New films from Philippa Lowthorpe, Andrew Steggall, Jane Linfoot receive backing.
The awards are for film projects budgeted under £2m ($3.1m).
Sleeping Out will see Call the Midwife director and The Other Boleyn Girl writer-director Lowthorpe team with writer Stephen Butchard and producer Simon Lewis, with whom she also collaborated for BBC One drama series Five Daughters in 2010.
Set in Leeds, the drama tells the story of Jack and Toby, both 14, who live on the streets and dream of getting laid. When Jack falls in love with a murderer’s young girlfriend, it puts their lives in danger and tests their friendship to the limit.
Steggall, actor and theatre director of productions including Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat at the Old Vic Theatre starring Jeremy Irons, has previously written and directed four shorts including To the Marriage of True Minds.
Produced by Pietro Greppi and Guillaume Tobo, and set in the South of France, his feature Departure will chart the unravelling of an English family as they sell their holiday home whilst teenage son, Elliot, wrestles with a burgeoning sexuality and his mother, Beatrice, confronts the end of her marriage.
Writer and director Jane Linfoot, a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2008, has made four shorts. Her first feature,The Incident, produced by Caroline Cooper Charles, is a psychological drama about a couple whose comfortable lives are disrupted when they ignore the plight of a troubled young girl.
Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund, said: “Last week the BFI’s Statistical Yearbook revealed there’s still a long road to travel in bringing stories from a broader range of filmmakers to our cinema screens, so it’s gratifying to see a diversity of voices finding opportunities through our First Feature strand.
“We felt that Philippa, Andrew and Jane would bring unique and distinctive qualities to their work, and we’re pleased to be supporting their journeys.”
The closing date for round three awards is September 6, 2013.