How to get funding for your feature film (UK filmmakers)

You have a great idea, perhaps a script and eager crew alongside, but need some funding or advice to help you to get started.  In the UK film industry there are a number of bodies who offer various programmes and development schemes to help filmmakers at every level but it can become a minefield to navigate.

At this years Edinburgh Film festival, I heard from the likes of Film London, the BFI Film Fund, Creative England and Film4 productions to find out exactly which schemes they offer and their advice for the filmmakers of today.

Film London

The Microwave Scheme- Microwave is Film London's ground-breaking feature filmmaking scheme. It has helped to produce Hong Khaou's critically-acclaimed Lilting, BAFTA-nominated Shifty and Plan B's directorial debut, iLL Manors.  This unique scheme doesn't just fund films; it offers the next generation of filmmakers a proven programme of training-through-production, as well as distribution support.

London Calling- London Calling and London Calling Plus are Film London's short film funding schemes aimed at giving more opportunities to London's new and emerging talent. Building on more than a decade of experience, the schemes are funding 24 new shorts from teams across the capital.  

BFI Film Fund

Lizzie Francke from the BFI film fund urges filmmakers to really focus their funding applications and only apply for the funding relevant to you:

  • Think about who you are applying to- which organisation is more suited to the kind of film that you want to make?
  • Read the guidelines!  Each funding body has different pots and you need to apply to the relevant one otherwise your project can be lost.
  • Use social media to create an immediate two-way conversation with your audience.  What do they think of the project?

There are a whole array of funding available from the BFI, which very different specifications.  Visit their website to find out more.

Crowd Funding
Is crowd funding for you?  If you're looking for funds to finish a production (i.e. not development) it can be the very thing.

However, you must make sure that you have raised as much awareness to the project as possible before you start your campaign.  Build ambassadors and the audience early on, and make sure that you aren't being unrealistic in how much you ask for.

Other film funding bodies to note
Try the following funding bodies to see what developement advice, schemes and training they offer which may be right for you and your project.

Film4 Productions
BBC Film
Creative England
Creative Scotland
Film agency for Wales