The BFI Granted Filmmakers $1.2 Million To Develop And Produce 15 Animated Shorts

The British Film Institute (BFI) is granting £922,406 (USD$1.2 million) to 15 recipients for the development and production of animation short films. The money comes from the BFI’s new Short Form Animation Fund that we wrote about last year.

The nine projects selected for production funding will receive anywhere between £30,000–£120,000 ($36,000–$146,000), while the six projects chosen for development were awarded up to £10k apiece.

The money for the fund comes from the National Lottery, which is an important source of arts funding in the U.K. Around £30m is raised weekly by lottery players, and those funds are then distributed to thousands of community-oriented projects across the U.K. The Short Form Animation Fund was developed with the support of Animation UK, Animation Alliance UK and Helen Brunsdon, director of the British Animation Awards.

Each of the fifteen projects is narrative-driven and up to 15 minutes in length. A BFI Film Fund executive will have oversight of each project, and an animation consultant will also be assigned to each production.

“It was such a privilege to be involved in the selection process for this vital new funding scheme, which marks an exciting new chapter in Britain’s long history of quality animation production,” Jez Stewart, curator of animation at the BFI, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that we can look forward to new films by some living legends in the world of animation, and that the BFI is not only supporting award-winning animators but also providing a vital next step for some new and emerging talents.”

If you missed your change to apply for the last round of funding, the animated shorts fund will reopen for applications in early 2021. The BFI offers additional support for animation through the BFI Network, with awards of up to £15k per project available for filmmakers at the early stages of their career, as well as the Young Audiences Content Fund, a £57m three-year pilot that supports the production of content for audiences up to the age of 18 to be shown on free-to-air television and online platforms.

Here’s a list of the projects that have received production funding, followed by those that have received development funding:


Production funding

Beware of Trains

Pearly Oyster Productions Ltd, London

Writer-director: Emma Calder

Producers: Dhiraj Mahey, Harriet Titlow (assistant producer)


Beware of Trains explores today’s voyeuristic culture of fear and uncertainty. A woman with extreme anxiety is devoured by four major preoccupations – the man she met by chance on a train, her dying father, her daughter’s safety and the murder she dreams she has committed.


The Debutante

Animate Projects, Derby

Writer-director: Elizabeth Hobbs

Producer: Abigail Addison


A tribute to the courage and spirit of extraordinary British-born artist Leonora Carrington, whose short story The Debutante features a young woman who rejects the life that has been planned for her.


Diseased & Disorderly

Tyke Films Ltd, Sheffield

Writers: Andrew Kötting, Hattie Naylor

Director: Andrew Kötting in collaboration with Eden Kötting (co-creator and artist)

Producer: Rebecca Mark-Lawson

Animators: Glenn Whiting and Isabel Skinner


Neuro-diverse artist Eden Kötting’s remarkable drawings, paintings and collages are brought to life in a phantasmagorical extravaganza in which everything is possible. A world where the diseased and disorderly might one-day reign supreme.


Inner Polar Bear

Gritty Realism Productions Limited, Cardiff

Writer: Jeanette Winterson (adapted from an article by)

Director: Gerald Conn

Producer: Naomi Jones


Inner Polar Bear explores the alternative human and animal perspectives on the implications of climate change using innovative sand animation to convey the poetic qualities of a piece of writing by acclaimed novelist Jeanette Winterson.


No Ordinary Joe

Loose Moose Productions Ltd, Plaxtol

Writer-director: Barry J C Purves

Producer-writer: Glenn Holberton


Love comes in all sizes. A poignant, surreal and funny conversation between Marion Barbara ‘Joe’ Carstairs and Lord Tod Wadley about their extraordinary life together and her love for him, a doll.


Red Shoes

GiF Production, London

Writer-director: Diyala Muir

Producer: Hayley Warren


Chaos descends upon a secluded society when a pair of shoes is mysteriously gifted to them. One young tribe member, Zindy, covets the shoes and is haunted by an ominous presence who entices her to steal them. Once on, she cannot get them off.



Amphibian Husbandry Ltd, Northumberland

Writer-director: Ainslie Henderson

Producer: Will Anderson


Three archetypal spirits explore the conflicting human drives of creativity, possessiveness and our desire for status.


Wild Summon

Sulkybunny, Bristol

Writer-directors: Karni Arieli, Saul Freed

Producers: Saul Freed, John Woolley


A natural history fantasy film following the dramatic life cycle of the salmon, from river to sea and back, while portraying the fish in human form.


Your Mountain Is Waiting

Strange Beast, London

Writer: Harriet Gillian

Director: Hannah Jacobs

Producer: Zoe Muslim


When we deny our instinctive, seemingly irrational decisions in life our world closes in and becomes smaller and smaller. What would happen if we literally stepped inside of our own gut?


Development funding


Hipster Films, London

Writer: Louisa Wood

Director: Sarah Beeby

Producer: Jo Lewis


The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

Snafu Pictures Ltd, London

Writers: Omari McCarthy, Stephen Collins

Director: Simone Giampaolo

Producers: Paul Schleicher, Laura McAlister, Dan Dixon



(Pemon) The Land of Many Waters

Apropos Productions Ltd, London

Director: Brandon Ra Pestano

Animation Director: Elmaz Ekrem

Producer: Paul DuBois


The Rumour Mill

Bridge Way Films, Hull

Writer-director: Bexie Bush

Producer: Chris Hees


The Wall Dog

High Tide Studio Ltd, Edinburgh

Writer-director: Josephine Lohoar Self

Producer: Alex Porter-Smith


Wind and the Shadow

Out of Orbit in association with Enter Yes, Belfast

Writer-director: Kris Kelly

Producers: Brian J. Falconer, Vicki Rock


Created by the BAFTA nominated Here to Fall writer-director, Kris Kelly, The Wind and the Shadow is a short animation that explores the emotional and physical impact childhood cancer and its treatment has on a 6-year-old girl and her mother.


Pictured at top: Four of the projects awarded by the Short Form Animation Fund. From left to right, “The Wall Dog,” “Shackle,” “Your Mountain Is Waiting,” and “The Rumour Mill.”


By AMID AMIDI/CartoonBrew

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