Bridging the Gap returns to encourage emerging documentary talent

Today the Scottish Documentary Institute launches the 18th edition of Bridging the Gap, a talent initiative offering in-depth support, a cash budget, and international distribution to emerging filmmakers based in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Filmmakers are being asked to respond to the theme of MOBILE, challenging applicants to define and redefine mobile through ideas, characters and stories. It is hoped that filmmakers will surprise judges with submissions that embrace the scope of the theme and subvert expectations in terms of form and content.

A mobile of differently sized wooden puppet figures dangle against the backdrop of a white wall. There is a shadow of the figures on the wall, and the word, 'MOBILE' is emblazoned on the image

The initiative aims to bridge the gap between training/graduation and a first commission by offering filmmakers the opportunity to work closely with SDI, with judges particularly interested in filmmakers from diverse and under-represented backgrounds.

Up to 12 ideas will be short-listed on the basis of the proposal and supporting visual materials. The projects will be developed and honed further through workshops run online by international filmmakers and leading industry professionals. The 12 filmmakers will then pitch to a panel of experts, who will commission up to five films; four from Scotland-based filmmakers and one from Northern Ireland.

As well as a cash budget of up to £8,000 (plus in-kind production and distribution support) the selected filmmakers will receive further training and mentoring over six months to create vibrant contemporary stories. The films will be delivered by May 2021 and are intended for distribution in cinemas and at festivals.

Noé Mendelle, Director of Scottish Documentary Institute, says: “It feels appropriate having spent a few months of enforced immobility that we should look for characters and stories who share new ways of perceiving their world and understanding the value of movement. We can no longer take it for granted, so let’s give voice to people whose mobility is restrained - be it physically, economically, politically or by their identity.”

This year’s initiative follows BAFTA Scotland success in 2019 for Glasgow-based filmmakers Hannah Currie and Beth Allan, whose Bridging the Gap short, That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore, won the award for Best Short Film last November.

Full information and guidelines are available from the SDI website: Applications close at noon on Friday 25 September.

Bridging the Gap is supported by Screen Scotland and University of Edinburgh / Edinburgh College of Art.