Today Creative England launches the sixth round of iFeatures, the UK’s leading development lab for debut feature filmmakers. iFeatures backs directors, writers and producers making their first feature. It aims to foster the highest quality debuts from the most outstanding, daring and distinctive storytellers in the UK, and support exceptional new talent.
The iFeatures programme provides selected filmmakers with the tools and the support to experiment, develop their voice, and create contemporary films that speak to a world audience. In addition to providing development funding, each selected team will take part in an intensive, exploratory Lab programme which will include dedicated support, access to industry and networks, as well as mentoring and high-level training with established industry professionals.
Acclaimed iFeatures productions have recently included Lady Macbeth, Apostasy and The Levelling, while a range of impactful debuts have been intensively developed through the programme, including God’s Own Country, Perfect 10, Make Up, Adult Life Skills and Pin Cushion. Applications open today and up to 12 projects will be selected.
Original stories, a powerful sense of place and distinctive filmmaking voices are paramount in the selection of projects.
In 2018, more than half of the projects selected were helmed by female directors, with over 20% of individuals identifying as BAME, and four projects featuring talent based in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Projects have featured a rich mix of regional and national identity from bold and diverse voices, with story settings across the UK, from Belfast, Glasgow and Port Talbot to Dartmoor, Canvey Island and the Lake District. Stories have ranged from folk horror, romantic comedy and uncanny thriller, to dramas inspired by true stories, recent histories and places not yet seen on the big screen.
Paul Ashton, Head of Film at Creative England said, “UK debuts have been enjoying a golden time – not just critical, festival and award acclaim, but films that manage the seemingly impossible by breaking out to a hungry audience with great theatrical runs, home and abroad. These are not just good debuts – they are great films, full stop, that punch well above their budgetary weight. These films happen because of a committed investment in talent, voices, skills and relationships through collaboration with our partners. iFeatures exists to provide a career-changing experience that is both rigorous and supportive, challenging yet welcoming, where quality, ambition and risk are the benchmarks for success, and where filmmakers find sustenance being part of a group that are going on a journey together.”
Eva Yates, Commissioning Executive at BBC Films said: “The excellence and boldness of projects we’ve seen develop through the iFeatures labs over the past year have been a brilliant indicator of the sheer wealth of talent emerging in the UK. As these prepare to go out to market, we are really excited to partner again on this fantastic opportunity for new filmmakers to explore their best work in a supported environment.”
Mary Burke, Senior Development and Production Executive for the BFI said: “Supporting new talent with singular voices is one of our top priorities, and iFeatures has proven itself a vital channel and resource for filmmakers and industry. In this round, we’ll continue to provide script development support to the selected projects, while also aligning iFeatures more closely with Jessica Loveland and the BFI NETWORK team, our National Lottery-funded programme for professional development for emerging talent across the UK.”
Gareth Ellis-Unwin, Head of Film and Animation, ScreenSkills said: “We continue to support iFeatures with contributions from industry to the ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund because it has a strong track record of nurturing new voices in film-making and telling stories from across the UK. Many of the productions that are developed in turn provide opportunities to other new talents in craft and tech through our Trainee Finder trainee placement programme. We look forward to seeing what projects are selected to follow in the path of successes such as Lady Macbeth and Apostasy.”
For further information and to apply click here.