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BFI Network are thrilled to announce the return of BFI NETWORK@LFF. Their prestigious talent development programme centred around the BFI London Film Festival (LFF) is now in its tenth year and better than ever!

BFI NETWORK@LFF will run during the festival, from 6 October until 11 October 2023. It presents an incredible opportunity for emerging filmmakers to access the programme, hear from UK and international filmmakers premiering their work as well as connecting with peers to share industry knowledge and experience.

Up to 15 outstanding UK-based writers, directors, and producers, who are poised to make a significant impact in the film industry, will immerse themselves in a journey of screenings, events, and personalised sessions with industry professionals.

They are looking for filmmakers from across the UK with a significant body of short-form work that could support a move to feature films.

Read the full guidelines to check if you are eligible for this program. BFI NETWORK@LFF is made possible thanks to National Lottery funding.

Making an application to BFI NETWORK@LFF

BFI Network expect the programme will be made up of screenings and events within the festival programme as well as networking opportunities and showcasing of participants work.

All of the activity will take place during the first week of the festival (6 to 11 October) with scheduled sessions that all participants must attend between 6 to 9 October. It will include allocated free time for participants to engage in the festival programme and interact with each other, all taking place in London.

Within reason, travel and accommodation requirements will be covered as part of the programme.

Successful applicants would need to be able to commit to attending at least 6 to 9 October to attend about 10 scheduled in person events with 4 to 6 overnight stays. If you’re successful, the exact programme schedule will be provided to you.

If you’re unable to attend the scheduled dates, you’ll have the opportunity, prior to commencement, to elect to leave the programme without financial implications (see Offer of place — Special terms and conditions for participants below).

Events and opportunities covered during the programme are likely to include but are not restricted to:

  • Access to the Festival and Industry programme
    • You’ll have festival accreditation allowing you full access to the festival screenings and industry events. Recommendations will be made along with allocated time to engage with the festival freely.
  • Private Screenings + Filmmaker Q&A from the festival programme
    • A selection of work will be screened privately with filmmakers at the festival who will be invited to meet the cohort for a Q&A on their work. Previous screenings have included Pretty Red Dress (Dionne Edwards and Georgia Goggins) and Joyland (Saim Sadiq)
  • Networking opportunities
    • The cohort will be invited to industry events throughout the programme to meet filmmakers, commissioners and other guests in attendance. Along with a closing drinks reception hosted by BFI NETWORK there will be an opportunity to join similar events with invites historically from BFI Filmmaking Fund, BBC Films and BFI London Film Festival.
  • Showcasing of work 
    • As part of the LFF For Free programme you’ll be invited to introduce and screen your work at a public screening hosted at BFI Southbank.
  • Introduction to BFI Filmmaking Fund 
    • BFI Stephen Street will be the main venue throughout the festival with a dedicated space for you to meet and interact throughout the programme. As part of the introduction to the event members of the BFI Filmmaking Fund will meet with filmmakers and discuss the festival and their picks.

Who can apply?

BFI Network are looking for the brightest emerging filmmakers that the UK has to offer. Those who are ignited by an insatiable passion to make their voices known and push the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from UK film. They want to hear from filmmakers who have a distinct quality to their short form work, a unique tone that sets them apart, a perspective they’ve yet to uncover.

They welcome creatives from all backgrounds and disciplines who are looking ahead to their debut feature or long form commission. This is your chance to show us yourselves – Who do you want to be? What do you want to make?

In order to be eligible to apply you must be able to satisfy all of the following conditions:

  •  resident in the UK
  •  over 18 and outside of full-time education
  • not have written, produced or directed a feature film that has received UK distribution (this includes via online platforms)
  • have produced, written or directed a significant body of short-form work and be looking to make the step to your first feature or long-form commission. By significant body of work, they mean a creative track record of multiple works in your field (that might include short film, music video, theatre, TV, web series) that have garnered industry recognition by way of funding or commissions, awards and festival selection, critical praise or a substantial online audience.

If you are unsure if this programme is suitable for you or you have enough experience, email

How to apply 

Complete and submit the online application for BFI NETWORK@LFF via the link below by midday on Friday 4 August 2023. They are unable to accept any applications after this point.

They can provide assistance to applicants who have access requirements and need some support to make an application. See Access support for BFI fund applicants.

If you require any other support to complete or submit an application contact before the closing date and they will be happy to assist. They anticipate a very high volume of applications. Competition for places will be considerable, and they can only support a small number of applicants.


What happens next? 

Participants will be selected on the overall strength of their application, as well as their eligibility for the programme. They will also take into account:

  • the extent to which the programme is likely to benefit your career progression as a filmmaker
  • the strength of your work to date and your upcoming projects
  • representation of all UK regions and nations across the cohort
  • your demonstration of need for BFI NETWORK support. Places can only be offered to creatives who demonstrate a compelling case for National Lottery support and a clear public benefit from the activity being funded.

Stage 1 – Eligible applications will be read and assessed by the BFI NETWORK team and/or BFI Filmmaking Fund team. They may also use external assessors depending upon the overall number of applications that they receive.

Stage 2 – Following assessment, a shortlist of applicants will be invited for interview; the panel will include members of the BFI NETWORK and Film Fund team. Interviews are likely to take place week commencing 11 September 2023. Those not selected for the shortlist will be notified by email.

Successful applicants will be notified by 15 September.

They regret that owing to the large number of applications they receive, they are unable to provide feedback to applicants other than those called for interview.

BFI Network are unable to accept resubmissions or alterations of applications after the application deadline unless further information or supporting material is requested from the assessment panel.

This date may change, depending on the volume of applications they receive.

Offer of place — special terms and conditions of participation

If you’re selected as a participant, you’ll be asked to enter into an agreement with the BFI setting out the terms and conditions attached to your participation in the programme. In addition to the General Conditions of National Lottery Funding for successful applicants, they will include a list which you can ready here.

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