Glasgow Film Theatre

Source: Glasgow Film Theatre

Glasgow Film Theatre

Project and talent development programmes delivered by partners including UK-France sales outfit Film Constellation, Sheffield DocFest and Glasgow Film Festival are among the first recipients of the BFI’s National Lottery Creative Challenge fund.

The fund will invest up to £2.7m in total over three years from 2023-2026, focusing on five different ‘challenges’ . The aim is to decentralise project development and support with an expectation to support around 24 development programmes or labs, each supporting many more projects and filmmakers. 

All of the programmes are expected to launch over the next couple of months and to have completed delivery by end of June 2025. 

Each funding round has a different focus, addressing underrepresentation.This first round allocates £911,000 to support labs across the UK working with emerging filmmakers on genre projects, across feature film, live action, animation, documentary and immersive.

Through this first call for projects, organisations could apply for up to £150,000 for their projects.


No Funny Business from 104 Projects is a comedy feature film development programme that aims to support 10 projects with disabled writers, producers and directors looking to challenge and explore new and more interesting ways of depicting disability on cinema screens. It is designed by Justin Edgar, who has directed a trilogy of comedy feature films, Large, Special People and We Are The Freaks.

Immersive Fictions Lab from Crossover Labs will accelerate writing and early development of screen-based immersive projects, addressing the central question: ‘Why isn’t XR funny?’. It will be open to first and second-time immersive writers, directors and producers from across the UK with immersive projects that utilise screen-based XR technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.

The UK Next Wave Genre Lab is an initiative led by three industry organisations with complementary experience and expertise: Film Constellation, Maskoon Fantastic Lab and Tatino Films. The lab programme includes an intensive workshop in Cardiff and individual tailor-made residencies for filmmakers in different countries, offering the opportunity to forge international partnerships. It is open to UK-resident writers and directors, or writer-directors who are currently developing either their first, second, or even third feature films with an emphasis on genre films.

Funny Features is a talent lab from Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Film Theatre, that aims to address the lack of initiatives for producers looking to finance comedy genre projects. Producers, writers and writer-directors will take part in workshops and mentoring sessions covering a range of topics from script consultation, pitching and film finance packaging. The programme is encouraging applications from participants based in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and northern England, and projects led by filmmakers from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups.

Screen South’s Develop-CreateXR offers an extended narrative writing and world-building development programme for immersive XR, opened to UK-based writers, and delivered in partnership with immersive creators Brightblack.

Sheffield DocFest is introducing a development lab for LGBTQIA+ documentary, with 10 early-mid-stage filmmakers wishing to experiment with form while exploring the LGBTQIA+ experience, over a 10-month programme.

The Residency is a talent and IP accelerator that identifies screenwriting talent with global perspectives, and aims to fast-track the production of films for local and international markets, developed by Tolu Stedford and Charlotte Knowles of Story Compound in partnership with Nadine Marsh-Edwards and Amanda Jenks of Greenacre Films. The Residency will prioritise female and non-binary writers from the Global Majority, and focusing on action and thriller films created by 10 writers or writer/directors.

Trans+ On Screen, is a network of trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary professionals working in film and tv. The term trans+ includes everyone who might identify with the term trans, or fall outside of the gender binary. The DarkRoom Lab is aimed for professionals who identify as trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming, and is inclusive of queer people from the Global Majority. It is open to first, second or third feature writers who want to develop projects further. The programme will be a week-long residency to dig into each project as well as a year-round selection of masterclasses and a pitching showcase to introduce the writers and their projects to industry. 

“Through these eight programmes we are looking towards 85 projects and up to 152 filmmakers developing their projects further and finding a range of support from the financial to the creative and strategic,” said Mia Bays, director of the BFI Filmmaking Fund. “By opening up how we can invest funding for project development, we are supporting the UK indie film industry in the longer term by building a stronger lab and project development ecosystem with the expertise to propel strong projects and talented filmmakers forward into the marketplace.”