iFeatures is the flagship low-budget film initiative from Creative England for emerging talent across the UK. It is made possible through National Lottery funding from the BFI and supported by BBC Films and Creative Skillset.
Applications for the 2018 scheme open on Wednesday 21 February and will close at 5pm on Wednesday 28 March.
Up to 12 projects will be selected, all of which will now benefit from a development lab for the full duration of the programme, in addition to receiving dedicated support for their route to market.
iFeatures will back directors and writers making their first features, with the ambition to foster the highest quality British debuts from the most dynamic and inventive storytellers. The programme seeks distinctive voices, bold visions and a powerful sense of place that showcases stories from across the whole of the UK.
iFeatures has proven itself to be highly successful, with previous productions such as Lady Macbeth, Apostasy and The Levelling enjoying critical acclaim and firmly establishing exceptional new talent. This has translated into awards success, with a total of four wins at the 2017 BIFAs, a European Film Award and three BAFTA nominations for Lady Macbeth, a Scottish BAFTA win for The Levelling, and Hope Dickson Leach (The Levelling) and Dan Kokotajlo (Apostasy) winning the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Lady Macbeth has also enjoyed outstanding international theatrical success for a low-budget British debut feature, earning over £3.5m.
Changes to iFeatures’ lab will ensure it better serves the needs and ambitions of the key creative roles of director, producer and writer and will target a more representative range of filmmakers. The scheme will also adhere to the BFI’s diversity targets, in place for all BFI funded activity from April 2018.
Retaining the central importance of the filmmaker’s voice and sense of meaningful place in the story, the lab ‘strands’ will be dedicated to craft, exploration and experimentation, alongside intensive project development, production preparation, market readiness, mentoring and personal development.
Following the lab, the BFI and BBC Films have both committed to supporting at least three films to production, whilst iFeatures aims to drive a higher proportion of the projects developed through the lab to a standard where they can successfully compete in the marketplace and access the full range of financing options available in the current landscape.
iFeatures will expand on its track record of championing powerful voices and original stories with a strong sense of place by supporting and representing UK-wide talent and stories. Previous features films have shone a new light on period Northumberland, rural Norfolk, farming in Somerset and Jehova’s Witnesses in the North West, while films coming soon include the first British film made in British Sign Language and female driven stories set in the unseen margins of Brighton and an off-season Cornish holiday park. Further films developed by iFeatures and produced outside the programme include multi-award winning northern films Adult Life Skills and God’s Own Country – both of which were financed by the Creative England Lottery Production Fund.
For further information and details on how to apply for visit www.ifeatures.co.uk
iFeatures began in Bristol in October 2009 when filmmaking teams across the UK were asked to submit their ideas for a feature film set in the city. Just over a year later, the first three films, In the Dark Half, Flying Blind and 8 Minutes Idle were greenlit and went on to theatrical release. iFeatures then developed into a national scheme focusing on stories from across the English regions. The second round received over 350 submission before going on to produce The Goob, Norfolk and Spaceship.
Since then it has established a reputation for identifying the best new British filmmaking talent. The third round of iFeatures developed The Levelling, Lady Macbeth and Apostasy, all of which debuted at international film festivals and have won critical acclaim for telling bold, new stories. The talent behind them has become established as some of the most exciting in British cinema.
Films currently in development from the fourth iteration of iFeatures includes psychological thriller Make Up, Brighton-based drama Perfect 10 and Retreat, a story told completely in British Sign Language.