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April 2020

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BFI Covid-19 Production Continuation Fund for UK independent productions

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An emergency fund for UK independent productions interrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is now live.

The BFI Covid-19 Production Continuation Fund will award up to £150,000 ($186,000) per project from a National Lottery funding pot of £2m ($2.5m). It will be open for UK independent productions in critical financial need as a result of unavoidable interruption due to the virus crisis, which has seen an industry-wide shut down, and will remain open until May 27. The fund is intended to help cover unexpected additional costs, aiming to ensure producers are in a position to restart when it is safe and practical to do so.

A number of independently financed UK films that were already filming or in late stage pre-production are understood to have incurred significant and unexpected costs in having to shut down as a result of the pandemic. The majority of these productions are, as a result, at serious risk of collapsing, as they may not find other sources of funding to cover these costs. The new fund is focused on ensuring productions can be stabilised, increasing their ability to resume production when social distancing guidance allows.

Ben Roberts, CEO of the BFI, said: “We are focused on restarting the industry as quickly as possible, and central to that is ensuring we have a strong and vibrant independent film sector in the UK, which was under considerable pressure before the shutdown. This fund is part of that work, providing a vital lifeline to independent productions directly and significantly impacted by the lockdown. It aims to ensure the production companies, along with the creatives and crew they were working with, are in a position to restart when it is safe and appropriate to do so, and crucially, encouraging our talented workforce to remain in the sector.”

Who Should Apply?

Applications are invited from independently financed films with a production budget of less than £8m ($9.9m), which are produced by a UK production company and are capable of qualifying as a “British film”, including UK qualifying co-productions (where such costs must relate to UK production elements). All awards from the fund will be recoupable.

The Production Continuation Fund mirrors the financial support already provided to eight BFI-funded features that were filming or in late stage pre-production when they were forced to stand down due to the Covid-19 crisis. These include Benediction, written and directed by Terence Davies and starring Jack Lowden, and Pirates, the feature directorial debut from Reggie Yates.

The fund is part of a package of support the BFI has rolled out to support individuals, organisations and businesses across the sector. The BFI is also continuing to work closely with industry and government to develop and implement a sector-wide strategy for recovery.

Out of its Screen Sector Task Force, a number of working groups are focused on inward investment, independent film, distribution and exhibition, and television and broadcasting. Roberts spoke to Screen this week in a wide-ranging interview about the Task Force and more.

To apply, for guidelines and for eligibility details, visit




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The Jack And Ada Beattie Foundation offers grants to Brummies affected by Covid-19

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The Jack And Ada Beattie Foundation is offering help to those affected by Covid-19 across London and Birmingham. The Foundation was founded in 2011 by notable Brummie and advertising executive  Trevor Beattie, and assists causes with an aim to  “fight against inequality in all its forms, and proudly display the Beattie family trait of defiance in the face of adversity.” In its history it has provided grants to individuals and organisations with needs and aspirations falling under the theme of dignity, freedom and sanctuary.

Those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic may be eligible for the Tons of Help Fund.


Tons of Help Fund

  • The Jack and Ada Beattie Foundation is launching ‘Tons of Help From Jack and Ada’ to support the most in need, affected by coronavirus across London and Birmingham.
  • Grants of £100 for individuals to support essential and basic needs.
  • The foundation commits to funding this programme. However, if other donors would like to support a grant – the foundation can direct your support to a case (and update you on the case study details).
  • Recipients will remain anonymous and their personal details never be published across any of the Foundation’s marketing or to donors. Although case stories will be published on our website/twitter.

Why £100?

  • £100 is more than anyone, no matter their circumstance will receive per week on Universal Credit.
  • £100 is the most common amount sought from a payday lender – over half of payday loans go on essential and basic expenditure such as grocery shopping.
  • £100 covers the average weekly grocery spend of a household of two adults.
  • £100 covers the average monthly energy; water and broadband bills of a household, combined.

To apply, individuals are asked to email: their name; geographical location and a short summary of their circumstances. No intrusive application form; no repayment needed. Find out more here.


Other Jack And Ada Beattie Foundation initiatives

Bank of Mum And DadInterest-free, charges-free, bank-free loans for people who need them most. 12 months to pay back. And the sooner the loan is paid back, the sooner it can be passed on to someone else in need of dignified financial help. Find out more here.

Grant Programme: The funding priorities for charities and individuals are Dignity; Freedom and Sanctuary. These are aimed at small, but important battles. Backing achievable ambitions. Assisting the vulnerable and marginalised facing social injustice and inequality. Find out more here.


Ark Media offers course on making smartphone films

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Ark Media is offering a free online course to help you film with your smartphone. Currently whilst their crews can’t be out filming at the moment they are still offering animation and quick edit services.

Plus we have developed our online training course – Filming With Your Smartphone. The course lasts 45 minutes and covers areas such as what videos work best, camera settings, framing, lighting and audio.


Join the course

You can access the course here. The password is: getthecourse

If you have any problems accessing the course, contact

If you are considering using animation? Here are a few examples from Ark Media to get those creative juices flowing

Contact Ark Media here for any guidance or support.


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400-pupil TV, film and stage school planned in Birmingham

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A disused college building in Birmingham is set to be transformed into a 400-pupil facility for those wanting a career in TV, film or theatre. The city council-owned building at 46 to 48 Stour Street was previously the Ladywood Centre of the former South Birmingham College (now South and City College Birmingham).

Now it is planned to become a new free school run by Birmingham Ormiston Academy, an independent state-funded academy which already runs a city centre site for 14 to 19-year-olds.

The new facility would cater for 400 pupils aged 16 and over wishing to enter TV, film or theatre, according to a report from council officers to the cabinet. The report states an estimated 10,000 extra secondary school places need to be provided by 2024, and the council would fail to do this if the proposal doesn’t go ahead. The college surrendered the lease to the council last year, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has since proposed buying it to allow it to allow it to become a free school.

Report authors Jaswinder Didially, the council’s head of education infrastructure, and Azmat Mir, head of property consultancy, recommend the cabinet authorises the sale for £2.7 million.

The report states: “Options are being explored for expansion across our current secondary school supply. However, with significantly fewer secondary schools (87 schools) than primary schools (302 schools) it is evident that the council will not be able to meet all of our needs within our existing estate. The council are therefore looking to the Government’s Free School programme to support us to deliver additional secondary schools and school places.

“If the proposal doesn’t go ahead then the city council would fail to meet its statutory obligation to ensure that there are sufficient school places, secure diversity in the provision of schools and increase opportunities for parental choice through planning and securing additional provision.”




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Film Birmingham wants West Midlands properties for filming locations

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Could your home be featured in a film or TV show? Film Birmingham are on the lookout for West Midlands properties to feature as locations in future productions.

Registered homes and properties will have the chance to be featured as locations in future film and TV productions.

Birmingham and the West Midlands have attracted a host of high-profile film productions in recent years including Ready Player One, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Stan and Ollie, as well as long-running TV shows like Peaky Blinders, Man Like Mobeen and the daytime drama, Doctors.

Sindy Campbell, Head of Film Birmingham, said: “We’re proud of the stunning range of locations found here in the West Midlands and we deal with numerous enquiries each year from productions looking for everything from disused warehouses and tower blocks to period homes and green spaces. Film and TV production companies are always keen to find new locations to hire for so we’re asking those who own interesting homes and properties
in the West Midlands to come forward and register them with us online.”

To Register

All property owners have to is fill out a simple ‘Register Your Property’ form via the Film Birmingham website and upload some high res pictures.
To increase the chances of getting an approach in the future, the Film Birmingham team have put together some advice on how residents can take the best pictures of their homes and properties. For more information please visit the registration page.


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Submissions open for RTS Midlands Awards – Deadline July 10th

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From 9am on 23rd April until 5pm on 10th July you can submit your entries for this year’s RTS Midlands Awards! Read their message below:


Now more than ever we want to celebrate the amazing talent we have here in the Midlands. From drama to short form, actors to writers, and the important people behind the scenes who make it all look brilliant – there is a category for everyone to enter! Click here to see some highlights from last year’s memorable event to remind you why we would love you to be part of it.

Full category information and details of how to submit your entries can be found on our website by clicking here.

RTS Awards are one of the gold standard awards in our industry and are an important showcase of the extraordinary talent evident across all genres in British television. We have taken on board feedback from the industry following last year’s awards. Our aim, as ever, is to reflect the changing television landscape and to make sure the categories recognise the kinds of programmes and talent that make up today’s schedules and the best content in the region.

We would stress the need for all organisations to show awareness in their selection of entries of the need for recognising diversity in our industry and in our wider community. If you require any clairification on categories or criteria please email


Source: RTS Midlands


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Uncertain Kingdom is commissioning a film about Covid-19 – Deadline May 12th

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The Uncertain Kingdom is a collection of twenty short films from twenty directors about the UK now. The films were commissioned in the spring last year and delivered through the winter.  They are currently commissioning a twenty-first film specifically on the topic of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. The film should open a unique and insightful perspective on the pandemic. As with all The Uncertain Kingdom films, it must be entertaining, original and relevant to the UK now.

Here’s more information from Uncertain Kingdom:


The final film

The film must be possible to produce while respecting government advice on the pandemic. It will be commissioned in May and must be delivered by 3rd August 2020.

Once again, we will give the chosen filmmaking team or individual filmmaker up to £10,000 to produce their film.

This final film will not be included in the online release of The Uncertain Kingdom but will be included in the community screenings when they take place.

What kind of film are we looking for?

We are looking for a story that gives a unique and insightful perspective on the crisis. We don’t mind what genre, form or style you choose, so long as it’s the best way to tell your story. You could apply with fiction, documentary, dance, monologue, animation… This list isn’t exhaustive; it’s up to you what you submit, so long as it meets the requirements listed under ‘your film’, below.

Who can apply?

The Uncertain Kingdom is aimed at experienced filmmakers with confidently executed, accomplished work under their belts.

Filmmakers have final cut and we’ll have minimal creative involvement. There’s no training element to the project, so we need to be confident you can deliver.

If you have significant experience in theatre, artist moving image, performance or other area of storytelling and you have an idea for a film, we welcome your application.

The Uncertain Kingdom is an inclusive project and we actively encourage applications from people of all backgrounds.

Your team

Applications must have a producer and director. That could be one person doing both roles, or a duo, or a team. If you have more than one producer, you’ll need to designate a lead producer to make the application. You may have a separate writer(s), or the director and/or producer could be the writer. It’s fine if there isn’t a writer at all.

Your core team may be more than three people but we will only ask about up to three team members in the initial application. Team members may be of any nationality but must all live in the UK.

Your experience

The lead producer and the director must have at least three short film credits, with at least one film having played at a BAFTA-qualifying festival; or a feature credit; or TV episode credit. Credits must be in the role in which the individual is applying to The Uncertain Kingdom.

These credits may have been achieved together as a team, or individually. Other contributors to the project, such as writers or additional producers, may be less experienced. If you’re coming from another storytelling background, you’ll need to demonstrate an equivalent level of experience.

Your film

·      Your film must tell us your unique perspective on the pandemic

·      It must be possible to produce your film while respecting government advice on the pandemic

·       It must be possible to produce and deliver your film by 3rd August 2020

·      If your film is fictional, it must be original (there must not be any underlying rights)

·      Your film must be achievable on £20k (we will award you up to £10k; you may raise a further £10k to the budget cap of £20k)

·      If you plan to raise more, you’ll need to be able to tell us how you’re going to do this in time to deliver on 3rd August 2020

·      Your film must have a running time of between 2 minutes and 15 minutes, including all credits.

·      Your film must be capable of achieving a maximum 18 BBFC certificate

·      Your film can be at script stage or at an earlier stage of development. However, you’ll need to tell us the whole story (beginning, middle and end) when you apply

What about copyright?

Filmmakers will retain the copyright in their films. On delivery of the film, The Uncertain Kingdom will be granted an exclusive licence to exploit the film for a limited term. At the end of the exclusive period granted to The Uncertain Kingdom, filmmakers will be free to screen and exploit their film as they like.

The Uncertain Kingdom does not expect to profit from any exploitation of the films. Filmmakers will not be required to pay any profit share to The Uncertain Kingdom and any money received by The Uncertain Kingdom from exploitation of the films will be shared among the filmmakers, after deduction of reasonable expenses.

How to apply

The (lead) producer must make the application on behalf of the team. When you apply, you’ll need to give us a 25-word log-line and a short synopsis of your story (1000 characters maximum). If you prefer, you can submit a video answer for your synopsis (2 minutes of video maximum).  You’ll also need to tell us what your film is about in 3 words. There’s no set way to do this; do what works for your film. For example, if you were making Jurassic Park, you might write: ‘man vs. nature’; or if you were making When Harry Met Sally, you could say, ‘male/female friendship’.

You’ll need to send us a sample of the producer and director’s work. Each sample must be a continuous clip from one film, of up to 3 minutes duration maximum. Please choose 3 minutes that you think is either most relevant to the film you want to make or the best representation of who you are as a filmmaker. Ideally the clip would do both. Please don’t send reels, trailers or full films that are longer than 3 minutes. If your whole film is shorter than 3 minutes, that’s fine.

You’ll also need short bios (1000 characters maximum) and contact details for each member of the team, and IMDb and website links if applicable.

Applications open on 29th April. You can find the link here.

Please note that you cannot edit your application after you have submitted and you cannot save it and come back to it later, so please make sure you have everything you need to get it done in one go.  There is nothing in the form that we haven’t told you about here in the guidelines, so there is no need to send a blank, ‘test’ entry to see the whole submission form. If you have everything we’ve listed above, you’re ready to submit.

You are welcome to apply more than once, with a new idea each time, with the same team or in different teams. However please bear in mind that we need to be confident about your commitment and passion for your film; if you spread your commitment and passion across more than one idea, it could make your application less compelling.

When to apply

Applications open at 8am Wednesday 29th April. Applications close at 11pm on Tuesday 12th May.

What happens next?

We will get back to you in the week commencing 25th May to let you know if we are progressing your application. If we are progressing your application, we will ask you for further materials, such as a script, other examples of your work, mood boards, schedule or budget (as applicable). Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we received last time, we don’t anticipate being able to respond to unsuccessful applications. So if you don’t hear from us, your application has not been progressed.

We will choose the selected team at the end of May 2020.

The film must be delivered on 3rd August 2020.




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Arts Council offers emergency funding for creative practitioners, freelancers and organisations

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The Emergency Response Fund by the Arts Council is open to all creative practitioners, freelancers and organisations. The deadline for applications is 30 April 2020. Anyone interested in applying needs to register on the Arts Council’s system by Monday 27 April.

Financial support for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers

The Arts Council have made £20 million available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. You can apply for up to £2,500 – click here to apply.

Creative practitioners whose main work is focused on these artforms and disciplines:

  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Dance
  • Visual Arts
  • Literature
  • Combined Arts
  • Museums practice
  • Libraries (activity that helps deliver the Universal Library Offers)

This work includes: choreographers, writers, translators, producers, editors, freelance educators in the disciplines and artforms we support, composers, directors, designers, artists, craft makers and curators.

The Arts Council is also exploring reasonable adjustments that will ensure applicants with access requirements have an equal chance of benefiting from this fund. This would include anyone ill due to Covid-19.

For more information, click here.




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Apply for Film Birmingham’s Working In The Locations Department Course – Deadline May 3rd

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Film Birmingham’s course An Introduction to Working in the Locations Department (WILD) will now take place online! We have waived the course fee so applicants can now benefit from the 6 days of in-depth training at no cost.

This course is delivered by Film Birmingham, with 6 sessions beginning on May 11th and spread over 2 weeks. It is designed to inform, educate and give hands on skills to the next generation of aspiring film and TV location managers. WILD will be led by top UK film and TV drama Location Manager Harriet Lawrence. Harriet has worked in location management for over 20 years and her impressive CV includes prime time TV shows Downton Abbey, Parks and Recreation and Dancing on the Edge and Hollywood movies The Personal History of David Copperfield, My Cousin RachelSuffragette and Burton and Taylor.

About the WILD Film Locations course:

The locations department has a wide and varied remit within a production. It extends from the creative beginnings of a script breakdown, working alongside Directors and Designers and scouting locations, to the logistical and detailed planning of a shoot. It enables all other departments to go about their jobs as smoothly and safely as possible. This film locations course will cover what to expect in this challenging, yet rewarding work environment.

It will give an overview of the industry, the different types of productions and then move on to the exciting challenges of scouting, planning a shoot and managing all aspects of the shoot day. The sessions will also outline some of the essential principles of health and safety, touch on some of the many things included in the locations budget and give tips on how to take great location recce pictures. This online training will be classroom-based, with details about a corresponding practical course to follow. Successful applicants will receive a link for the online course once their place has been confirmed.

Course Outline*

May 11th, 2pm – 4pm – Intro to the Industry, Communication and Script Breakdowns

May 13th, 2pm – 4pm – Scouting and Photography

May 15th, 2pm – 4pm – Planning the Shoot, Budget and Tech Recce

May 18th, 2pm – 4pm – working with the Designer. Cristina Casali and the making of The Personal History of David Copperfield

May 20th, 2pm – 4pm – The Shoot, Health & Safety / RAMS (Risk Assessment & Method Statement)

May 22nd, 2pm – 4pm – AD section

Please note this online course is based in theory and the corresponding practical course will follow at a later date.

*Participants are required to take part in all 6 sessions.

About Your Teachers

The WILD course will be led by award-winning locations manager Harriet Lawrence, who has worked in commercials, film and TV during her time in the industry. She was also the 2016 recipient of the Production Guild Inspiration Award. Supporting the course will be BIFA- and BAFTA- winning production designer Cristina Casali, who gained a Best Production Design 2019 BIFA award for her work in The Personal History of David Copperfield.

To Apply

25 applicants will be selected for the WILD Online Course. Film Birmingham welcomes applications from a broad range of participants; from new entrants with some production experience to those more established in the media industry.

If you are interested in being considered for the course, please complete this form. The deadline for applications is May 3rd, and successful applicants will be notified on May 4th.

Successful applicants will receive a link for the online course once their place has been confirmed.

For additional information, please email, with WILD Online Course in the subject.


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Short Dance Film Set Under Birmingham’s Spaghetti Junction

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Birmingham based company Corey Baker Dance, run by award-winning choreographer/director Corey Baker, has created a new short film titled Spaghetti Junction.  Shot beneath Birmingham’s famous Spaghetti Junction, the film features Gus Payne and Haoliang Feng, from Birmingham Royal Ballet and Forrest Rain Oliveros, from Hong Kong Ballet and marks the first ever collaboration between Birmingham Royal Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet and Corey Baker Dance.  The film received its world premiere screening through BBC’s Culture in Quarantine on Earth Day  2020 to raise awareness of the impact of climate change. Watch it here.

Corey Baker Dance has an international reputation for creating a diverse array of work across film, TV, theatre, using unusual locations and reaching non-traditional theatre audiences.  His first film Antarctica: The First Dancewas filmed on the icy continent celebrating Antarctica while we still have it.  The film was commissioned by The Space and Channel 4 Random Acts and featured Royal New Zealand Ballet principal dancer Madeleine Graham. Lying Together, the companion film for Spaghetti Junction, featuring Hong Kong Ballet was filmed on rooftops and urban green spaces of Hong Kong and also shares a message around climate change.  Lying Together will be released later this year.

Set to music by acclaimed band FKJSpaghetti Junction was created in partnership with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Hong Kong Ballet, and funded by Arts Council England, Birmingham Hippodrome, West Midlands Growth Company and Southside BID.

You can watch Spaghetti Junction here.

About Spaghetti Junction

Spaghetti Junction full credit list:

  • Director/ Choreographer: Corey Baker
  • Producers:  Corey Baker and Anne Beresford
  • Dancers: Gus Payne, Haoliang Feng from Birmingham Royal Ballet and Forrest Rain Oliveros from Hong Kong Ballet
  • Music: FKJ, Lying Together (Interlude)
  • DOP: Robert Beck
  • Editor: Dani Jacobs
  • Partners: Birmingham Royal Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet
  • Funders: Arts Council England, West Midlands Growth Company, Birmingham Hippodrome, Southside BID
  • Supporters: The Space, Holiday Inn Birmingham City Centre, Film Birmingham, Julie’s Bicycle
  • Production company: Corey Baker Dance Ltd.




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