BFI's Short Form Animation Fund BFI's Short Form Animation Fund

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

In the aftermath of sexual assault, a women retreats into the garden of her mind. Searching for answers and struggling to do ’the right thing’, she realizes that she must regain her voice and find new paths to healing, before she and her garden are destroyed completely.

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

On the orderly island of ‘Here,’ all is neat, contained, standardized and importantly, beardless. Or at least until one famous day, when Dave, bald but for a single hair, finds himself assailed by a terrifying, unstoppable monster of a beard!

(Pemon) The Land of Many Waters
Apropos Productions Ltd, London
Director: Brandon Ra Pestano
Animation Director: Elmaz Ekrem
Producer: Paul DuBois

A blend of documentary film and animation exploring the mystical folklore of the indigenous Pemón people (South America) and their views on the current environmental crisis.

The Rumour Mill
Bridge Way Films, Hull
Writer-director: Bexie Bush
Producer: Chris Hees

Workers at a British garment factory attempt to solve the human race’s most pressing issue; man-made climate catastrophe as their debate is brought to life with the beauty and tactility of stop frame animation.

The Wall Dog
High Tide Studio Ltd, Edinburgh
Writer-director: Josephine Lohoar Self
Producer: Alex Porter-Smith

The Wall Dog tells the story of Dog 9 – an unfriendly yet loyal German Shepard dog who guards the deathstrip within the Berlin Wall. When Otto, a young enthusiastic dog handler joins his regiment, Dog 9 begins to question his beliefs. One fateful night things come to a head and Dog 9 must decide whether or not to abandon his loyalties.

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.”