Cannes generic

Source: GL / FDC / Cannes

Cannes Film Festival

The British Film Institute (BFI) and British Council have teamed up for the Travel Grant Fund, to support UK independent filmmakers, producers and extended reality (XR) creatives to attend international industry events around the world, including festivals, markets and development labs.

It expands upon the current travel grant support provided by the two organisations, which backed short films and virtual reality work for festivals and lab grants for project or professional development. The new fund now supports feature-length work and a broader range of XR/immersive works, in addition to short films, attending festivals and wider events. 

The fund, jointly backed by the BFI and the British Council, totals £623,000 over three years (2024-2027) and includes BFI National Lottery funding through the BFI International Fund and through BFI Network, the latter of which has supported travel funding for many years.

It will fund both early career filmmakers just starting to build an international profile, and more established talent seeking to increase their success and career sustainability through gaining international presence.

The Travel Grant Fund will be managed by the British Council. The BFI has had a partnership with the British Council since 2012 to provide travel grants to new and emerging filmmakers.

Grants will be a contribution towards travel and accommodation costs, participant fees for labs, training and co-pro forums, and for selected set-up costs related to XR works.

The fund is separated into five distinct grant strands: short film festival grants for writers or directors who have yet to have a feature film produced and distributed in the UK, plus producers of any experience level, to support a short film screening at a festival; feature film festival grants for producers to take a film to a festival; interactive/immersive/XR grants for XR creatives; lab grants for producers, writers or directors working on feature projects attending an eligible creative development lab; and co-production forum grants, for producers with feature projects attending a market/co-production forum.

Eligible festivals and events include both top-level global festivals and markets such as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Venice, alongside more specialist platforms championing under-represented voices, including Superfest Disability Film Festival in the USA and Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. The complete list of eligible events can be accessed via the British Council website.

“We are excited to be renewing and expanding the BFI Network-funded travel grants programme with our partner the British Council,” said Denitsa Yordanova, BFI head of the UK Global Screen Fund and international funds. “Producers and talent being able to physically attend and present their projects at festivals and forums really helps to boost exports as well as providing opportunities to co-produce and collaborate with current and future international partners.”

Briony Hanson, British Council’s director of film, added: “Over many years now we have witnessed the value of on the ground international festival experiences for filmmakers and XR creatives, particularly those at the beginning of their careers. This new-look expanded fund, delivered hand in hand with the BFI, means we can offer increased support at a critical time for the industry. We’re hoping it will encourage new collaborations and give a confidence boost to international relationships for UK talent as a result.”