| Short Film Commission Open Call for Black Artists |

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to announce a new short film commission opportunity for Black artists and artists from the African and/or Caribbean diaspora, including those with mixed heritage.

This commission encourages artists to look for stories in their communities, explore personal experiences, shared moments, or imagined worlds and do it in the genre that inspires them.

We welcome a diverse range of short film ideas including scripted, non-verbal, movement, creative documentary, animation, immersive, experimental or abstract, but the project must be narrative-driven - the film's central emphasis should be on communicating a story.

Specifically for artists based in Scotland, applications are welcome from individual lead artists, duos, collectives, or artist-led organisations and early career artists who have had at least one piece of work produced such as a live performance, a music video, or a self-funded short film.

The commissioned film should be a minimum of 3 and maximum of 10 minutes long.

This short film commission has a budget of £12,000, which must include fees for all artists, cast, and crew. All individuals involved will be contracted by the National Theatre of Scotland and paid from the commission's budget at our crew and cast rates. We also have a separate budget for personal access costs that will be specified after the selection of the team.

More info in the FAQs.

If you are not interested in applying as a lead creative but work in the screen industries in any other crew role and would like to work on the project, please email digital@nationaltheatrescotland.comwith your CV and the subject line: Short Film Open Call Crew.

This commission is part of our expanding programme of digital work, supported by three-year funding from the John Ellerman Foundation. Click here to read more.

| Supported by John Ellerman Foundation

| Our Role

National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) will be the lead Producer with Africa in Motion as the Executive Producer. The commission is designed to be flexible, and our support and involvement will be customised to meet the team's specific requirements. For example, if a team already has a producer attached at the point of application, NTS will collaborate with them in a co-production capacity.

National Theatre of Scotland will collaborate with the team to develop a festival and distribution strategy for the film and will lead on contracting, scheduling, and managing the budget.

| Eligibility

  • Lead artists (writer / writer-director) and the core creative team are Black/from the African and /or Caribbean diaspora (including Mixed Heritage)
  • Based and working in Scotland, have the legal right to work in the UK, are 18 + years old and are not in full-time in education.
  • Artists from any art form who want to make a short film.
  • Open to early career artists who have had at least one piece of work produced (live performance, music video, self-funded short film, etc). However, artists with a feature film or TV series writer/director credit are not eligible.
  • All ideas and material must be original and not infringe on the copyright of any other person. However, adaptations will be eligible if you have been granted all required permissions in full.

We welcome applications from individual artists, collectives, joint applications from artists, theatre companies, arts organisations, and freelance producers. Applications from creatives who haven’t worked with the National Theatre of Scotland before are very much encouraged.

| Selection Process

| How to Apply

Applications will be shortlisted by a panel of staff from National Theatre of Scotland, Africa in Motion Film Festival, a cultural consultant and two independent selection panel members.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the final selection by 18 January 2024.

We will organise a meeting with selected team to go through the key elements of the commission before we announce the selection.

| Click here to apply via submittable. |

As part of your application, you will need to do the following:

1. Describe your idea in 200-400 words or submit a video or audio recording lasting 3-6 minutes.

2. Provide details about any key creatives involved (where known). This can include creative roles as well as potential or confirmed collaborators.

3. Provide an example of your previous work.

4. Overview of a budget and timeline to outline how you plan to utilise the commission, giving us insight into the project's scale and ambition. If selected, we will collaborate with you to create a detailed budget.

| Access

If you would like to find out more about the opportunity, please send any questions to: digital@nationaltheatrescotland.com putting ‘Short Film Open Call’ as the subject line.

If you are selected, we will discuss any access needs you may have.



What are suitable examples of work for this application?

We want to understand your creativity and style. The work examples don't need to have been professionally produced, but it should have enough quality to showcase your filmmaking and creative ambition. Examples of eligible work include plays, poetry, short stories, self-produced short films, music videos, video installations, audio dramas, or excerpts from filmed plays. If you have further questions about this, please contact us to discuss.

Am I eligible to apply if I have feature film or TV writing and/or directing credits?

You are eligible to apply if you have a self-funded micro-budget feature film credit as a writer or director (with a budget of up to £50,000). However, you are not eligible if you have funded feature film credits as a writer or director, or if you have a TV series credit as a writer or director. If you have a credit as a writer but not as a director on feature film or broadcast projects, you can still apply for a role that would be new to you.

Can I be Writer, Director and Producer of the film?

No, the producer needs to be a different person from the writer or writer/director.

If I am a producer without a project, can I apply?

You can express interest in producing the project, and if successful, it would be in co-production with NTS. If the selected team doesn't have a producer, we will aim to attach an external producer and will consider your interest. If you are interested, please send your CV to digital@nationaltheatrescotland.co.uk with the subject "Short Film Producer Interest."

Can I apply without a producer?

Yes, you can apply without a producer. NTS will act as the lead producer but will also aim to attach an external producer to the project.

If I am the writer but don't have a director attached to the project, can I apply?

Yes. We will aim to find a director for the project.

If I am in education, can I apply?

You cannot apply if you are in full-time education, but you are eligible to apply if you are in part-time education and the project does not form part of your studies.

Does all the team have to be based in Scotland?

No, but the budget might not be able to accommodate travel and accommodation for a significant number of the team not based in Scotland. We are also aiming to have environmentally sustainable production and limit travel and will be working with environmental and sustainability policies.

Can I apply with more than one idea?

We understand that we have a relatively small industry and a close community of collaborators so you can be named as a collaborator on up to two applications.

What do you mean by early – career?

An early career filmmaker is relatively new to the industry, typically in the early stages of their professional journey, still gaining experience, working on their skills and seeking to establish themselves as filmmakers.

Someone can be established in one area (theatre maker, novelist) but new to filmmaking.


If we are a team of several people who should submit the application?

The writer, director, co-director or producer can submit the application, just note who is in your team and in what role.

The application form gives an option for written, audio and video recording, what are the requirements?

Visual quality, camera and editing skills will not be taken into consideration for filmed submissions, and spelling and grammar will not form part of the consideration of written submissions.


What additional resources will NTS provide?

We will assess the project's requirements and will identify the most effective plan for utilising additional NTS resources to support the project. That include:

  • Development and production support
  • Filming equipment
  • Rehearsal space
  • Meeting room/office space
  • Access to an audio recording studio
  • Selection of props and costumes
  • Development of a distribution strategy and an additional festival submission budget
  • Support for marketing, PR, and the availability of a graphic designer's time.
  • We will also arrange a specific number of one-on-one meetings with the Executive Producer of the Africa in Motion Film Festival and a Cultural Consultant.

We will create opportunities for you to observe NTS theatre productions and connect with our artist development opportunities.

When does the film need to be completed?

The film needs to have been completed by May 2024, but we understand we are still working within difficult times and will work with the team to create a realistic timescale.


What will be included in the personal access budget?

Personal access refers to things which will reduce barriers to support you to be able to do your best work. This can include things like working with language interpreters (including BSL and other languages if English isn’t your first language), note-takers, translation of documents into various formats or languages.

Working with you if you have caring needs – we are a Parents in the Performing Arts charter organisation.

Additional expenses and the budget could cover things like counselling and aftercare treatments, travel. We can also support Access to Work applications for any disabled creatives on your team.


If I'm not interested in applying as a lead artist, what other roles can I apply for?

You can express interest in any role, ranging from a runner, production assistant, production designer, editor, cinematographer etc as while we cannot know in advance of selection what specific roles will be needed, provided you give us permission we can keep your CV and share it with the selected team. Also, with your permission, we can also store your CV so that we can alert you to other opportunities. If you would like us to do this please add a note to this effect with your application.

I have a project or idea I would like to talk to the National Theatre of Scotland about that might not fit this commission.

We are committed to working with and supporting Scotland’s artists throughout the year, and there’s lots of ways you can get in touch with us to talk about your work.

Artists and companies can submit an idea or play to us for research and development or production consideration at any time. For more information and links for submissions visit: www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/for-artists/your-ideas

If you don’t yet have a relationship with us and would like us to begin connecting with you, you can let us know about any upcoming work we can attend (including works in progress, scratches etc) by emailing: invitations@nationaltheatrescotland.com