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BAFTA, BFI Network and British Council publish industry-first short film digital toolkit for aspiring talent

Dec 7, 2022

BAFTA, BFI Network (awarding National Lottery funding) and the British Council have unveiled a new comprehensive free-to-access Short Film Toolkit.

The first of its kind, this comprehensive digital guide includes insights from over 40 filmmakers, funders, festival programmers and distributors, unlocking vital insights and advice for aspiring talent to help them get the most out of their short film journey and accelerate their careers.

Over half of filmmakers are thought to enter the industry via shorts, yet some – without established industry connections – can find the routes in challenging to navigate. Spanning film festival strategies, case studies, to funding and marketing recommendations, the Short Film digital toolkit unpacks the boundless world of shorts.

It illustrates that there is no one size fits all approach, alongside the importance of networks, where to access funding and what areas of promotion to invest in, key film festivals, alongside building relationships with peers and creative authenticity. Case studies span documentary, animation, fiction, experimental & artist moving image, XR and immersive, and includes videos which are all closed captioned with accompanying BSL interpretation, as well as written summaries of each of the recorded conversations.

The Short Film Toolkit can be found here.

Tim Hunter, executive director of talent, inclusion, learning and membership, said: “Short video content is now arguably the dominant art form of our time. For aspiring filmmakers, it is an affordable and accessible way of testing your mettle, learning new skills and honing your creativity. Shorts are also an excellent route into the industry – but that path is hard to tread without deep insider knowledge and a healthy amount of luck. This resource is about shining a light on how to make your short work for you as a spring board to your future career, so that more short filmmakers can strategise for success and showcase their talent and capabilities to the world.”

BAFTA-nominated filmmaker and toolkit contributor, Sorcha Bacon said: “Navigating the short film process is always tricky, especially when starting out and often filmmakers don’t quite know where to look. Having been fortunate enough to work with different financiers including the BFI Network, BBC Films and Film4 on my short films, I’m pleased to have been able to contribute to this fantastic resource which will help demystify the filmmaking process.” <

Briony Hanson, director of film, British Council said: “We are hugely invested in short films as a place to nourish remarkable storytellers. Our short film Travel Grant programme (run in partnership with BFI NETWORK) already helps us to celebrate and champion the very best of UK creativity on an international stage – but it can be a daunting world to enter into. Now The Short Film Toolkit will offer invaluable insights from the beginning to end of the filmmaking process from filmmakers and film professionals who have already made the journey, and prove there’s no single right way to make and exhibit short films. We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to this resource (so far!) – many of whom are filmmakers who have received festival and lab grants from our programmes in the past. This is a vital resource for early career makers, and we look forward to more future filmmakers sharing their work with international audiences as a result.”

Alice Cabanas, head of BFI Network, said: “This resource benefits from the contributions of some fantastic creative talent and experienced industry execs to give aspiring filmmakers valuable and tangible guidance. Short films – from finding finance, getting them made, through to securing and maximising festival screenings – can be rich and fruitful training ground, but isn’t always easy to navigate. The Toolkit offers new talent insights on how short films can best help them to develop skills, hone their craft and build networks – the building blocks to successful careers in film.”

Today, millions of shorts are made every year by aspiring and established filmmakers and creatives around the world. The format may be used to showcase a feature film concept, or are often standalone pieces of art in their own right. BAFTA has officially recognised Shorts as an awards category since 1959.

The Short Film Toolkit is an ever-growing resource and will be updated regularly.

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