BFI launches new short-form animation fund

Alongside commissioning new research, the British Film Institute is offering up to US$145,800 for projects that are unlikely to be commercially financed.
August 7, 2019

The British Film Institute is launching a short-form animation fund with awards of between US$36,450 to US$145,800 (£30,000 to £120,000) to encourage growth in the UK animation industry.

Supported by National Lottery funding and operated by the BFI Film Fund, the new pool of money opened yesterday and will remain open until November 5. It is seeking applications from a wide variety of UK animators who already have some degree of industry recognition (although BFI didn’t define what constituted industry recognition).

Projects should be higher-budgeted animated work and no longer than 15 minutes in length. Submissions should be narrative short-form projects in any animated technique or genre for any platform, including cinema, digital and emerging media such as VR, or TV (but not projects intended primarily for broadcast TV). The financing is intended for work that isn’t likely to be funded commercially. More details on submission guidelines can be found here.

Beyond the money, successful projects will also have the opportunity to receive oversight from a BFI Film Fund executive and a dedicated animation specialist.

The new fund ties in with the BFI2022 five-year strateg, which identified animation as a focus area and committed to encourage experimentation in a form that audiences can engage with.

In tandem with the announcement, the BFI Research and Statistics Fund (again supported by the National Lottery) is commissioning new research on the UK’s animation industry. The plan is to identify what the region’s areas of expertise are and pinpoint creative and commercial hubs across the UK. Set to be available in 2020, the BFI hopes to provide a robust and credible source of data that will also highlight areas where domestic and international partnerships can be exploited.

BFI also runs the Young Audiences Content Fund, which launched earlier this year as a US$70-million (£57 million) initiative led by former BBC Children’s exec Jackie Edwards. Open for applications, the three-year program will offer the funds in support of content for audiences under 18.

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