More Films For Freedom is back and looking for LGBTIQ+ projects!

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BFI NETWORK, BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival and the British Council are partnering for a second year to commission three new short films from cross-cultural teams collaborating to explore LGBTIQ+ stories. Applications are now open!

16 July 2020

More Films For Freedom aims to find and fund the production of urgent, creative collaborations that explore LGBTIQ+ intersectionality, global human rights, and diaspora identity. It builds on our #FiveFilms4Freedom digital campaign, which originated in 2015 as a partnership between BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival and the British Council, and which has generated views more than 14 million people in 202 countries and principalities. In previous editions of the campaign, we found a gap in projects and stories originating in countries within the African continent and the Middle East. This year, we’re looking to commission new projects that will have at their heart an element of collaboration between UK-based filmmakers and filmmakers/storytellers from countries in these regions.

Teams that apply will need to demonstrate their collaborative international approach, and include an experienced, UK-based producer capable of delivering projects with an international component. 

We are looking to commission three films which will be awarded a grant of up to £20,000 each, to cover all stages of production, delivery of materials and team travel. Projects can shoot in the UK and/or internationally, but it must be feasible to complete the films on the budget available and given possible restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, each team will work with Caragh Davison (BFI NETWORK Talent Programme Manager) who will mentor both team and project from script through to edit. 

The three selected films will be eligible to screen at next year’s BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival in March. The premiere of the films will be made by BFI and British Council, either at Flare or online via BFI and British Council platforms.

What are we looking for?
●    Ideas for short films between five and ten minutes in length. 
●    Projects that explore LGBTIQ+ themes including global human rights, intersectionality and diaspora identity.
●    Collaborations between UK filmmakers and filmmakers/storytellers from the African continent and the Middle East.
●    Films in any genre including fiction, documentary or animation, and in any language.

Am I eligible to apply? 
The full eligibility criteria for making an applications are in these Guidelines, and include the following points. Your team must:

●    Have gained industry recognition for one or more previous shorts through acceptance into one of the festivals on the British Council’s Key Festivals list or the BAFTA-qualifying film festival list; or had specific recognition, which you can describe in your application, for a previous short from LGBTIQ+ communities in the UK or within the Middle East or African continent; 

●    include a UK-based producer capable of delivering projects with an international component, applying via a company registered and centrally managed in the UK/EU/EEA;
●    be a genuine collaboration between UK filmmakers and filmmakers in or from the Middle East or African continent. This may be by way of citizenship, nationality or residency status of the collaborators. For example, it could come through a co-production arrangement, or through working with a writer, director or documentary subject based partly or wholly in the Middle East or African continent. A team may be composed of filmmakers that are now based solely in the UK, if it includes one or more individuals among the writer, director or producer who have nationality or cultural heritage from the Middle East or African continent;
●    be seeking to tell an LGBTIQ+ story.

If you are a director and writer looking for a producer, or a producer looking for a writer and director, and you would like to make one of the More Films for Freedom but cannot currently apply due to not being a full team, please let us know as soon as possible on Please include a CV; writers should also include a description of their project idea. We cannot in any way guarantee that we can match you with collaborators, but we will see whether there are any potential matches and may make introductions. Such teams would then need to make a formal application via the usual route, by 16 August 2020. Any teams resulting from introductions made by us need to be fully comfortable in working together and agree all relevant aspects of their collaboration before entering into any potential funding agreement with us. For further guidance on definitions and eligibility please look at the Guidelines, which can be downloaded here.

How do I apply? 
●    You will need to complete an online application that presents your creative proposal, and send together with your script (or treatment for a documentary/storyboard for animation), your budget (you can download a budget template here), writer/director/producer’s bios, as well as links to previous work. Full details of the applications process are provided in the Guidelines.

●    Applications close at 11.59PM, Sunday 16th August
●    A shortlist of up to ten projects will be invited for a virtual interview with a panel of BFI and British Council staff in early September 2020
●    Each of the three selected projects will be awarded a grant of up to £20,000
●    Selected films will need to be completed and fully delivered by 15 February 2021


Please read the Guidelines carefully. 

For any additional questions, please get in touch at

*The application process for this fund is now closed.*