The BFI is unveiling its new BFI NET.WORK to back new and emerging film talent across the UK with more than £3m per year.
The partners in the NET.WORK are Creative England, Creative Scotland, the Film Agency for Wales and Northern Ireland Screen. The BFI is also working with Film London on two short film schemes, with Aardman on animation talent development, and with 104 Films to support emerging filmmakers with disabilities.
The NET.WORK aims to join up agencies across the UK to work together and share information about new and emerging writers, directors and producers; nurturing them on the road to making their first feature films.
The various schemes and initiatives that are part of NET.WORK will give funding for film writing, directing and production for shorts and developing ideas for first features; there will also be events, labs, screenings, readings and masterclasses across the nations and regions.
The £3m annually is double the amount previously available. That amount includes £1.8m per year to Creative England to deliver Its new talent strategies, including its two new centres in Sheffield and Brighton plus its shorts scheme iShorts as well as other support for emerging talents.
In 2014, the NET.WORK will launch a website that will be a showcase for rising filmmakers’ works as well as providing access to executives and industry information.
There will be an annual NET.WORKER event to bring together filmmakers from across the country, with the first one slated for 2014.
With this more ‘decentralised’ approach, non-London filmmakers can benefit, Creative England Head of Film Chris Moll noted. “We needed to shift the centre of gravity for new talent out of London,” he said.
“The whole principle of the network is more about sharing information about who’s doing what,” Moll added. “It’s not like the old regional screen agencies that might have been fighting against each other.”
The BFI itself will not directly fund shorts and won’t fund development for most first features. But the BFI will continue to back first features with production funding when appropriate. “Strong intelligence will come out of the network for people gearing up for first features, and then they could come for us for first feature production funding,” Roberts said (NET.WORK funding won’t guarantee future Film Fund support, however.)
The NET.WORK brings together experts across the UK to offer talent development opportunities in a more joined up way than ever before. This new approach will culminate in a joint event from all NET.WORK partners, which will take place once a year. The NET.WORKER will be an annual event that brings together NET.WORK filmmakers from every part of the UK to share work, experience and information and help forge potential partnerships and collaboration.
Underpinning and complementing the NET.WORK will be a dedicated online discovery space which will allow new writers and filmmakers to upload samples of their work (such as shorts and screenwriting), interact with the BFI Film Fund, and NET.WORK partners, and find out about funding opportunities. The ambitious new site, which is set to launch in 2014, will help filmmakers showcase their work to a range of key film industry professionals, including agents, talent executives and others, and will provide a unique and innovative ‘postcode-free’ route to securing development support and funding.
More information on the NET.WORK can be found at www.bfi.org.uk/network