BFI NETWORK @FLARE Mentorships 2018 in partnership with BAFTA

Applications are now closed. Check back next year for the 2019 round.

29 January 2018

Flare 2018.jpg

Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino), 2017
“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30.” So says Elio’s father in the remarkable speech that closes Call Me By Your Name. What’s true in the 1982 of the film remains sound advice today, and not just as fairly revolutionary parental guidance. Whether L,G,B,T,Q or other, we still rip things out of ourselves – or the wider world (and the industries we work in) can rip things out of us. 
The films we see at BFI Flare are the results of years of work and often struggle: creative, financial, ethical, and personal. The film business is a challenging place for any new filmmaker, but there are additional and specific barriers involved in bringing LGBTQ content to the screen. Stories that filmmakers know deep down could resonate with a broad audience can be perceived as special interest or niche – and commercial finance then offered accordingly. Distribution beyond the festival circuit can be a challenge. There remains an absence of LGBTQ portrayals in general within mainstream cinema, though recent breakouts in Moonlight and Call Me By Your Name have given us some refreshing depictions of gay men. All of these factors can lead to self-censorship, or the dilution of the elements that give a story its potency and authenticity. 
To address these challenges, BFI Flare, NETWORK and BAFTA have joined forces to provide a mentoring programme specifically for LGBTQ filmmakers on the way to making their first features. Now in its fourth year, BFI NETWORK@ FLARE Mentorships will provide a minimum of five filmmakers with a year of mentoring support from a senior film industry figure; with full immersion in the industry and public programme of BFI Flare; and with a raft of wider professional development opportunities delivered by BAFTA. 
The mentorships have proved invaluable for past participants, as one of last year’s mentees attests: “It was great to hear first-hand experience from writers, directors and producers who had all walked the same path that we had, and had achieved varying degrees of success. To be able to ask 'no holds barred' questions on their journey was amazing, and a once in a lifetime opportunity”. The fruits of the programme can be seen in Harry Lighton, one of last year’s mentees and the joyful recipient of a Sundance screening, a BIFA nod and a BAFTA nomination for his fantastic short Wren Boys. 
So – avoid creative and emotional bankruptcy, and gain the tools to bring your vision to the screen intact and as brave as it can be. Apply now.

people sitting on a sofas during a round-table discussion

Selected filmmakers will receive:

  • A minimum of four one-to-one meetings with your mentor, a senior figure in the UK film industry.
  • Roundtable with senior industry figures exploring the current global market environment for relevant films.
  • Access to a bespoke programme of industry talks and events during BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (21 March-1 April 2018).
  • Delegate pass and access to the viewing library for BFI Flare and BFI London Film Festival, and ticket to BFI Flare Opening Night film and party on Wednesday 21 March 2018.
  • Access to monthly BFI Flare-branded screenings at BFI Southbank.

The Festival will also promote your work by publishing a news story with filmmaker profiles for the BFI Flare website and social networks and offering you the option to have your short film available on the password-protected BFI Flare industry viewing portal.

Eligibility criteria

  • You will have written, produced or directed a short film which has screened in the official selection or been selected for one of BAFTA’s qualifying film festivals, including BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival
  • You will be developing a feature film project
  • You will be a UK resident.


Although the mentorship will be based in London, this is a UK-wide programme. There is some bursary support available to offset travel costs for participants living outside of Greater London.

Programme details

You will be assigned a mentor who is a senior figure in the film industry working in production, or sales and distribution. You will have at least four formal meetings with your mentor, and will be given support on how to get the most out of the experience. Rather than being a project development scheme, the programme strengthens professional networks and offers a space for discussion and better understanding of opportunities and challenges for LGBTQ+ filmmakers in the UK and in the global marketplace.

To start the mentorship off at the festival, there will be a collective gathering at a roundtable session at BFI Flare 2018 with senior figures in the film industry. This will be a Q&A exploring industry facts about LGBTQ+ content in UK film and in the global marketplace, and a discussion of the participants’ projects.

Selected filmmakers will be then paired with a mentor and meetings will be facilitated throughout 2018. Further meetings may also occur at the discretion of mentor/mentee. At the end of 2018 all mentees and mentors will have an exit interview, which will inform an article on the current global landscape for LGBTQ+ filmmaking. The article will be published on the BFI website.

Key dates

19 February 18

Application deadline

26-28 February 18

Interviews (date TBC)

2 March 18

Notification of success

21 March-1 April 18*

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival
*Please note that attendance at the Festival is a key part of this programme’s content so please do speak to us about any time conflicts.

23 March 18

BFI Flare roundtable (date TBC)

April-November 18

Mentor meetings

October 18

BFI London Film Festival

December 18

Exit interviews

How to apply

Please fill out our online application form. You will need to register an account. Once you are signed in please select the ‘BAFTA Mentoring — BFI NETWORK @ Flare’ application form. In the form you will be asked to:

  • Upload an online link to your qualifying short film (see above criteria).
  • Discuss what you see as the three major challenges for LGBTQ+ films and filmmakers (you may deliver this as written text or a to-camera address).
  • Tell us which filmmaker you admire and why (you may deliver this as written text or a to-camera address).

This programme is designed to help develop LGBTQ+-identified filmmakers who may or may not be working on projects with LGBTQ+ content. If you have any questions about the mentorship programme, please send an email to our team at