British Independent Film Awards to Support Filmmakers Beyond Debut Feature (Exclusive)

Credit: BIFAs
The BIFA Awards

The "Springboard Programme" — open to those longlisted in BIFA's debut categories — comes with support from ScreenSkills, the BFI and Netflix.

The British Independent Film Awards is aiming to provide a supportive leg-up to emerging filmmakers hoping to keep the momentum going beyond their debut feature.

BIFA's "Springboard Programme," which was piloted earlier this year, is now open to all filmmakers who have been longlisted in BIFA's debut categories of debut director, debut screenwriter, breakthrough producer and discovery award between 2018 and 2020. The full program — a year-round course offering guidance and training, alongside community support — is designed to help the British film industry by identifying and nurturing those who have previously made a first feature of note and are now looking to pursue a sustainable career in the film. 

According to BIFA, more than 60 percent of its recognized aspiring film professionals don't proceed to make a second film. 

Springboard, which was made in response to this, comes supported by ScreenSkills, with National Lottery funds awarded by the British Film Institute as part of the Future Film Skills strategy, and Netflix. 

“Each year BIFA voters discover a wealth of promising new filmmaking talent," said BIFA co-heads Amy Gustin and Deena Wallace. "Being included on the longlist provides a valuable boost to a filmmaker's profile. Springboard builds on that platform to offer a tailored, ongoing suite of support to help filmmakers to build a lasting career. We are grateful to ScreenSkills and Netflix for their support of this program which will nurture the next generation of exceptional British filmmaking talent.”

Commencing in July, Springboard participants will take part in training sessions covering areas such as distribution and sales agents, marketing, sustainability, legal affairs and unconscious bias in production.  

The program will also work to further understand the needs of BAME, women and LGBTQ+ filmmakers from the longlists in order to ensure that it meet the needs of underrepresented groups who often face additional barriers to fulfilling production on their sophomore projects.

"We are supporting this imaginative program because it is important not only to encourage new talent into the industry but to support that talent in progressing their careers," said Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills head of film and animation. "Identifying whether there are particular challenges for some of the groups under-represented in the industry and providing appropriate help to overcome those hurdles is also important if we are to make sure that great prospects make good on their potential."