The BFI is to invest up to £6m over three years in Doc Society as part of its National Lottery strategy.

The BFI Doc Society Fund will be opening for applications during April to June 2023. Recruitment will also start imminently for a new head of fund who will lead the fund, working closely with Sandra Whipham and Shanida Scotland, directors of Doc Society.

Funding for three years will see Doc Society build on its work as the BFI’s delegate partner for documentary since 2017, highlights from which include BIFA-winning Nothing Compares (dir. Kathryn Ferguson), BAFTA-nominated Rebellion (dirs. Elena Sánchez Bellot, Maia Kenworthy), A Bunch of Amateurs, winner of the Sheffield International Documentary Festival’s audience award; and BAFTA-winning short The Black Cop.

There will be a strong focus on deepening regional and national opportunities through the BFI Doc Society Fund to support features and Made of Truth, the short film strand, which will again form the documentary arm of BFI NETWORK.

Mia Bays, director of the BFI Film Fund, said: “Independent UK documentary filmmaking is vital to our cultural landscape. To maximise the impact of our funding we are working with a partner to bring genre-specific knowledge, expertise and an international network to help support, grow and nurture this sector. Our new strategy sets out refocused priorities for this area of work, and in Doc Society we have a fantastic partner who will not only work to deliver to them, but whose passion, genuine care and tireless belief in the power of documentary and our talented filmmakers will benefit this remarkable and tenacious sector across the whole of the UK.”

Sandra Whipham, co-director of Doc Society, said: “We are over the moon to have been given the opportunity to build on our work of the past five years with another three years of funding. At a time of rapid change and challenge, we are ready to lean in and collaborate with the documentary film sector to ensure that the best independent creative non-fiction gets made and seen by audiences in the UK and internationally.”

Shanida Scotland, co-director of Doc Society/head of film for Doc Society, said: “Over the past five years we are proud to have collaborated with a range of film teams, all of us focused on the same ambition: to craft documentaries that elevate creative documentary and to support the documentary film sector. We are thrilled to be able to continue in this collaborative effort, which allows us to bring some of the most important issues affecting the documentary film sector to the table. Thank you to the BFI for their continued and dedicated support as we work together to champion the field.”

Doc Society will develop and evolve the funding and support it will offer from April 2023 to meet the new BFI’s new National Lottery strategic priorities, and to take on learnings from the previous five years. There will be a strong focus on deepening regional and national opportunities through the BFI Doc Society Fund to support features and Made of Truth, the short film strand, which will again form the documentary arm of BFI NETWORK.

Picture: Fashion Reimagined (2022) © Nick Prendeville

 

Jon Creamer

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