Shorts in the UK

Overview of Shorts in the UK

2016 started with an Academy Award: a much deserved win in the Live Action category for Stutterer directed by Benjamin Cleary and produced by Serena Armitage. Later in the year, the Silver Bear for Best Short at Berlinale was awarded to A Man Returned directed by Mahdi Fleifel and produced by Patrick Campbell, and the London Film School graduation short of Tehran-born Hamid Ahmadi, In the Hills, took the Cinefondation Selection Second Prize at Cannes.

The plurality of voices and perspectives displayed by these three shorts was reflected in the recent BAFTA 2017 short film nominations, which takes us from the streets of London (Charlotte Reagan’s Standby) and Belfast (Andrea Harkin’s The Party) to the burning coalfields of Jharia, India (Samir Mehanovic’s Mouth of Hell) through to the mines and ports of Chinese production (Richard John Seymour’s Consumed). The nominations also include Daniel Mulloy’s provocative take on the refugee crisis, Home, and Jennifer Zheng’s animated study of cultural misunderstanding between a British born daughter and her Chinese mother, Tough.

In February 2017, three UK productions have been nominated for an Academy Award. Up for Best Documentary Short is Orlando von Einsiedel’s The White Helmets, and Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis’s Watani: My Homeland. Additionally, a Canada/UK co-production from UK-based production company Passion Pictures, Pear Cider and Cigarettes, competes for Best Short Animation.

Our screen agencies and film schools continue to nurture the UK’s new and emerging talent, and our flagship short film festivals have had a great year of showcasing the results. You can find out more about their work this year on their separate pages.

The British Council continues to support short filmmakers to travel internationally through its Shorts Support Scheme and Travel Grant Fund, which it runs in partnership with the BFI. In 2017, it will continue to offer the British Council UK Shorts Portal, a dedicated online platform that promotes the best new UK work to the international film community.

British Council also supports Euro Connection, the annual European co-production forum that takes place at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. The UK’s nominated project for 2017 is I’m OK, an animated short from Elizabeth Hobbs to be produced by Katie Abigail Addison from Animate Projects.


The British Council film department manages the We Are UK Film stand at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Market. The stand will be open from the 6th – 10th February and the following UK organisations will be attending: Film London, Ffilm Cymru Wales, the London Film School, Encounters Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Oska Bright Film Festival, Northern Ireland Screen, Creative England, Scottish Film & Talent Network, Scottish Documentary Institute, and ShortsTV.

9 UK short films have been selected to screen in competition at this year’s festival. They are:


The Alan Dimension dir. Jac Clinch

Home dir. Daniel Mulloy

In the Grass dir. Rory Stewart

The Nest dir. Jamie Jones

Squirrel Island dir. Astrid Goldsmith


Johnno's Dead dir. Chris Shepherd

Sit and Watch dir. Matthew Barton & Francisco Forbes

This Far Up dir. Ewan Jones Morris

Thought Broadcasting dir. Nick Jordan

In addition, a number of other British projects have been selected for:


Beautiful People dir. Michal Marczak

I Won't Complain dir. Craig McDean, Masha Vasyukova

Mr Selfie dir. Alexander Georges

The Spoils dir. John Hillcoat


A Sense of History (1992) dir. Mike Leigh

Fishwitch (2016) dir. Adrienne Dowling

Leidi (2014) dir. Simón Mesa Soto

Litterbugs (2016) dir. Peter Stanley-Ward

Lucky Chicken (2016) dir. Gulliver Moore

Magnificent Lion Boy (2013) dir. Ana Caro

Obvious Child (2013) dir. Stephen Irwin

Perched (2016) dir. Liam Harris

Relaxatron 5000 (2016) dir. Andrew Harris

Aesthetica Short Film Festival

ASFF by Jim Poyner

The  Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF), a BAFTA recognised event, is a celebration of independent short film from around the world, and an outlet for supporting and championing short filmmaking. ASFF is hosted by the international art and culture publication Aesthetica Magazine.

The film festival takes place annually in York, UK, at the beginning of November and the programme includes film screenings, guest showcases, masterclasses, hosted networking sessions and panel discussions. There were 21,000 admissions in the previous edition.

Films screened at the festival are also eligible to enter the BAFTA British Short Film and Animation Awards. Further prizes include awards for Best of Fest, People’s Choice and Best of Category, plus screenings at other film festivals and events as part of the ASFF Film Tour.

ASFF presents many opportunities for filmmakers to connect with industry, and welcomes some of the film world’s most talented professionals to give advice on making it in film. Masterclass speakers include representatives from Association of Camera Operators, Rankin Film, Ridley Scott Associates, Channel 4, BBC and many more.

The Meet the Film Festivals event offers the opportunity to speak with festival programmers from around the world and find out exactly what they are looking for. The networking sessions give visitors a chance to interact with representatives from a range of leading film organisations to keep up to date with current trends and opportunities. There is also a videotheque which delegates can view the entire festival. ASFF also has a significant number of networking opportunities.


We Love Mosesdir. Dionne Edwards

NET.WORK is a UK-wide talent development initiative that gives bespoke support to new writers, directors and producers on the way to making their first feature.

NET.WORK brings together Creative England, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film London, Northern Ireland Screen and the Scottish Film Talent Network - with backing from the BFI.

Every year NET.WORK invests £3 million of National Lottery funding into new and emerging filmmakers. This includes support for professional development schemes, short film funding, feature film development funding and more.

British Council

Dear Mr Shakespearedir. Shola Amoo

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. It creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide.

The British Council film department is the link between UK films and filmmakers and new international audiences. Together with the British Council’s global network overseas (7000 staff in over 100 countries and international collaborators) we work to profile the innovation, diversity, creativity and excellence of British films around the world and work to find opportunities for creative exchange between UK filmmakers and international counterparts.

We support short films and filmmakers through our Shorts Support Scheme and Travel Grant Fund which we run in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI). The fund supports filmmakers whose work has been selected at premier world festivals to travel to those events and present their work. Since 2014 we also run the UK shorts portal, an online screening platform designed to showcase the best new work from across the UK, exclusively for short film professionals.

The British Council film department is the lead partner for the UK stand at Clermont-Ferrand’s short film market every year, in partnership with the BFI and under the banner of We Are UK Film.

Creative England

The Knockdir. Philip Stevens

Creative England invests in and supports creative ideas, talent and businesses in film, TV, games and digital media.

Creative England Film provides comprehensive support to filmmakers from across England. Whether you are a writer, director or producer looking to progress to first feature, an established producer looking for production finance or an ambitious film business looking to grow and innovate, Creative England Film can provide the necessary funding and bespoke support.

Everything that Creative England does do is motivated by a desire to support the brightest and best, whatever their background, experience or stage of development.

We have two separate schemes for short filmmakers.  iShorts is aimed at new filmmaking talent based outside of Greater London and finances around 20 films with budgets of £5,000 each, as well as providing professional mentoring and bespoke training. The emerging talent scheme can award up to £50,000 to support the production of shorts from writer/directors and directors who have written or have a formal attachment to a feature film that is at first draft or beyond.

The intention is that both iShorts and the emerging talent scheme will constitute a creatively and professionally relevant calling card for a first feature.

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The longest continually running film festival in the world, EIFF is now preparing its 71st edition. Over the years, the Festival has continued to bring UK audiences ground-breaking and exciting films from around the world. EIFF seeks to represent the most innovative and adventurous developments in world cinema, to bring worthy filmmakers to local and worldwide attention, and to provide a forum for appreciative and informed discussion of their work.

A pioneer of short film, the Festival screens fiction, documentary, animation and experimental works that suffuse originality, ambition and aesthetic innovation.

EIFF seeks the new generation of strong cinematic voices that explore individual and collective stories, narratives, threads and vital and exciting ideas through their work. Short films that make us think and feel differently; proffering layers of interpretation and insight, original perspectives and pursuing techniques of interrogation of themes and issues both familiar and uncommon.

The 71st Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 21 June – 2 July 2017. Full details on EIFF 2017 can be found at

EIFF Submissions are now open. The deadlines are:

Earlybird – Wednesday 14 December 2016
Regular – Wednesday 18 January 2017 
Late – Wednesday 15 February 2017

For further details and information on how to submit your film visit

EIFF is also committed to providing support for the film industry through its diverse industry programme. Each year the Festival welcomes over 1,400 industry delegates, filmmakers and members of the press. Come and take-part in our range of specially curated industry events and network with professionals from across the industry. These all run alongside a series of talent development initiatives designed to support the best emerging talent from across the UK.

Full details about EIFF’s industry and talent development work can be found on the Festival’s website –

To keep up to date with EIFF, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival

Credit: Jon Craig Photography

Encounters Festival is the UK’s leading short film and animation festival. The festival discovers, supports and develops new talent in filmmaking, providing a platform and meeting place for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world.

Encounters Festival presents one of the leading International Competitions for short film and animation, and is also a gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards: The Oscars®, BAFTAs, European Film Awards and Cartoon d’Or.

Connecting industry and audiences, the festival celebrates the creativity, diversity and impact of short film.

The 23rd Encounters Festival in 2017 will present an annual International Competition showcasing the best new short film from around the world, alongside an intensive 3 day industry programme featuring masterclasses, panel discussions, talks and workshops with leading figures from the film and animation industries.

There will be unmissable evening and weekend screenings where audiences can watch the best new short films from the hottest new talent, and plenty of music, parties, receptions and opportunities to network with the industry.

19 – 24 September 2017
Bristol, UK

Ffilm Cymru Wales

This Far Updir. Ewan Jones Morris

The BFI NET.WORK Wales Beacons short film scheme shines a light on outstanding film talent from Wales, drawing attention to writers, directors and producers, and helping them establish their credentials for feature production. The shorts showcase unique and diverse voices, original storytelling, visual flair, and production values befitting the big screen.

Awards range between £5,000 - £15,000, with producers able to raise further finance through crowd funding or third party deals.

In the past three years BFI NET.WORK Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales have supported 24 short films through their Beacons, Horizons and Straeon Iris strands. Additional funding was also secured through partner organisations Edicis, Western Edge Pictures, The Iris Prize LGBT Festival, and Welsh-language broadcaster S4C.

Many of these shorts have gone on to be selected for festivals such as Encounters, Edinburgh, London Short Film Festival, Aesthetica and Clermont Ferrand, as well as helping filmmakers secure development and production finance for feature projects.

Twitter / Instagram: @FfilmCymruWales
Twitter / Facebook: @BFINETWORKWales

Film London

We Love Mosesdir. Dionne Walker

From shorts to features, Film London supports the UK capital’s most exciting new and emerging talent. We have commissioned and produced Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning short films, and our short film scheme London Calling produces some 20 films a year

Running within London Calling is London Calling Plus, a scheme specifically geared towards filmmakers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. The scheme was launched in 2013 to address imbalances in the industry and help ensure the voices we support are as diverse and representative as the city itself.

To date, the schemes have supported more than 200 short films, many of which have been selected at international festivals including Cannes, Clermont Ferrand and Sundance, with others going on to win prizes at Berlin, SXSW, Warsaw, Aspen, and Flickerfest. As well as funding, expert training and an invaluable industry platform, both schemes have also helped our filmmakers to secure further industry opportunities, from television work through to feature production.

Glasgow Short Film Festival

Photograph by Eoin Carey

Glasgow Short Film Festival is Scotland’s flagship short film event, the largest annual showcase of emerging Scottish film talent and a key meeting point for local and international filmmakers and their audience. We believe that international collaboration is vital for Scottish filmmakers. GSFF not only advocates the importance of short film in progressing future generations of filmmakers, but provides the meeting-place where collaboration can begin.

Drawn from over 1,600 submissions, approximately 30 international titles compete for the Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film, whilst 20 Scottish films compete for the Scottish Short Film Award, sponsored by Blazing Griffin. Both these programmes have associated Audience Awards. Alongside the competition programmes, GSFF presents panel discussions, workshops, filmmaker retrospectives, parties and live performances.

GSFF seeks opportunities to screen Scottish short film internationally, and in recent years has taken programmes to Croatia, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, South Korea and Switzerland. GSFF is a member festival of the Short Film Conference and of the Euroshort festival network, alongside Avanca, BuSho, FEC, Filmhafizasi, In the Palace, Sedicicorto, Tabor and Wiz-Art Film Festivals.

The 10th GSFF runs 15-19 March 2017.

The London Film School

Zairedir. Joshua Benson

The London Film School (LFS) is internationally celebrated for its commitment to film, craft excellence, innovation and creative freedom. We are recognised by Creative Skillset as a Centre of Excellence Film Academy. 

Currently located in Covent Garden LFS is the oldest film school in the UK.  Deeply connected to local and international screen industries, we have an alumni spanning the globe, and working in every part of the film industry.  Our students and alumni have won every major award in the screen industries, and we continue to foster and nurture the next generation of filmmakers. During 2016, films created at the school had around 200 festival entries, winning over 30 prizes. The list spanned Cannes, Venice, Tribeca, Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival, The BFI London Film Festival, Edinburgh, Encounters, Oscars, and Sundance.

With around 220 full-time students, from over 30 countries, we are a dynamic hub for high quality film making activity, preparing creative storytellers for the world’s screen industries. We offer 3 full-time MA programmes, a Ph.D. Film by Practice, and a full calendar of short courses.

LFS graduates are established in film and television production in more than eighty countries and include world-renowned filmmakers like Mike Leigh, Michael Mann, Duncan Jones, Tak Fujimoto, Roger Pratt, Ueli Steiger, Iain Smith, Danny Huston, Brad Anderson, Ann Hui and Marius Holst. The school is one of three Creative Skillset Film Academies; postgraduate institutions approved by the UK film industry as Centres of Excellence.

The school is committed to collaborative practice-based learning and produces up to 180 films every year. The result is a dynamic and intensive film environment which creates global networks for life. 

As the school turns 60 in 2017, and with a planned move to a new home, LFS is on the verge of a new chapter in its history.

The London Film School is a non-profit educational charity with Mike Leigh OBE as its Chairman of the Board and Jane Roscoe as its Director.

London Short Film Festival

Johanna Brooks & Philip Ilson(Festival Director / Artistic Director)

The London Short Film Festival, now in its 15th year, has been recognised as the premiere UK showcase for cutting-edge UK independent film, while now accepting international submissions.

Renowned for daring cross-arts programming, we have showcased the very best of the country’s raw talent for 14 years. The London Short Film Festival is a Mecca for the UK’s young creative talent and a significant date in the UK film calendar.

Every year the Festival’s large and loyal audience flock to screenings and events, and this network has grown steadily over decade and beyond.


The Bigger Picture, dir. Daisy Jacobs National Film and Television School

The National Film and Television School is one of the top film, television and new media schools in the world as evidenced by the Observer Newspaper describing the NFTS as the 'The Best Film School in the World'. A Creative Skillset Film Academy, the NFTS is the UK’s leading centre for postgraduate and professional training in film and television, offering full-time MA and diploma courses in all the key film and television disciplines. Based in Beaconsfield, just outside London, the NFTS has its own purpose-built studios, including two film stages, a separate large television studio, and post-production facilities rivalling those of many professional companies. NFTS students learn from some of the most accomplished people working in film and TV today. Taking on their future professional roles from the outset, they learn their craft by making films and TV programmes, working to professional standards as closely as they can. The NFTS has launched the careers of hundreds of people working in UK film and television today. From the people who originate the ideas, through those who commission them, to the film and TV programme-makers who put them on our screens, NFTS alumni are among the most sought-after creative and technical personnel in the Industry.

Northern Ireland Screen

The Climbdir. Lynne Davison

Northern Ireland Screen is the government-backed lead agency in Northern Ireland for the film, television and digital content industry, with a mission to accelerate the development of a dynamic and sustainable screen industry and culture in Northern Ireland.

Strategic intervention is through development and production funding; free information and production support including FAM trips; financial assistance for training and skills development; investment in film education, heritage and archive, film festivals and cultural cinema.

The region has a strong crew base, stunning locations and excellent facilities including the newly built Belfast Harbour Studios, Titanic Studios, the Britvic Facility and additional diverse build space.

Northern Ireland Screen recognises the importance of a thriving short film community to the wider screen industries in Northern Ireland and the agency invests in the talent of the future through short film development schemes and production funding for short films, giving emerging film-makers an opportunity to showcase their talent.

Many of Northern Ireland’s creative talents have come through various Northern Ireland Screen short film schemes over the years, while their short films continue to garner accolades and awards from festivals worldwide.

Oska Bright Film Festival

Kairoby Station 17

Oska Bright Film Festival was founded in 2004 by a group of learning disabled film-makers frustrated at having nowhere to show their work. Now in its 8th edition, it is the largest and most influential festival of its kind in the world, helping the development of learning disabled film-makers in Australia, Canada, France, Czech Republic and Ireland.

It takes place every two years, and tours the UK and abroad in non-festival years sharing award winning films and features, running workshops and hosting seminars at about 30 venues. Planned, managed and delivered by a team of learning disabled people, Oska Bright is committed to raising standards within the sector, improving access for learning disabled film-makers and increasing distribution of their films.

We’ve partnered with London Short Film Festival, Bristol Encounters, Glasgow Short Film festival, Tate Modern, Unlimited Festival, Brighton Photo Biennial and HOUSE visual arts festival.

The next festival takes place in Brighton on 15, 16 and 17 November 2017. It is open now for submission of short films made by or featuring learning disabled people. We expect to screen around 60 films, with digital art, music videos, VR and workshops over three days of inclusive and creative activity. The 2015 Festival awards were given by Adult Swim, Warner Brothers, Creative Skillset, BFI, Arts Council England and Andrea Arnold, OBE to 18 learning disabled winners.

Oska Bright is produced by Carousel and JunkTV. Carousel is an arts charity that enables learning disabled people to achieve their creative ambitions. Based in Brighton for over thirty years, it produces learning disability-led film, music, digital art and performance. JunkTV is a youth and community film production and screening company.

Supported by Arts Council England, Brighton and Hove City Council and the BFI.

Royal College of Art

The Whale in the Room by Tara Mercedes Wood Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art is a wholly postgraduate art and design university based in central London. The RCA provides a number of innovative routes for students wishing to pursue the study of moving image. The School of Communication offers two programmes: Animation and Interactive Experience Design that both explore the possibilities of moving image. The School of Fine Art offers Moving Image and Performance routes for students wishing to pursue the study of moving image in a fine art context.

The Animation programme is led by Dr Birgitta Hosea and is regarded as one of the best in the world. Work by students and graduates are screened worldwide in a number of contexts, winning many international and professional awards including an Oscar, many BAFTAs and Jerwood Awards. The programme offers two pathways: Experimental and Animated Documentary. Students are encouraged to develop their own distinctive voices as filmmakers and can develop narrative, non-narrative, documentary and cross-platform work. It has developed an innovative approach to visual writing through which students develop and extend their ideas and imagination.

Scottish Documentary Institute

Mining Poems or Odes, dir. Fraser Rice Scottish Documentary Institute

Established in 2004 by Noe Mendelle to nurture documentary filmmakers and audiences in Scotland and beyond, SDI specialises in documentary training, production and distribution, supporting filmmakers through its diverse programme of international activities and high quality training programmes.

Based at the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, SDI has produced over a hundred films, screening in sixty countries worldwide, garnering international recognition as being at the cutting edge of the documentary sector. Bridging art and industry, SDI is committed to supporting authored films driven by content and emotional experience.

For the past 14 years SDI has ran one of the leading documentary new talent initiatives in the UK, Bridging the Gap. After intensive training up to seven 10-minute documentary projects are commissioned annually and the films produced to date have enabled the filmmakers to take successful first steps in the industry; receiving festival awards, BAFTAs, special mentions, as well as screenings at festivals in over 60 countries world-wide.

Scottish Film Talent Network

CREELINGdir. Sam Firth

The Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN) offers new and emerging filmmakers significant support for individual film projects and professional development.

SFTN connects with new and emerging Scottish talent - from new entrants through to first-time feature filmmakers by providing tailored support which best suits individual requirements alongside wider funding schemes, short film commissions and personal skills development.

This initiative is the first to bring together industry practitioners in film development, production, finance, distribution, exhibition and festivals to pass on their expertise through comprehensive hands-on development opportunities.

The Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN), backed by Creative Scotland, the BFI and Creative Skillset, forms the Scottish element of the BFI NET.WORK, designed to develop and support film talent from across the UK. SFTN is a consortium made up of the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), DigiCult and Hopscotch Films.


Midnight of My Life, dir. Philip Davis ShortsTV

ShortsTV is the global home to short film, where short stories come to life in stunning high definition. Available across the USA and Europe, the channel brings audiences captivating contemporary short form content from filmmakers across six continents. Following unprecedented growth in the demand for short films, it is now available to 40 million homes and is successfully entertaining over 11 million subscribers. ShortsTV is a world-leading short film media group, designed with movie enthusiasts and experimental ‘lean forward’ viewers in mind. Combining cutting edge short films with new spectacular HD technology, audiences of all ages can expand their viewing pleasure from the comforts of their own home, or on the move through mobile devices. ShortsTV obtains only high quality live action, animation, and documentary movies from the world’s most famous film festivals and independent suppliers. Through the acquisition of these films, the channel offers professional short filmmakers an unparalleled commercial medium to develop their careers.

ShortsTV is owned and operated by Shorts International Ltd, headquartered in London with its US head office in Los Angeles. Since 2006, Shorts International has produced the OSCAR® Nominated Short Film theatrical release, distributing it to cinemas across North America and Europe with its special global media partners. In 2008, Shorts International became one of the earliest iTunes movie partners, bringing hundreds of the world’s best independent shorts to the iTunes audience, years before the iTunes Movie Store launched. The films are now available in 54 countries worldwide.