Shorts Support Scheme
The Phone Call dir. Mat Kirkby has played at Flickerfest, Tribeca and Krakow Film Festivals
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.
The Shorts Support Scheme from British Council Film includes:
- promoting top quality short films to our exclusive programming contacts from key short film festivals including Oberhausen, Aspen Filmfest, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Tampere and many others
- working with British Council offices in 110 countries to facilitate screenings of the best UK short films internationally
- offering a Travel Grant Fund, in partnership with the BFI to help short filmmakers represent their work abroad.
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, and will automatically qualify to join our Shorts Support Scheme for an 18 month period giving you access to the following benefits:
- British Council promotes your film to our programming contacts at festivals around the world
- British Council features your film in selected preview screenings arranged in London for visiting programmers
- Your film is featured in the annual online BritFilms Catalogue which profiles a range of new British films produced each year and is made available to our network of international festival contacts
- Scheme Members are invited to quarterly networking events designed to connect new talent to industry
- Scheme Members who do not currently have representation will have their films promoted to a selection of talent agents in the UK
- Scheme Members are prioritised for tickets to occasional screenings and relevant film events organised by British Council and its partners
In addition, with prior permission of the filmmaker:
- Selected films from the Scheme are screened as part of touring packages or single event screening packages curated by British Council as showcasing events in partnership with our offices abroad
- Selected films from the Scheme are placed in front of feature films when we are involved in programming at international festivals or film events worldwide
We will never screen your film in any context without your prior permission.
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 Shorts 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 Shorts Support Scheme.
Please make sure a profile of your film, including all relevant contact details, is completely up to date on the British Council Film Directory. If you haven’t uploaded a profile then please do so now under ‘Suggest a New Film’. This helps us keep information up to date and is vital for increasing exposure of new and existing film work to programmers and audiences around the world.
In order to be able to promote the best recent UK shorts to our international programming contacts for consideration, we take advice and nominations from the UK’s most prominent industry organisations who work with short film. They are:
Shorts 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 be included in the Shorts 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
5) If I apply to the Travel Grant but for some reason am unsuccessful, then will I still qualify for the Shorts 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 wirth 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.
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 Shortsighted, a joint conference produced by British Council, BAFTA and Shooting People. As a result of the event we're delighted to unveil three short films made in partnership with the team at BAFTA Guru. 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, these three Shortsighted films explore the pros and cons of Film Festivals, unpick traditional means of distribution and question the latest thinking around on-line distribution. A range of experts from the worlds of distribution, exhibition and film promotion, together with fellow filmmakers who have trod the path before you, discuss the issues - and you can see the results right here: