Listen to Britain: 2017

Inspired by Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s original, Listen to Britain 2017 is an exciting opportunity for new and emerging filmmakers.

30 January 2017

LTB 2.jpg

people dancing in an old black and white photo
Listen to Britain (BFI National Archive)
Inspired by Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s original, Listen to Britain 2017 is an exciting opportunity for new and emerging filmmakers. Grants of up to £5000 will be awarded to fund or partly fund a series of short documentary films.
To mark the 75th anniversary of Listen to Britain (1942) and explore British identity today, BBC Four in partnership with BFI are commissioning the next generation of filmmakers to direct short films inspired in some way by the original (directed and edited by Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister).
We will be giving up to 12 filmmakers the opportunity to have their films commissioned by an expert panel, with representatives from both BBC and BFI. If you pitch successfully, you will be awarded a grant of up to £5000, the opportunity to screen your film at BFI Southbank and a selection will be broadcast on BBC Four in autumn 2017. 
You can watch Listen to Britain here
What are we looking for? 
• We’re looking for bold, diverse and original ideas, reflecting your personal take on what Britain looks and sounds like today. Your film could be about a single aspect of UK, an essay on national character, an exercise in observation, or a creative exploration of the use of sound on film.  Maybe you want to make a positive propaganda film for Britain or some part of it? Or, in contrast to the original, a critique? 
• We hope to receive a diverse range of visions and interpretations and a rich variety of sounds and voices. Because we are commissioning up to 12 films, no individual film needs to cover the whole of the UK – whilst Humphrey Jennings travelled the whole country, you certainly won’t have to, and so it’s fine to have a tight focus.  
• Your film can be in any style, for example, talking heads, animated, mixed media and can run anywhere between 2 and 10 minutes. 
• All we ask is that your film is a documentary and owes something either in its content, tone or style (or a combination of these) to the original Listen to Britain. 
So what are you waiting for?
old London cityscape
Listen to Britain (BFI National Archive)
Am I eligible to apply? 
To be eligible to apply you must be:
• A UK resident aged 18 or over on January 30th 2017 
• Either a student, or a new/ emerging filmmaker. (You are unable to  apply if you’ve received a directing credit either on a broadcast TV programme, or three or more professional short films) 
• For further guidance on definitions and eligibility please look at our Terms and Conditions 


How do I apply? 
• View the application form below and see what supporting documents you need to supply. Please also read the following Guidelines carefully. 
      - You will be asked to supply a budget with your supporting documents, please download template here.
• Deadline Sunday 26th February 2017  
How will the commissions be awarded? 
We plan to shortlist between 15 and 20 applicants who will be invited for interview on either 19th or 21st April 2017. Successful applicants will be awarded grants and the commissioned films will need to be completed and delivered by 21st July 2017.   
More details about the timetable for the process and production period are available in the Guidelines and Terms and Conditions, which all applicants should read before applying.
Please note: Production and delivery will be managed by Wingspan Productions for BBC. 

Patrick Russell, a Senior Curator (Non-Fiction) at the BFI tells us more about Listen to Britain here.