British Film Institute Pledges $4.8 Million for Young Filmmaker Development Scheme

"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" was produced by BFI partner Aardman Animation.
"The Pirates! Band of Misfits" was produced by BFI partner Aardman Animation.
 Sony Animation

LONDON – The British Film Institute has put aside $4.8 million (£3 million) to discover and nurture new U.K. filmmakers via its nationwide program, BFI NET.WORK.

The first phase of the BFI NET.WORK, launched at the Encounters Short Film and Animation festival in Bristol, is a plan to support writers, directors and producers from the nations and regions of the U.K.

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It is a central plank in to the BFI’s five-year strategy plan and aims "to discover and support the next generation of U.K. filmmaking talent, no matter where they live [in Britain]."

With an annual budget of over $4.8 million, an increase of $2.4 million funds previously available, the NET.WORK sees the BFI work with national partners Creative England, Creative Scotland, Film Agency for Wales and Northern Ireland Screen to set-up a network of development teams across the U.K.

These organizations, with additional support and financial backing from the BFI Film Fund, will work to discover and develop distinctive filmmaking voices and prep them for their first feature film.

And it's not only the regions.

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The BFI also said it will work with Film London to deliver two shorts schemes in the capital, one producing up to 18 films at a lower budget level, and one at a higher budget level for emerging black and Asian minority ethnic filmmakers, which will produce up to five films per year.

For upstart animators, the BFI is to team with the multi award-winning animation studio, Aardman, the birthplace of TV and film stars Wallace And Gromit and movies including The Pirates! – In An Adventure With Scientists, Chicken Run and Flushed Away -- to deliver a specialized animation development program.

BFI Film Fund director Ben Roberts said: "Many of us noted the sheer range and quality of UK films coming out of Toronto this year -- and that there was no 'house style'. Our hope with the NET.WORK is that this family of organizations will pull together to unearth our standout filmmakers and help to develop them as distinctive, singular voices."

Roberts added that the fresh approach dedicates more time, energy and resources to our next generation of feature filmmakers, and the NET.WORK itself will continue to grow as we announce more partnerships in the coming months."

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