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BFI launches new pitching sessions for UK documentaries

BFI Film Fund to work with Sheffield Doc/Fest to bring two annual public pitching sessions to Sheffield and London.

Applications to the BFI Film Fund for documentary production funding will now be considered through twice yearly pitching sessions, the first taking place at Sheffield Doc/Fest on June 15 and the second in London later in the year. The deadline for submissions for the first session is April 22.

The new process will enable selected documentary filmmaking teams to access feedback directly from senior executives within the BFI Film Fund and wider documentary funding community, and also to benefit from a day of expert-led development ahead of the pitch.  

The move follows an increase in theatrical documentary applications to the BFI Film Fund as well as a boost in public interest, following recent hits such as BAFTA-winner The Imposter and BAFTA/Oscar-winner Searching For Sugar Man.

A shortlist of applicants will be invited to present their projects to a panel of experts from the BFI Film Fund and the wider documentary funding community on two occasions per year. The new process will provide more detailed feedback and advice for all applicants. 

The public nature of the pitches is intended to offer greater transparency of the process, according to the BFI.

Lizzie Francke, senior executive within the BFI Film Fun, said: “Documentary is the punk of the film industry - it so often fuels innovation and creativity in filmmaking and also in distribution. No one can bring a film to life with more conviction than the filmmakers driving the project, so we’re really excited to hear about new stories and characters directly from the talented filmmakers who are so passionate about bringing them to the big screen.” 

The BFI Film Fund has previously backed a range of innovative documentaries from UK filmmakers, including Carol Morley’s haunting Dreams Of A Life, Clio Barnard’s distinctive The Arbor and Sophie Fiennes’ philosophical cinematic critique, The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology.

Filmmakers wishing to apply for production funding for documentaries should go to the BFI website and apply through this new process using the BFI Film Fund online application mechanism. 

More information about the process and making an application for funding from the BFI Film Fund can be found at www.bfi.org.uk/documentaryfunding

More information about Sheffield Doc/Fest and pitching for the BFI documentary production fund can be found at http://sheffdocfest.com/view/bfipitch

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