Postroom guidance

INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS THE POSTROOM?

The BFI NETWORK website was launched in June 2015 and since then we have seen short films and scripts submitted by hundreds of new filmmakers. These are sent to us through the Postroom: an online space for filmmakers to showcase their work and connect with BFI NETWORK and industry executives.

You can submit up to six short films and/or short scripts to the Postroom, which will be shared with BFI NETWORK executives throughout the UK. There are lots of reasons why we may be looking in the Postroom, so make sure the work on your profile best represents you as a filmmaker. You can update your submissions whenever you’d like.

Why submit work?

  • As supporting material for a funding application.
  • To engage with execs, who may get in contact with you directly to discuss your work.
  • To be selected as a NETWORK Pick or part of Best Of. We showcase our favourite films in our monthly NETWORK Picks to help champion you and your work.
  • To find out about industry events.
  • To meet other filmmakers and collaborators.

SUPPORTING MATERIALS IN THE POSTROOM

If you’ve submitted examples of previous work to the Postroom in support of an application for BFI NETWORK Short Film or Early Development funding, you will receive a formal response to this application, as outlined in the guidelines for each type of funding.

NETWORK PICKS AND BEST OF SUBMISSIONS

At the end of each month we select a Postroom Pick – a short film which best reflects the qualities of filmmaking that we are seeking to support. We champion this film by promoting it and the filmmaker on the NETWORK website.

Every quarter we also showcase the Best of the Postroom, celebrating the voice and vision of writers, directors and producers who have submitted work. The Best Of selection includes scripts for work not yet produced as well as short films that have grabbed our attention but have not been featured as Postroom Picks.

In 2017 we launched a funding opportunity to help filmmakers capitalise on the promise they’ve already exhibited. Each filmmaker selected as a Postroom Pick will be offered funding for a follow-up short film. In addition, on a quarterly basis we will work with industry colleagues to select a filmmaker from the Best of the Postroom who shows exceptional promise, and offer them a short film award too.

When we select a piece of work as a Postroom Pick or Best Of, we look for creative confidence in the submission. We are seeking bold, visionary, disruptive work from storytellers with a distinctive voice and vision. We can receive short form projects from all categories including fiction, documentary, animation and something that is a mixture of the above, or more experimental. We welcome short projects that might be the beginning of something longer form too. Your project can be shot on any format, and we are excited by work that pushes at the boundaries of existing forms and platforms. We hope to be surprised by exceptional stories told in a dynamic way.

HOW DO I SUBMIT TO THE POSTROOM?

In order to submit to the Postroom you simply need to create a NETWORK account. You can submit up to six pieces of work, so you can upload completed work as well as a script for the project that you would like to make next. It is not necessary though to provide a script for a new work in order to be considered for a short film award.

The work you submit should demonstrate the talent you could bring to a new short film. If you are posting a film, you will also be asked to submit information on the budgets you have worked with.

To be eligible to be a Postroom Pick or Best of the Postroom, and so be considered for a short film award, you need to:

  • Be a writer, director or producer who has created an account on the NETWORK website; and
  • Have uploaded a short film (for Postroom Pick) or short film / script (for Best of the Postroom), which you have full permission to submit; and
  • Have not yet made a feature film, or have made a feature that had a micro-budget and/or did not receive UK theatrical release; and
  • Have not previously received public funding for film from Northern Ireland Screen, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film London, Scottish Film Talent Network or Creative England; and
  • Be a UK resident aged over 18.

Students in full-time education are not eligible to submit work to the Postroom.

HOW WILL YOU CHOOSE WHO GETS A SHORT FILM AWARD?

In choosing who will be offered short film funding, we will be looking at the following criteria in relation to the work submitted to the Postroom:

  • Demonstration of one or more of the following attributes: confidence in storytelling approach, experimentation in form or content, diversity of voice and vision;
  • The anticipated career benefit to you from support at this point;
  • The level to which you can demonstrate, through the work submitted to the Postroom, your ability to produce quality work and achieve value for money.

As the Postroom receives hundreds of submissions, the process will be highly competitive and there will be many great submissions that we won’t be able to reward with funding.

Each year we’ll be making around twelve awards. The maximum amount will be £10,000 per award; most awards will be less than this, and the amount will be determined in relation to the experience of the filmmaker and the specifics of the proposed project.

Our awards can be made to writers or directors. Where the work chosen as a Pick or Best Of has been submitted by its producer, we are likely to make the award once the filmmaking team for the future work has been agreed. This means we’ll need to see that the writer and/or director of the chosen work have committed to the project that we would be funding.

WHO MAKES THE DECISIONS?

Postroom submissions are viewed by BFI Film Fund and BFI NETWORK staff across the UK, and the best work is curated by the BFI Talent Development Manager via the NETWORK website.

The selection process for short film awards is led by the Talent Development Manager, who selects the Postroom Picks. When it comes to choosing which filmmakers in the Best of the Postroom will receive an award, we bring together a panel of colleagues from across the industry to pool their perspectives and select the final recipients. The panel will meet quarterly, though will not necessarily make awards at every meeting.

Once we’ve received proposals for new shorts from the selected filmmakers, the BFI’s Production Manager will also review these, and the final decision will be put to the BFI’s Lottery Finance Committee.

WHAT CAN THE NETWORK PICKS AND BEST OF FUNDING BE USED FOR?

The awards can only be used for the production of a new short film and within a limited amount of time. We cannot support student or graduation films.

The filmmakers who are selected for a potential award will be asked to submit a proposal to us for a short film they want to make. At this point we’ll issue further guidance to the selected filmmaker on what they need to send in. Each proposal will need to include a budget, outline and script. If you have not previously made a short film then we will ask for a treatment as well, outlining how you will execute your idea. Please note that the BFI will reserve the right to not make an award, in the event that the filmmaker is unable to submit the required materials.

We will work with you to ensure your vision for the short film is realised fully, with the Film Fund Talent Development Manager providing support in specific areas throughout the process.