Short Film Commission
Open Call

Vacancies and Opportunities

| Short Film Commission Open Call for South Asian Artists |


We are delighted to announce a new scripted short film commission opportunity for artists of South Asian origin based in Scotland, including those with mixed heritage.

In 2021 we made a commitment to proactively develop deeper relationships with Scotland’s South Asian communities and artists, in recognition that South Asian communities have often been overlooked.

Our first step was to establish a South Asian Steering Group for an initial phase of discovery. One of the headline findings was that, due to the barriers faced by South Asian artists in Scotland, most South Asian led work is small scale and often led by a solo artist taking on multiple roles across writing, directing, producing and performing. For the sector to realise the ambitions of South Asian artists, we need to create opportunities for work to be made across multiple themes and stories, at all scales, for a wide range of South Asian audiences. More information about our South Asian Project, our long-term priorities and current action plan can be found here.

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.

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 with your CV and the subject line: Short Film Open Call Crew.

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.

The application deadline for this open call is 9:00am on Monday 29 April 2024.

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


This commission encourages artists to look for stories in their communities, explore personal experiences, shared moments, or imagined worlds.

We welcome scripted short film ideas including animation or live action. The project must be narrative-driven - the film's central emphasis should be on communicating a story. We welcome all the genres, including drama, comedy, horror, sci-fi, fantasy etc.

Think about who will be watching your film and unleash your creativity. What themes, characters and stories would attract a South Asian audience as well as appeal to a wider audience in Scotland? 

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


  • Lead artists (writer / writer-director) and the core creative team must be South Asian origin artists including those with 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.
  • Projects that already have some forms of other funding are not eligible.

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.

| Our ROLE:

National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) will be the lead Producer working with External Executive Producer Uzma Mir. 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.

NTS 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.

When considering casting for your short film, please be aware that NTS has a casting policy in place that all applicants should be familiar with.  


Applications will be shortlisted by a panel consisting of staff from the National Theatre of Scotland, the Executive Producer Uzma Mir and two independent selection panel members - Sanjeev Kohli and Raisah Ahmed.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the final selection by mid-May 2024.

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


You can apply via submittable here:

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.

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

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

The application deadline for this call out is 9:00am on Monday 29 April 2024.

A BSL version of this flyer is available on request.



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 creative ambition and abilities. 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.

Can you clarify what countries and regions are included in the definition of South Asia?

A specific geographical area that mainly comprises the following countries: India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.

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 a 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 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 within our 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 (e.g. 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 what role they have.

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. These 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.

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 September 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 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 within 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.Click here for more information and links for submissions.

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