iFeatures looks for next generation of British filmmaking talent

Posted on 30 January 2014

iFeatures, the award-winning low budget filmmaking initiative, has launched its latest nationwide search for emerging talent.

Now in its third iteration, iFeatures will develop a brand new slate of 16 projects from the UK’s most promising filmmaking teams.

This increasingly popular initiative will introduce some of the UK’s most exciting new writers, directors and producers to a wide range of industry professionals, developing their scripts, and their connections.

In early 2015, three of the projects will be greenlit, each with a budget of £350,000.

As the initiative evolves so do the guidelines, with the latest round of iFeatures seeing bold changes in application criteria.

Filmmakers from across the UK are now able to apply with stories embedded not just geographically but also culturally in the English regions. Documentaries are no longer accepted and teams now have to submit a treatment. A thriving film industry is about diversity, and this year the scheme is also keen to see more applications from women and filmmakers from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

As part of the launch, the iFeatures team will be hosting events in Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Birmingham, Brighton, Norwich, Newcastle and Hull in January and February, where filmmakers can meet the iFeatures team and connect with other filmmakers.

And if demand for these evenings is anything to go by, this is going to be a bumper crop year: Bristol, Manchester and Sheffield are already sold out, as are two networking events in London for BAME and women filmmakers.

Partners Creative England, the BFI and BBC Films will fully-finance, with the BBC pre-buying UK free TV rights. The accompanying professional development programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund. The experienced iFeatures team will also work closely with the recently established BFI NET.WORK for new and emerging talent.

iFeatures Executive Producer Christopher Granier-Deferre said: “iFeatures is without doubt one of the most exciting initiatives out there and as budgets continue to shrink across the industry an increasingly important lifeline to emerging talent. The continued exposure to top tier professionals, married with bespoke training courses and a financially supported development process, isn’t just unique, it’s a game changer.”

Lizzie Francke, BFI Film Fund Senior Executive, said: “With Christopher at the helm we are really excited to discover new, distinctive and diverse voices from across the country. It is fantastic to be a part of this family of organisations to help develop the next generation of feature filmmakers.”

Steve Jenkins, for BBC Films, said: “The BBC is delighted to be a partner on the next iFeatures journey, further demonstrating our continuing commitment to micro-budget feature film-making. The scheme’s emphasis on regional activity and developing talent remains vital and exciting.”

Dan Simmons, Head of Film at Creative Skillset: “The provision of structured training and mentoring support, from development to distribution, means that both the talent teams and their film projects have every opportunity to reach their full potential. We wish every success to iFeatures this year, which has proven to be a real launchpad for promising film careers. We especially welcome the increased drive to recruit a diverse range of talent from across the UK, given the latest Creative Skillset census results which show there is still much to be done in achieving a greater balance of representation in key filmmaking roles.”

The submissions deadline for iFeatures is March 14th.

For more information about iFeatures, and to book tickets for the pre-submission events, visit www.ifeatures.co.uk.

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