Creative England, in partnership with Big Talk and Baby Cow, is making a £10,000 production award available to up to five comedy shorts by female filmmakers.
Aimed at female directors and writers/directors working in film comedy across England, iShorts+:Funny Girls provides intensive development support through a two-day comedy residential workshop in Brighton, offering access to mentors from leading film and TV comedy production companies.
This round of iShorts+ is the first in an annual series that will focus on a different brief each time.
Celine Haddad, senior film executive for talent development at Creative England, commented: “We know that there is a wealth of female filmmaking talent out there but we also know that we need to see more of this diverse talent and their projects making it onto our screens…We don’t believe the difficulties achieving this in the wider UK film landscape speaks to an inherent lack of comedic talent, so much as a lack of opportunity.
“This progressive approach to talent, from the moment of their discovery to the making of their first feature, forms an essential part of Creative England’s longer term philosophy as part of the BFI. Network – and nobody told us you couldn’t have a little fun along the way.”
Rachel Prior, producer and head of development at Big Talk Pictures, the company behind cinema releases Cuban Fury and Scott Pilgrim and TV programmes Friday Night Dinner and Him & Her, said: “Unearthing exciting new comedy voices for British film is in our DNA but can also represent the most challenging part of our work. The lack of visibility of women in this genre is particularly alarming and as female producers, we've had enough of the status quo. We believe the talent is out there and it needs nurturing and encouraging to embrace this most diverse of genres.”
Producer and co-founder of Baby Cow, responsible for Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Gavin & Stacey and The Mighty Boosh, Henry Normal, added: “At Baby Cow we believe everyone has a story to tell. The more we hear stories from new perspectives the more our enjoyment and understanding of the world is enhanced.”
Full information on the programme can be found on the Creative England site, with Friday 29 August the deadline for applications. Both the original iShorts, which offered a chance to receive a £5,000 production award, and the new iShorts+ programmes are delivered through Creative England’s Sheffield and Brighton Talent Centres as part of the BFI.Network.