If you’re a writer based in England with an exciting, bold idea – particularly if you’ve not yet teamed up with a producer – this is the fund for you.

For writers based outside England or for filmmakers looking for documentary funding opportunities, please see our Funding Finder.

‘New writers’ are people who have not yet written a feature film script that has been produced and distributed. This fund is also for producers and directors working with new writers.

The Early Development Fund in England will reopen in 2022.

This fund is the first step in the BFI’s development support for live action and animated fiction projects from new feature writers. It supports people at the very beginning of their development process to produce an initial treatment and related materials. Successful applicants will receive a grant from the BFI together with oversight from a BFI NETWORK Talent Executive to support them in creating the documents. The Talent Executives provide creative input and feedback on the initial treatments and related work, and can assist projects in other ways: from connecting people with potential collaborators, to enabling them to consider how their ideas might impact with audiences. This support aims to propel your project towards its next stage of development.


We are making some changes to the way that we manage and assess applications to the Early Development fund in England. From April 2021 onwards the fund will open for applications in the Spring of each year. From 2021 onwards we will publish the application dates six months in advance so that filmmakers can plan their applications in good time. The dates for the next Early Development Fund application window is as follows:


22/23 Round – indicative dates
Applications open: 4th April 2022
Applications close: 2nd May 2022
Applicants informed of decision: 18th July 2022


We reserve the right to amend any of these dates where necessary.


Please read the full funding guidelines before you complete the application form.


If you wish to listen to the audio guidelines for this fund, please use the link below.


Before you proceed to the application form via the link below, please note that applicants will be asked to create an account. Following submission of the application to the BFI, applicants will be sent a unique application reference number for their records.

If you have already submitted an application and would like to review it at any point, you can log into your account here.

Preview the BFI NETWORK Early Development Fund application here


We can provide assistance to applicants who are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, Disabled or neurodiverse people, and people with sight loss, where this support is needed in order for someone to make an application to the Film Fund. Visit Access support for BFI Film Fund applicants for information.