Ready to make a short film with creative support from Star?
With a focus on building a more inclusive film and television industry, Star and The National Film & Television School are looking for six experienced writer and director teams with diverse and varied perspectives, with at least one person in the team being from an underrepresented background, to make a short film as part of the Star Imagine UK Shorts Incubator programme.
“We’re so excited to launch the Star Imagine UK programme to get to work closely with up and coming filmmakers as they create authentic stories that reflect the diversity in our society, building their own skills in the process.”
For the Star Imagine UK Shorts Incubator, we welcome characters and stories that authentically reflect diversity within our society, and that feel original, surprising, and subversive. We would like candidates to apply with an original narrative script of any genre and tone that has a story thematically linked with the word ‘Evolve’. This script will be the basis of the story you will develop and produce through Star Imagine UK if selected.
Star Imagine UK is a ten month programme and will include the following (please note that timeframes and programme parameters are subject to change):
Script development and professional development classes delivered part-time by the NFTS over a three month period. These classes will be specifically designed to strengthen your professional and storytelling skills and the quality of your project. The classes will be delivered in evenings and weekends to fit around the participants’ existing commitments.
A staggered production schedule, which will include: up to eight weeks of pre-production, a 4/5 day shoot (staggered schedule for all six projects), and up to twelve weeks of post-production for each of the six teams.
Bursary support and travel grants are available for participants who may require financial assistance to take part. This is separate and additional to each film’s £25,000 production budget.
The input of experienced executives, who will enrich and support the development and post-production process.
Teams can consist of a single writer director, or a writer and director pair who have come together for this project.
You may attach other team members/collaborators to your application if you wish. For example a Composer or Production Designer, although this is not necessary at the point of application.
The films will be line-produced by production personnel appointed by the NFTS however if you wish to attach a creative producer to the project you are welcome to do so.
Projects submitted must be achievable within the permitted budget.
Projects will be considered and assessed against the BFI’s diversity standards. To achieve the standards, projects must demonstrate commitment to inclusion and meet the below criteria in at least two of the following areas:
On-screen representation, themes and narratives
Creative leadership and project team
Industry access and opportunities
You can read more about the standards here: bfi.org.uk/inclusion-film-industry/bfi-diversity-standards
September 2022 – Launch for applications
November 2022 – Application Deadline
December 2022 – In person Interviews and Participants Selected
January - March 2023 – Programme begins and Professional Development Seminars
April 2023 – Pre-Production
May to June 2023 – Principal Photography
July, August and September 2023 – Post Production
October 2023 – Deliver Films and Showcase
In order to qualify for Star Imagine UK, applicants must meet the following criteria:
Either the writer or director must be from an underrepresented background;
The writer and director must be resident in the UK;
The writer and director must be at least twenty-one years of age as of 1 January 2023;
The writer and director must have completed at least three short film projects. This is not an entry level opportunity, we are looking to work with filmmakers with some experience who are ready to take the next step; and
The writer and director must be available to participate in the programme from January 2023.
You are NOT eligible to apply if either the writer or director have done any of the following:
Written or directed a theatrically-distributed, scripted, non-documentary feature film; or
Written or directed one or more scripted, non-documentary episodes of a television, or premium streaming series.
For further information please visit the FAQs.
Please note: Applications are now closed for 2023.
To apply, please send the following six elements (in one email) to firstname.lastname@example.org:
A one page CV detailing your professional work, education and filmography. If you are applying as a writer/director team then please submit a CV for each member, and a short statement about how you have come together to work on this project.
A directing sample of up to twenty minutes in length total, and not less than five minutes, that showcases your unique tone and cinematic style. This sample can be from any genre and does not need to align with the creative brief. The sample must be a scripted, live action, narrative work with dialogue. Please provide the samples via YouTube or Vimeo links with a password that is active until at least December 31, 2022.
An original, narrative script for a short film you would like to make as part of Star Imagine UK which meets the brief, with no fewer than eight and no more than fifteen pages in length. All scripts must be submitted via PDF in a format consistent with industry standard. There will be room to develop these scripts as a part of the programme, so we don’t expect you to submit fully polished scripts. First drafts that give a good sense of the tone and ambition of the story will be acceptable.
A treatment / director’s statement relating to the submitted script (max 5 pages)
A completed Submission Agreement and Release, downloadable as word doc here, which includes the Star Imagine UK shorts Incubator Requirements to be agreed to prior to submission of your application. Please send us a signed copy of this agreement together with your application. We are unable to review any application submitted without a signed agreement.
A completed Equality Monitoring Form (your responses to questions on this form will not be used in the selection process).
There is no need to include a budget at this stage, but your idea must be achievable within the budget, including 10% for contingency. Equipment provided by the NFTS will include camera (Alexa Mini or Sony Venice) and location sound and lighting kit. Facilities provided will include access to dubbing theatres, grading suites and online editing.
After applications close on the 6th November the selection process will take place as follows:
A panel from the National Film and Television School will read all eligible applications and watch all submitted material by the end of November. Star will not read or have access to any submissions at this stage.
We will be looking for applicants who are at the appropriate stage in their filmmaking careers to benefit from this opportunity, whose work shows real promise and whose submitted idea meets the brief and excites the panel.
The NFTS panel will short list 12 teams for interview.
12 applicants will be shortlisted to attend an interview to discuss their application with both the NFTS and Star. You will be notified by Friday 2nd December 2022 if you have progressed to this stage.
Stage 2 interviews will take place on the 12th and/or 13th December. You will be informed shortly after if you have been selected.
Bursaries are available to help those in need of financial support to meet the out of pocket expenses of attending the interview.
- When is the closing date for applications?
Sunday 6th November 2022
- The website says you welcome applications from under-represented groups. What does that mean?
NFTS believes there are groups (as defined in the Equality Act 2010) that are under-represented in the film and television industry. The following are the areas of under-representation we are seeking to address under the Equality Act 2010:
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
In addition to the protected characteristics recognised by the Equality Act 2010, the NFTS also seeks to address under-representation in the following areas:
- Regional participation
- Socio-economic inclusion
- Caring responsibilities
- If applying as a writer and director team of two do both team members need to come from under-represented backgrounds?
- No. But at least one of the two team members must come from an under-represented background
- What happens if I apply after the deadline has closed?
- Your application will not be considered
- Can I continue with my existing employment and participate in Star Imagine UK?
Yes, however, this is a rigorous program and the following commitment is required:
- Directors - Must participate in ALL of the required activities, no exceptions. You must be available to work on a full time, first priority basis on this project during the final stages of pre-production and the period of principal photography, some of which will take place Monday through Friday.
- Writers - The commitment for writers, though important, is less demanding, allowing for the rentention of unrelated full-time employment.
- Can I apply if I am outside the UK?
- No, you must be living in the United Kingdom to apply.
- Will the NFTS/Star pay my travel, housing and transportation costs during the programme?
- No, the NFTS/Star will not provide travel, housing and transportation arrangements during the programme. However it is possible to participate in the programme from anywhere in the UK. Bursary support and travel grants are available for participants who may require financial assistance to take part.
- Who owns the film once produced?
- The rights in the films will be retained by the filmmakers. However, Star will have a licence of these rights and the first opportunity over any further productions related to the film made as part of the programme.