Free filmmaking Course for 16-19's*

*(or up to 25yrs with an EHCP)

Applications have now closed for our BFI Film Academy 2022-23 cohort

bfi logo

Watch the video below to find out more about all the ways being part of the BFI Film Academy can benefit you!


THE BFI FILM ACADEMY is an intensive short course of practical development programme for young people aged 16-19yrs* from the British Film Institute, created to train you in how to make films through professional mentoring! 

*Open to those up to 25yrs with an Education, Health & Care Plan. A copy will need to be provided for records.

  • Participants who do the BFI Film Academy find themselves in the roles / careers they want faster
  • It’s designed to work around traditional education routes & offers extra UCAS points & vital experience – great for CV’s
  • You get a realistic experience of being on set as part of a full crew, supported by experienced professionals
  • You get access to so much more opportunities that are ONLY open to BFI Film Academy graduates (specialist courses, professional mentors, workshops, networking opportunities, & more!)
  • You’ll make our next (likely award-winning) short film that will be screened around the world
  • It’s lots of fun!


2022-23 will be the 11th year Signal Film & Media have delivered this programme & it’s open to everyone in Cumbria & North Lancashire not already enrolled at university. We’re also the only place who does so outside of a major UK city!

Alumni Successes

Previous participants from the past decade are now off working in the UK's film and TV industry - Coming Soon -

We're particularly keen to encourage applications from ethnically diverse young people!

Programme of 2022-23 Course Dates*:

Sessions will usually take place during weekday evenings outside of school or college hours with the exception of the Masterclasses & Shoot days which will take place during weekends and half terms.

Mon 19th Sept 2022 at 12pm: Early Application (Screenwriters) Deadline**

Tue 20th Sept: Screenwriters Applications assessed & successful applicants notified

Mon 26th Sept at 4pm: Final Application Deadline

Tue 27th Sept: Applications assessed & successful applicants notified

                      **Optional screenwriting session

Wed 28th Sept:** Optional screenwriting session

Tue 4th Oct: Course starts / Meet the Mentors / Intro to course aims

Tue 11th Oct: Introduction to NCFE & Film Analysis & Criticism

Tue 18th Oct: Understanding Filmmaking Roles & Journeys into the Industry

Mon 25th – Wed 26th Oct: Masterclass Week: Craft & Technical Workshops & Masterclasses with Industry Professionals

Tue 1st Nov: Masterclass: Production & Post-Production

Tue 8th Nov: Script Breakdown

Tue 15th Nov: Read-through Rehearsals

Tue 22nd Nov: NCFE check-in & catchup

Tue 29th Nov: Shoot prep

Fri 9th Dec: Finalised Scripts returned

Tue 13th Dec: NCFE workshop: Health & Safety

Fri 16th Dec: Optional Shoot Prep: Pre-lighting & Set Dressing~

Sat 17th + Sun 18th Dec: 2-day Mentored Film Shoot with professional mentors~

Sat 7th Jan 2023: Rushes Review & NCFE Shoot Diary session

Tue 10th Jan: Editing Workshop

Tue 17th Jan: Next Steps in the UK’s film & TV industry

Tue 24th Jan: NCFE sign-off | Rough Cut Edit Review | Screening Planning

Tue 7th Feb 2023: End of Course Screening Celebration 

*Please be aware course dates are subject to change or extension. There may be additional optional sessions & 1:1 feedback activities.

~The 22nd + 23rd of December are alternative shoot dates (21st is optional prep day), so please be aware you may need to be available for those days instead.

Watch behind the scenes on some of our past productions!

The BFI Film Academy cohort 2021-22 ran on Tuesday evenings & during school/college holiday times with a 2-day, professionally-mentored film shoot during the Christmas Holidays. The premiere screening of the short film ‘Murdered by Cliche’ took place at the end of March for family & friends. 


What participants have said:


  • A quarter of all films IN THE WORLD produced in 2018 were made in the UK! Combined with our social media habits, the UK’s booming film industry is rapidly growing and desperately needs new talent!
  • The BFI expects 30,000 new jobs to be created over the next 5-10 years and wants more diverse voices – especially outside of London!
  • There are SO MANY types of jobs available beyond the ones you might guess: from carpenters & electricians to lawyers & promoters!

“Many participants use their BFI Academy experience and references to secure university places and to get jobs in the film industry. Film is one of the big success stories in the British economy at present, and we want to make sure young people from our neck of the woods have a chance to see how it can be a viable and exciting career opportunity.”

– Signal Film & Media 

Co-Director, Kerry Kolbe


This project is available thanks to support from: