for Festival Programmers

UK Shorts Portal

Since 2014 we run a UK Shorts Portal, an online screening platform designed to showcase the best new work from across the UK, exclusively for short film professionals.

Buyers and festival programmers looking for new graduate shorts from UK film schools, breakthrough talent developed through national and regional agencies, pioneering animations or inspiring documentaries, can now gain exclusive access to view new work by simply registering at UKShortsportal.picturepipe.net

The portal a one stop shop for Festival programmers, buyers and selected exhibitors to see the best new UK short film. It currently showcases:

  • 160 brand new shorts from the following partners who periodically update their current slate to coincide with international festivals.
  • British Council programmer picks from participants on our Shorts Support Scheme.
  • Highlights from British Council touring packages and programmes.
  • Award winners from the last year.

Our current partners include:

Please note that his service is for the use of industry professionals working as curators, festival programmers and short film buyers only at this time and unfortunately we cannot allow access for individual filmmakers or production companies due to the agreement we have with participating content providers on the site. If you're not sure if you qualify for access to the Portal do contact us at Films@britishcouncil.org

Film Directory

Our British Film Directory is for shorts too! An incredible tool for programmers and audiences around the world.

Search for titles for your programme by genre, production date or key word here British Council Film Directory.