First Features opens for applications

Short Circuit is now accepting applications for their feature film development scheme, First Features. The scheme will support Scotland-based filmmakers to take that career-defining step towards developing their debut feature.

Short Circuit is a new film talent initiative for Scotland delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Glasgow Film, and funded by The National Lottery through Screen Scotland and BFI NETWORK. The programme - running initially until the end of March 2022 - aims to support new and emerging filmmaking talent across Scotland through a combination of funding, events and training opportunities.

Short Circuit is seeking proposals for bold and compelling fiction projects (live action or animation) that have theatrical ambition and the potential to resonate with audiences globally.

First Features - which opens for applications on Thursday 12 November - will be for writing, writing/directing and producing talent from all across Scotland who have a track record in short film or other narrative-based medium, and some acclaim or industry recognition for previous work.

Applications will also be considered from established creative talent looking to make the transition to fiction from documentary or experimental film, as well as practitioners working in other mediums such as television, theatre, literature and other forms of visual and/or performing arts.

First Features will support projects from initial idea to fully polished draft. There will be two levels of awards, distinguished between early development (to treatment or first draft) and further development (second draft and beyond).

Successful applicants can expect to receive financial support towards their project along with creative/editorial support from the Short Circuit Talent Executives and Scripted team at Screen Scotland.

Gillian Berrie, Co-Director, Film City Futures, said: “Scotland already has a track record for fresh, innovative filmmaking, and we’re excited to support the next generation of Scottish talent. We’re expecting to discover some exceptional filmmakers, who will be supported by the Short Circuit team to take their projects from initial idea, up to first draft and beyond.”

Allison Gardner, CEO, Glasgow Film, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for diverse talent across Scotland to bring forth their stories and receive support to develop their ideas. We want to hear from, and support a variety of voices from across Scotland, so I urge you to bring your stories to First Features.”

Jessica Loveland, Head of BFI NETWORK, said: “We are excited to welcome fresh ideas, projects and teams from across Scotland to the First Feature development funding strand. It’s a great opportunity for Scottish talent to take the next steps on their journey towards their feature ambitions in a nurturing creative environment and with the dedicated support of the Talent Executives and wider team. We look forward to identifying and working with the next generation of Scottish feature writers and filmmaking teams.”

Isabel Davis, Executive Director at Screen Scotland, said: “There’s no greater thrill than being told a story by someone with something new and interesting to say, and that’s what we’re hoping to find in this call for first feature scripts. This programme builds on our ongoing work to strengthen development support for producers, writers, directors across Scotland.”

Information on applying

Short Circuit accepts applications for First Features on a rolling basis, meaning there is no deadline for submitting applications.

An online Q+A session will be held on Thursday 19th November with the Short Circuit Talent Executives – Alice Whittemore and Mar Vila Barcelo. During this session those interested in applying for First Features will be given the opportunity to have their questions answered and find out everything they need to know about the scheme.

You can register for the First Features Q+A Session here:

Applications should be made via the online application form on the Short Circuit website:

Partners and funders

Short Circuit is an ambitious new film talent initiative for Scotland delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Glasgow Film, and funded by Screen Scotland and BFI NETWORK, running initially until the end of March 2022. Up to 9 short films will be produced and 5 feature length scripts will be developed through the programme each year.

The partnership between Film City Futures and Glasgow Film brings together two world-class film institutions based in Scotland, combining the filmmaking expertise at Film City with Glasgow Film’s leadership in film exhibition with a strong following from young, diverse audiences. Short Circuit aims to become a key hub for emerging fiction filmmaking talent in Scotland, supporting writers, directors and producers to develop creatively and professionally, and stimulating the creative and commercial success of Scotland’s film sector.

Film City Futures’ mission is to connect people, space and opportunity, enabling access and entry to the screen industries for all. We offer industry focused programmes that are creative, challenging, and most importantly meet the needs of the screen sector in Scotland, from the engagement of new and emerging talent, to personal and business development. Projects to date include Jump Cut, a talent development initiative for 16-25 year olds; Frontrunners, an Executive Coaching programme for business leaders from television, film and related media businesses; and FOCUS, a business development initiative for screen businesses in Scotland.

Film City Futures is a not for profit organisation based at Film City Glasgow, a screen production facility which houses over 25 companies from across the Scottish production and post-production sector, which was co-founded by one of Scotland’s most successful film production companies, Sigma Films. Film City Futures is the trading name of Jump Cut Crew, a registered Scottish charity with charity number SC031842.

Glasgow Film is an educational charity which runs Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), Scotland’s original independent arthouse cinema and the home of film in Glasgow; Glasgow Film Festival (GFF), one of the UK’s leading public celebrations of cinema; and Glasgow Youth Film Festival (GYFF), a fast-growing international three-day festival co-curated by teenage film-lovers in the city. Glasgow Film is also the lead organisation for Film Hub Scotland, a membership organisation that supports more than 200 exhibitors across the country.

As one of the UK’s leading independent cinemas, GFT plays an important part in the cultural life of Glasgow, screening a wide variety of international cinema, classic films and documentaries, alongside locally made work and material aimed at a range of community groups. GFT also has a strong education programme of outreach, courses and school screenings.

GFT was awarded Accessibility Champion at the SCoD Star Awards 2016 and became the first UK cinema to scoop the Autism Friendly Award 2017. GFF was named Outstanding Festival of the Year at The Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2019. Glasgow Film Theatre is a charity registered in Scotland. No. SC005932.

Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland. Sitting within Creative Scotland, it is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success. With funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support. Find out more about us.

Made possible through National Lottery funding, BFI NETWORK exists to discover and support talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers. We collaborate with film organisations and leading cultural venues across the UK to provide funding for short films, support for the development of first features, as well as a range of professional and creative development programmes.
Find out more and watch supported work:

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million of funding has been made available to support communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times. By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.