Creative England’s iFeatures is a low budget filmmaking initiative. iFeatures is funded in partnership with the BFI and BBC. The initiative is aimed at creative talent that has some professional experience and whose work has already garnered positive industry and/ or public attention. Applicants should be able to evidence a successful track record in shorts, television/online drama, theatre, commercials, music promos, documentary, Artist Film & Video and/or other related media.
Focused originally on Bristol, the micro-budget filmmaking initiative which began life in 2009 has widened its net to a search for stories that reflect the English regions.
Even though the scope is now broader, iFeatures holds firm to its founding principles and is still hungry for low budget films that can capture a sense of place, and even time. Looking for England's most imaginative and compelling stories from its brightest filmmakers, the initiative looks to champion films which show the way we live today, with tales that will challenge, move and entertain audiences across the world.
Check out our brand new iFeatures podcast here. Over the next 8 episodes, we’re going to take a closer look at this year’s iFeatures programme, as we follow the journeys of 12 teams of emerging filmmaking talent, who successfully navigated their way through several rounds of applications, as well as pitching to a panel of industry executives who will help guide them through the entire programme, from workshop to workshop and all the road bumps in between.
We have evolved our flagship low-budget film initiative iFeatures, made possible through National Lottery funding from the BFI and supported by BBC Films; applications will open on Wednesday 21 February, for emerging talent across the UK.
Up to 12 projects will be selected, all of which will now benefit from the 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. Seeking distinctive voices, bold visions and a powerful sense of place that showcase stories from across the whole of the UK, changes to the scheme will establish it as the UK’s premier film Lab programme, driving the development of UK low-budget debut features and realising the talent of emerging UK filmmakers.
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 target a more representative range of filmmakers. The scheme will also adhere to the BFI’s recently announced 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. While 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.
Paul Ashton, Head of Film at Creative England said: “iFeatures has proven itself absolutely critical to filmmaking talent in the UK. The projects coming out of iFeatures are not just good low-budget films; they are amongst the best independent British films being made by anyone. Talent and opportunity are the beating heart of Creative England and iFeatures - and the refreshed programme will realise even more talent and opportunity for the future.”
Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund, said: “Together we are building on the energy and insight gained from a standout year for British debuts. The changes to iFeatures will mean a focus on wider access to the programme, and first-class editorial and industry support to all the participating teams throughout. We think this can generate a truly exciting variety of timely stories and investable voices”
Eva Yates, Commissioning Executive for BBC Films, said: “At BBC Films we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with the BFI and Creative England on iFeatures, redesigned as a world-class development lab which will increase the range, ambition and opportunity for new voices and low budget filmmaking in the U.K. iFeatures plays an essential role in BBC Films’ increased commitment to supporting bold debut films and the most exciting filmmakers of the future.”
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 more information visit ifeatures.co.uk
iFeatures 2018 Ambassadors
Thank you to players of the National Lottery, for helping good causes such as those within the creative industries #LotteryFunded
The latest 3 teams and projects greenlit for production,
from iFeatures 4 include: Perfect 10, Retreat and Make Up. More information on
these projects can be seen below.
A teenage gymnast finds an escape from her insecurities when her long-lost brother introduces her to an exciting world of scooter crime. A
drama delivered by Eva Riley (writer/director) and Jacob Thomas (producer).
When deaf student Graces abandons the hearing world to live in an all-deaf commune, she is forced to question the morality of the life she
has chosen - is this the utopia she’s always dreamed of, or a nightmare waiting
Brought to you by Ted Evans (writer/director), Alex Usborne (Producer) & Michelle Eastwood (Producer).
Set amongst hundreds of identical mobile homes, Make Up is a psychological thriller about a young woman who is forced to question her
sexuality when she is stalked by another woman. Developed by Claire Oakley
(writer/director) & Emily Morgan (producer).
The third round of iFeatures resulted in: Lady Macbeth, Apostasy and The Levelling being chosen for the production slate for 2015. Both
Lady Macbeth and The Levelling premiered at Toronto International Film
Festival. Apostasy will have its premier there in September 2017.
Lady Macbeth is a thrilling 19th Century tragedy. Trapped in a loveless marriage of convenience, a young woman fights to protect a fierce
and irrepressible new passion.
Lady Macbeth had its world premiere at Toronto
International Film Festival in September 2016, screening in the Platform
With its European premiere at San Sabastian Film
Festival in September 2016, screening in the official selection competition. It
picked up the Fipresci Film Critics Award at the festival.
The UK premiere was at the London Film Festival
in October 2016, screening in the 1st feature competition.
A faithful Jehovah's Witness is forced to shun her own sister because of a religious transgression. As the separation draws out, she
starts to question the meaning of God's love.
Written & directed by Dan Kokotajlo, written by
Charlotte Wise, produced by Marcie MacLellan, produced by Andrea Cornwell,
When a young Somerset farmer shoots himself his sister
Clover sets out to understand what may have driven him to this, and in doing so
is forced to confront her own role in the tragedy.
The Levelling had it’s World Premiere at Toronto
International Film Festival 2016 as part of the festival's Discovery section.
With the UK premiere held at the London Film
Festival in October 2016, screening in the 1st feature competition.
Round 2 of iFeatures saw: The Goob, Norfolk and Spaceship
reaching the production slate. With all 3 films premiering and screening at
various festivals, including: Venice Days Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival and
Goob Taylor has spent each of his sixteen summers helping Mum run the transport cafe and harvest the surrounding pumpkin fields. When Mum
shacks up with swarthy stock-car driving supremo and ladies’ man Gene Womack,
Goob becomes an unwelcome side thought.
The Goob had it's World Premiere at Venice Days
Festival in August 2014, with its UK premiere at the 1st Feature Competition at
The BFI London Film Festival in October 2014.
Guy Myhill was nominated for Best British
Newcomer at The BFI London Film Festival. The film won the top prize, the
Golden Hitchcock, at Dinard Film Festival in October.
The film also gained many other awards and
premiers across the globe.
The Goob is Written and Directed by Guy Myhill and Produced
by Lee Groombridge and Mike Elliott.
As a man's unspeakable past starts to catch up with him, two very different worlds collide and he is finally forced to confront what is right
and what is wrong, to protect his family's future.
Had its World Premiere at Rotterdam Film
Festival in January 2015 in the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition and was selected
as Dazed Magazines best of the fest.
In Competition at Edinburgh Film Festival 2015
in the Michael Powell Awards strand - UK Premiere.
In Competition at the East End Film Festival -
Best Film Competition.
In Cinemobile Competition at Galway Film
Festival - Irish Premiere.
Norfolk is Written and Directed by Martin Radich and
Produced by Finlay Pretsell and Rachel Dargavel.
When his daughter goes missing in what seems like an alien abduction, a father is forced to search for her in a strange world of alienated
teenagers. There he discovers he must face himself and his past before he can
uncover the truth.
The film will have its World Premiere at SXSW
2016 in the 'Visions' competition strand.
Had its world premiere at SXSW in March 2016.
Screening in the Dare section of the London Film
Festival in October 2016.
Spaceship is Written and Directed by Alex Taylor and
Produced by Nicola Bowen & Olivier Kaempfer.
Flying Blind, 8 Minutes Idle and In The Dark Half were the 3 films selected for the production slate in iFeatures first round. More
information on these films can be seen below.
A Passionate Post 9/11 love story: An older woman with a young Muslim man, in a world where security is paramount and nothing is quite
what it seems.
Flying Blind had its world premier at Edinburgh
International Film Festival 2012, screening in the prestigious Michael Powell
Other festivals screenings include: Palm Springs,
Bath, Cambridge, Koszalin, Camerimage, Cottbus, New Horizons, Gdynia, Cineast,
Polish Film Festival of America, Mostly British San Francisco.
Best Film at Bath Film Festival 2012; Best Film, Best Director and
Critics Award at Koszalin Debut Film Festival.
Flying Bird is directed by Kasia Klimkiewics, produced by
Alison Sterling and written by Naomi Wallace, Bruce McLeod and Caroline
8 Minutes Idle
As Dan’s work/life balance spirals dangerously out of control, he’s forced to break out of old habits and to dare to do something he
has never had to do before – care about someone other than himself.
8 Minutes Idle is directed by Mark Simon Hewis and produced
by Sarah Cox.
the Dark Half
A compelling ghost story about love, grief and redemption. The dark half of the year approaches, bad things are happening to Marie. It
might be her fault or it might be related to the strange forces that seem to
emanate from the ancient hill overlooking the estate where she lives.
The original screenplay was written by Lucy Catherine and
Margaret Matheson produced.