The BFI is revamping the Vision Awards, which provide investment to up-and-coming producers, by adjusting the eligibility criteria to producers later in their careers, and launching an additional training strand.
The latest iteration of the awards, which have been running since 2008, will see up to £2.5m in lottery funding over two years awarded to up to 20 UK-based producers or producer teams who have made between one and three feature films.
In tandem, the BFI is also launching BFI NETWORK INSIGHT, a new professional development programme for up to 12 emerging producers who are aiming to make their first feature.
The deadline for applications for both intiatives is January 6, 2020.
Explaining the new approach, BFI deputy chief executive Ben Roberts said: “We’ve consulted widely on where the greatest value of the Vision Awards lies, and we are now launching two distinct, but complimentary programmes to support producers early in their careers.”
The two programmes aim to address gaps identified by an internal BFI report into how the Vision Awards could make the best impact.
For the fourth version of the Vision Awards, a maximum of £50,000 per year for two years will be handed out to companies. This year the eligibility criteria has been adjusted to support producers/teams who have produced at least one feature but no more than three (the 2016 eligibility requirements, detailed here, targeted producers earlier in their careers). They are now also open to applicants from television and emerging media backgrounds with equivalent credits.
The BFI may, in exceptional cases, award a third year of funding to producers who ”prove themselves in developing particularly challenging, ambitious or risky projects, and can make a case for needing continued support while projects move towards production”.
The aim of the funding is to help awardees grow a slate of projects ”with an eye to defining their company identity”; seek out emerging writers and directors from across the UK; move projects into production; improve their commercial expertise; and develop a viable business after the end of the award term.
Describing what they are looking for in applicants, the BFI said: “The Vision Awards are intended to support producers who otherwise would not have the finance to build a new slate of projects. They are not intended for producers who already have access to substantial personal or company finance to use on building a slate.”
BFI NETWORK INSIGHT, meanwhile is open to talent with a track record in short form work and involves a nine-month practical programme geared towards training entry level producers. The scheme will conclude with the selected producers attending Berlin’s European Film Market (EFM) in February 2021.
The two programmes are aiming to meet BFI Inclusion Targets.
The 2016-18 Vision Awards handed out £2.2m in funding to 22 producers/producer teams, with awardees including Emily Morgan (I Am Not A Witch, Supernova), Jaqui Davis (Ray & Liz) and Camilla Bray (Beats).