Film Routes Supporting filmmakers with disabilities to access film funding

An innovative new programme to make funding more accessible and the North’s filmmaking communities more inclusive.

On 14 November, Screen International announced the launch of Film Routes: a new programme from Film Hub North, BFI NETWORK and Beacon Films that will support creative people with disabilities to develop a five-minute short film and apply for funding to get it made. We’re thrilled to start working on Film Routes and are looking forward to collaborating with new talent from across the North through the programme.

Made possible thanks to National Lottery funding from the BFI, Film Routes will assist up to three filmmakers to develop short film ideas into full scripts through a series of supported workshops run by Beacon Films, a Newcastle-based award-winning production company of filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs. After completing their scripts, the filmmakers will be matched with a producer who will apply for BFI NETWORK Short Film funding to make the films.

Film Routes is an exciting new approach to addressing under-representation of people with disabilities in the screen industries. It recognises that filmmakers can be excluded from accessing funding by existing application processes and proposes a model of how funders, artists and industry partners can work together to address some of the barriers disabled talent currently face.

The programme reflects Film Hub North, BFI NETWORK and Beacon Films’ shared commitment to developing early career filmmakers in the North of England and fostering an inclusive filmmaking community where distinctive voices are given room to experiment with new ideas, stories and forms.

It is through the creative sectors that society reflects and understands itself. If disabled people aren't in that reflection - as both creators and performers - then it's not just disabled people who lose out. Society loses out too. This new partnership isn't just about broadening opportunity. It's also about empowering filmmakers to dismantle misconceptions of disability among both audiences and industry - not by making films "about" disability, but by being meaningfully included in the creative screen sector. Will Sadler, Development Director at Beacon Films

Get involved

Applications for Film Routes are open now for filmmakers based in the North of England. The deadline for applications is 12pm on Friday, 17 January 2020.

Filmmakers who would benefit from Film Routes can attend an Application Support Session where a Beacon Films mentor will discuss the programme and take filmmakers through the application process. Application Support Sessions take place in Newcastle on Monday, 13 January 2020 and Leeds on Wednesday, 15 January 2020.

For more information on Film Routes, how to apply and the Application Support Sessions – visit the Beacon Films website.

Find out more and apply

Film Routes adds to the existing access support in place across all applications for funding and training from the BFI, including BFI NETWORK. Full details: www.bfi.org.uk/accesssupport.