How does the BFI award it’s short film funding?

5 May '14 12 Comments on How does the BFI award it’s short film funding?

BFI short film fundingToday’s article is something I have been trying to write about for almost a year; short film funding. Last July I contacted the BFI with a Freedom of Information request about the amount of money awarded to short films. After a bit of chasing (and ten months passing), they have finally released the figures. I asked them which short film projects they have funded in the past few years, and to what amounts. In summary…

In summary…

  • Since 2011, the BFI has awarded over a million pounds to 29 short film projects
  • The largest amount of funding for one film was £58,500
  • Warp Films received over 10% of the total amount awarded

BFI short film funding by year

The total amount awarded since January 2011 was £1,084,961 and splits up as follows…

  • 2011 = £123,818
  • 2012 = £887,651
  • 2013 = £72,792
  • 2014 = £700
  • Total Jan 2011 to Feb 2014 = £1,084,961

In 2011 there was no new shorts scheme, whereas in 2012 The Lighthouse managed the BFI’s allocation of £1 million. The short film awards are now handled by Net.Work.

The Films

The one million pounds was split across 29 different short film projects and most projects were only awarded one grant. Eight were awarded two lump sums and two projects were given three different sets of money. The largest amount given to a single short film was £58,500 to Mohammed from Pico Pictures and the smallest was £2,800 to Pitch Black Heist from DMC Film. The average amount awarded was £37,412 per film.

Short Film TitleGrant Amount
Keeping Up With The Joneses£58,000
Orbit Ever After£58,000
The Line£56,025
Field Study£49,599
Liam + Lenka£45,512
The Beast£43,795
Sea View£42,000
The Portrait£40,761
S L R£38,465
The Parachutist£27,518
No Kaddish in Wrexham£26,026
The Karman Line£25,000
Broken Eternity£24,160
The Curse£21,660
Going to Mecca£20,000
Acoustic Kitty£18,330
Cool Box£11,000
Pitch Black Heist£2,800

Company Credits

Warp Films were awarded £115,333 across three projects, meaning that they received over 10% of the total amount awarded by the BFI.

CompanyTotal Awarded
Warp Films Ltd£115,333
Pico Pictures£58,500
Agile Films£58,000
No Logo Films Ltd£58,000
Life To Live Films£56,270
Dark Pictures Limited£56,025
Tomboy Films (UK) Ltd£54,315
Escape Films Ltd£49,965
Golden Arrow Pictures Ltd£49,783
Rooks Nest Entertainment£49,599
First Born Films Ltd£48,661
Electric Ballroom Productions Limited£47,824
Sigma Films Ltd£42,000
Eclectic Films The Portrait Ltd£40,761
Stigma Films Ltd£38,465
Stray Bear Films£38,252
John Loden Ltd£37,741
Various Films Ltd£27,518
Fortune Films£25,000
Too Tall Productions Ltd£25,000
B3 Media£24,160
Quark Films£21,660
Basement Multimedia Ltd£20,000
Bru Productions Ltd£18,330
Tiger Lily Films Ltd£11,000
DMC Film Ltd£2,800



    1. Steve, I personally agree with you, but I was quoting the BFI. The exact quote they said was…

      I can also confirm that:

      · 2011/12 – there was no new shorts scheme.

      · 2012/13 – shorts scheme managed by Lighthouse approx. £1m

      · 2013/14 – completed the Lighthouse scheme but no new scheme from Film Fund as shorts are now covered by the Net.Work.

  1. Interesting, but even more interesting would be the awards/ recoupment of the lottery funded feature films (or at least those awarded over say £50,000 or £100,000). Essentially covering the awards made by the Arts Council/ Lottery Franchises, the UK Film Council and the BFI (although some of the latter may be in the early stages of release). It would be a fascinating insight into how different films have performed.

  2. Great, thanks for this. Out of the 29 films, there were 7 female directors, 21 male directors and 1 director I couldn’t identify.

    Maybe the BFI need to look at their awarding policies.


  3. Projects should always be merited on the strengths of the script/ team rather then the sex of the filmmakers.

    Maybe if filmmakers with chips on their shoulders refocused their energies on their projects, rather then bitching about one excuse or the other, they too may get selected for talent schemes designed to support the best upcoming talent.

    1. Haha, very funny Alex.

      The BFI says on their site: “We use Lottery funds to nurture and invest in a diverse mix of first-class filmmakers UK-wide…We work to discover and develop new talent and to support the production of a wide range of films that will enrich British film culture and define Britain and its storytellers in the 21st century”

      Our public funders just need to do better.

  4. I’m personally saddened by the fact that the majority of these films are about men & boys. The ones that do feature women and girls usually end up being about them being victims or their relationship with men. Boooooooorrrrrring.
    Fair enough, if there happens to be more males making films & directing films then that’s a whole other issue (and I suspect has a lot do with females not even valuing their own contribution, so therefore not even trying, but that’s a whole other issue…) but filmmakers (of both gender) please please please STOP buying into the patriarchy and do something DIFFERENT. Something about a woman.

  5. Last year I made a short film on a 1k budget (sell raised), it would be great to see 20x1K amounts given out or for the BFI to do reduced screening prices for lower budget shorts, everywhere wanted more than half what the film cost to screen the film!!

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