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BFI Doc Society
Production SOS Fund

The BFI Doc Society SOS Fund is CLOSED
The BFI Doc Society Production SOS Fund has been launched (using funds from the National Lottery) to support British producers whose independently financed documentary feature project has been interrupted by the COVID 19 pandemic. We hear your SOS and acknowledge the very challenging circumstances that many independent documentary filmmakers are facing in these unprecedented and uncertain times.

The BFI Doc Society Production SOS Fund is intended to help put production companies in the best possible position to allow production of their documentary features to resume as soon as it is safe and practical.

The topline:

  • The BFI Doc Society Production SOS Fund will be open for one round of applications for three weeks from Thursday 11 June, 2020 - Thursday 2 July, 2020 @ 12:00 noon (BST).
  • We aim to provide selected projects with funds by the end of July 2020.
  • The total fund is £200,000, and can offer non-recoupable grants for up to a maximum of £15,000.

Applications closed
at 12.00 noon (BST)
Thursday 2 July, 2020.

Fund Guidelines (PDF)

Preview the Application Form questions (PDF)

Cultural Test

What are the eligibility requirements?

Your application can only be considered if you are able to answer yes to to the below statements:

  • My project has incurred unexpected additional production costs due to interruption as a result of COVID-19 that cannot be covered by other sources.
  • My project is a “single project” documentary feature length film, which will be at least 69 minutes in length.
  • My project has a production budget of no more than £1,500,000, and was already in active late pre-production or filming when it was interrupted.
  • My project is independently financed, ie: not fully financed by a studio/quasi or mini studio, another SVOD, other online-platform or commissioning broadcaster.
  • I am able to evidence that I have secured all, or a substantial portion of the funding required to cover the production to reach at least rough cut stage of the documentary film (i.e. excluding and COVID-19 related costs) and that such funding will remain available upon resumption of production.
  • My application is being made by the lead UK production entity for the project, which is a company registered and centrally managed in the UK.
  • My project passes the UK Cultural Test

What the fund can’t support:

  • We are unable to provide funding for filmed productions such as a theatre show, filmed sporting or music event, artist installation work, or material intended primarily for broadcast television.
  • We cannot retrospectively cover costs or for payment of deferred fees.
  • The fund is intended for projects which have not received or been awarded funding from the BFI Doc Society Feature Film Fund.

For full details on eligibility and assessment, please read the fund Guidelines.

I have a question

Please read the guidelines carefully, if you still have a question about the fund contact:

I've got a question

Please check out our comprehensive guidelines which should help with any burning questions. If you can’t find what you need, please contact our BFI Doc Society Production Manager Hannah Bush Bailey at

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Awards Directory

If you would like to find out which documentary projects are recipients of awards through the BFI Doc Society Fund, please find our directory here.