BFI NFTS logosThe BFI Film Academy Craft Residential delivered by the NFTS has places for 77 young people aged 16-19 making short films under the tuition of industry experts. 

The NFTS is looking for talented filmmakers aged 16-19 years old to join our BFI Film Academy Craft Residential.

If you’re aged 16-19 and you are committed to working in the film industry, then this is the opportunity for you. We’re looking for 77 of the nation’s most promising young filmmakers to take part in a two week film academy project in which you will work with top industry professionals to make short films. For the first time in 2020 one of the films will be a 360 VR film. You will also have masterclasses with top filmmakers and learn a craft specialism, such as directing or sound. The academy is open to those who have enrolled on one of the regional film academies and to others who have the necessary talent and enthusiasm.

The craft specialisms we cover are:

  • Directing
  • Producing
  • Screenwriting
  • Cinematography
  • Sound  Recording
  • Editing
  • Production Design

For all specialisms: you will attend the main craft residential, between 6 and 17 April 2020 at the NFTS and at Lane End Conference Centre nearby, with a pre-weekend residential of activities on 7 and 8 March 2020 at the same venues.
For screenwriting: there is a further residential. The first is between 7 and 8 December 2019, where you will be writing the scripts for the short films. Then, you will also take part in the two residentials listed above.

If you want to take part you must be available for the relevant dates above.

To apply for this one-off opportunity you should:

  • Be between the ages of 16 and 19 on the first day of the academy programme. You must be a UK resident and able to commit to the programme for its duration
  • Have a passion or talent for filmmaking
  • Have evidence of this talent in online material, such as videos which you have made or to which you have contributed
  • Be committed to a career in the film industry
  • Have someone who knows your work and is prepared to write a supporting reference (e.g. a teacher, industry professional or leader of one of the network film academies)
  • Complete your application form by the appropriate deadline:
    Screenwriting – 10 November 2019 by 6pm
    All other crafts – 20 January 2020 by 6pm

Craft residential participants should come from a wide range of backgrounds and we actively encourage applicants on this basis, aiming for a good gender balance, a diverse range of ethnic groups and to include participants with disabilities. Facilities are accessible to all and all necessary support can be in place for the start of the Craft Residential.

PLEASE NOTE that this course is not available to students enrolled on Higher education courses (University students)


The main Craft Residential itself largely takes place at two venues - the NFTS and Lane End, a conference venue outside High Wycombe, with excellent accommodation, facilities and grounds.

To see what happened at the 2019 BFI Film Academy delivered by the NFTS please watch the ‘behind the scenes’ film below.

Pre-residential weekend: 7 - 8 March 2020

The aims for this weekend are to get participants used to each other, the tutors and the main settings of the Craft Residential, so that they can hit the ground running at the main event, as well as establishing the seven groups in which the participants will work for the majority of the main Craft Residential through some team building activity. Groups will also work with their tutors on interpreting the script and agreeing a shooting script. By the end of the weekend NFTS production managers will have a clear idea of the requirements for the projects so that they can source actors, locations and props before the main craft residential commences.

The weekend will finish mid-afternoon, giving participants time to get back home ready for school/college the next day.

Between the pre-residential weekend and the main Craft Residential, participants will join a closed Facebook group to continue dialogue about the projects.

Main Craft Residential: 6-17 April 2020

There will be a masterclass programme across the 11 days, where film-makers come to the NFTS to share their experience and screen examples of their work. NFTS tutors will lead craft specialist workshops and there will be presentations and panels on the roles of sound, art direction, the film business and marketing. Much of the work will be in seven production groups, planning the short films and later going out onto location to shoot, followed by two days editing. There will be a trip to London to visit both the Tate modern and the BFI, where participants will have another masterclass from a filmmaker.

Meals and single room accommodation will be provided throughout the Craft Residential, with minibuses to take teams out onto location and coaches between the conference centre and the NFTS daily. On the final day, all participants will travel to the BFI South Bank in London for a screening of their finished short films for friends and family and industry representatives with an opportunity for networking thereafter.

Course Fee

We welcome applications from talented young filmmakers from all backgrounds. The fee ranges from £0 to £420 for the course, including accommodation and food, but a generous bursary scheme ensures that costs will not prevent any filmmaker from taking part - if you have the talent we will make sure you can attend. For more information please download the FAQs here or email

Please don’t let the cost of the residential courses deter you from applying. 

Due to generous support from the DfE, Creative Scotland, Lottery funding and Northern Ireland Screen we are able to heavily subsidise the cost of fees. The true cost of providing these courses is £3,000 but the maximum you will be asked to pay is £420 if you fall into the highest income bracket.

If a young person is offered a place on the Film Academy and can't afford the fee, our bursary scheme will help them. Depending on your financial circumstances we will fund some of the cost or all of it and also have a separate fund that can help with travel, childcare or other prohibitive costs.

Alumni Network

Throughout the Craft Residential, participants will be encouraged to think forward to future opportunities. With the support of a designated alumni officer, you will develop a Professional Development Profile, prepare for future work experience and the opportunity for involvement in NFTS summer Grad films. The alumni officer will work with industry partners to secure opportunities for the participants once the Craft Residential is over, including shadowing, placements, internships and apprenticeship opportunities. There will be further opportunities to attend events and showcase your work in the months after the craft residential.

Opportunities for alumni from previous residentials have included: working at film festivals, composing and editing for various short films, runners on the set of short films and music video, internships and working on NFTS grad projects.

There have also been networking events at BAFTA, Creative England and Film London, and short films from the residential accepted for various festivals including Portobello, The Smalls and the British Urban film festivals, as well as a number of festivals abroad.


Craft specialisms

Apply here now.

Application deadline: 6pm on Monday 20 January 2020
Successful applicants will be notified by 6pm on Friday 31 January 2020

You should select a first and second choice of specialism when you apply.

All applications are reviewed by the Project Lead and by other members of the selection team with film industry backgrounds.

Early submission of completed application forms is encouraged and forms will be looked at as they arrive.

Information for Parents and Carers

If you have any questions please email

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