Today, applications open for 2019’s shortFLIX, Creative England’s hugely successful short film-making programme, which offers opportunities for new voices to create diverse and representative films for broadcast.
The programme, run by Creative England in partnership with Sky Arts and ScreenSkills, actively seeks aspiring filmmakers aged 18-25 who are not in employment, education or training, with a focus on underrepresented voices.
Of the applicants, who simply submit a short video or written pitch, twenty will be selected for development support from initial idea to script. After the initial development period, five distinctive short films will be chosen for production, working with a professional producer, crew and budget of up to £10,000 each.
The first round of the programme created five bold, fiery films broadcast on Sky Arts and hosted on the channel’s on demand platform, exploring personal stories from black gay culture to toxic friendships, dysfunctional families and sexual fetishes.
The final films have gone on to be screened at film festivals. Abena Taylor-Smith, who wrote and directed Ladies Day, went on to be nominated for the Iris Prize, and her film was screened at Encounters, Raindance, Leeds Film Fest, NFFTY, Underwire Fest and LSFF, whilst Luna Carmoon, who wrote and directed Nosebleed, saw her film, which was longlisted for a BIFA, screened at LFF, NFFTY, Bath Film Fest, Underwire Fest and LSFF. Losing It, by Ben Robins has screened at Encounters and Bolton Film Fest, whilst Batty Boy from Dior Clarke and Blain Ho-Shing screened at Bolton Film Fest and BFI Flare.
Many of the other shortlisted entrants, who were part of the development phase, have also gone on to bring their short film ideas to the screen with support from funders and commissioners such as Film Roundhouse, Film London’s London Calling and BFI NETWORK, alongside undertaking work, training and other development opportunities.
Creative England, Sky Arts and ScreenSkills are once again joining forces for this initiative, which will provide training and mentorship from industry professionals to ensure young filmmakers gain practical skills and experience as they take their first steps in the industry.
Applicants must come to us with a brilliant idea for a short film that will engage audiences. ShortFLIX exists to offer opportunities to underrepresented voices in the film, bringing diverse voices and stories representing life in the UK as it really is. Mentorship, guidance, care and nurture will be a crucial part of the training and production process.
One of this year’s shortFLIX ambassadors Rachel Shenton brought the struggles faced by profoundly deaf children to the public's attention when she wrote and starred in short film The Silent Child, which then went on to win Best Live Action Short Film at the Academy Awards 2018.
Rachel Shenton, shortFLIX ambassador says: “shortFLIX is an exciting programme and one that’s very important right now. Turning your ideas into reality can feel intangible - it certainly did for me. So it’s awesome that this programme helps to fund and support the whole process and it’s open to all young creatives. It’s a great opportunity and I’m super happy to be supporting it.”
Paul Ashton, Head of Film, Creative England, comments: “We’re incredibly proud of shortFLIX; it is a truly ground-breaking scheme, which is taking crucial strides to counter the problems of access, representation and equality that persist within the creative industries. The sheer quality of the films made in the first round of shortFLIX is testament to the outstanding untapped talent and potential we have in this country and so it is with great excitement and anticipation that we reopen the scheme for applications.”
The development programme for the shortlisted filmmakers will begin in August 2019 and run throughout 2019. For more details on how the programme will run and to apply, please visit: http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/film-and-tv/shortflix
Zai Bennett Director of Programmes for Sky says “Sky Arts is delighted to be supporting this amazing project once again, working together in partnership with Creative England and ScreenSkills. As the UK’s only dedicated arts channel, we are committed to supporting emerging talent and giving young people with a creative passion the opportunity and platform to tell their stories.”
Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills’ Head of Film and Animation, said: “We are delighted to continue to support shortFLIX and create opportunities for a greater diversity of voices to enter and progress in the film industry. We are committed to working with industry to help build a more inclusive workforce with the experience to tell a wider range of stories with authenticity. We look forward to seeing the ideas that emerge from this year’s programme and how they develop.”
The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 31st May 2019.