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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 British Council's Short Film Travel Grant Fund) exists to support UK-based filmmakers show their work internationally.

Benefits of the scheme include:

  • promotion of work to our exclusive programming contacts from key short film festivals including OberhausenAspen FilmfestClermont-Ferrand International Short Film FestivalTampere and many others
  • showcasing opportunities through British Council offices in 110 countries
  • access to an annual calendar of events where filmmakers can watch new work, hear from industry experts and meet with other filmmaking teams. This scheme will re-launch in September 2016 with a new calendar of events.

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.

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

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.

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 and Resources for filmmakers

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 2016.