BFI To Invest $7 Million In Doc Society

The BFI today announced that it will invest $7 Million (£6M) of National Lottery ‘good cause’ funding over three years in Doc Society.

The cash award is part of the BFI’s rollout for its new National Lottery Strategy and will go toward supporting the documentary-focused non-profit in its distribution of funding across features, shorts, and talent development.

The BFI Doc Society Fund will also be open for applications from April-June 2023. Recruitment will start imminently for a new executive who will lead the fund, working closely with Sandra Whipham and Shanida Scotland, Directors of Doc Society.

The BFI has said Doc Society will also “develop and evolve” the funding and support it offers filmmakers from April 2023 to meet the new BFI’s new National Lottery strategic priorities. These structural changes will include a stronger focus on regional and national opportunities through the BFI Doc Society Fund to support features and shorts.

Founded in 2005 and initially supported by UK broadcaster Channel 4, Doc Society was selected for the BFI cash award following an open application process. The non-profit has been a BFI partner since 2017. Projects supported by the BFI and Doc Society include Kathryn Ferguson’s Sinéad O’Connor doc Nothing Compares, Rebellion (dirs. Elena Sánchez Bellot, Maia Kenworthy), and the BAFTA-winning short The Black Cop.

“Independent UK documentary filmmaking is vital to our cultural landscape,” Mia Bays, Director of the BFI Film Fund, said.

“To maximize the impact of our funding we are working with a partner to bring genre-specific knowledge, expertise, and an international network to help support, grow, and nurture this sector. Our new strategy sets out refocused priorities for this area of work, and in Doc Society, we have a fantastic partner who will not only work to deliver to them but whose passion, genuine care, and tireless belief in the power of documentary and our talented filmmakers will benefit this remarkable and tenacious sector across the whole of the UK.”

Sandra Whipham, Co-director of Doc Society, added: “We are over the moon to have been given the opportunity to build on our work of the past five years with another three years of funding. At a time of rapid change and challenge, we are ready to lean in and collaborate with the documentary film sector to ensure that the best independent creative non-fiction gets made and seen by audiences in the UK and internationally.”