Illustration of a woman holding a camera to her face and filming

Each year Exeter Phoenix commissions new work from filmmakers and visual artists as part of our commitment to supporting artists. In 2021, we introduced our first commissions for theatre makers. These bursary schemes nurture great talent and support the production of new work.

Over 100 filmmakers and visual artists have received our support, many of whom have gone on to exhibit and screen their work nationally and internationally, winning awards including Best Short Film at BFI London Film Festival, Cannes Short Film Corner, Virgin Media Shorts, Media Innovation Awards and First Light Awards.

Commissions Archive

View our past commissions by clicking below:

Film | Art | Performance


Scratch Night Commissions

Following the success of our Scratch Nights in 2022 and 2023, we are offering artists the opportunity to take their new ideas a little bit further with support for their performance development. In 2024 we are delivering three Scratch Nights; the first two took place in January and May, with final Scratch taking place on Monday 14th October (the submission window will open in September).

Find out more about our commissioned artists here

Short Film Commissions

Exeter Phoenix are pleased to announce the lineup for the 2024 Short Film Commissions. The completed films will be premiered at Two Short Nights Film Festival 2025.

Devon Short Film Commission: Micha Colombo – Abigail’s an activist now

Micha is an actor and writer working in theatre, film, poetry and storytelling. Her first film, I Want This commissioned by Exeter Phoenix, premiered earlier this year. Her children’s book, ‘A Mossy Story’, commissioned by The Art and Energy Collective, and her prize-winning audio drama ‘Shreds’ with Theatre West will both be published in 2024, and she has just co-launched a new project, Shakespeare@The Priory exploring classical theatre. Micha can regularly be found performing on stages across Exeter and the region and her work is published in collections including Demeter Press, Hot Poets, and Oranges Journal. She is an alumna of the Exeter Northcott Futures Programme and an active member of The Daylight Collective.

Micha’s film, working title Abigail’s an activist now, is a female-led comedy exploring what happens when unassuming Abigail decides to become a climate change activist on her way home from work.

South West Short Film Commission: Lydia Jenkins – Fishwife

Lydia Jenkins is a writer-director based in Cornwall. Her practice focuses on female experiences, using colourful analogies to address social and gender issues. Previously, she has worked with Screen Cornwall on her short film, Pillow Talk, which is now entering a festival run.

Set in the 13th century, Fishwife focuses on Maggie, a young woman who has been dressed as a shrimp and left on the sea shore as a sacrifice to a sea monster. The film aims to reflect on systematic violence against women as well as contemporary gender roles and expectations.

19-25 Devon Film Fund Commission: Sapphire Medeema – Dogs and fireworks

Sapphire Medeema is an emerging artist and filmmaker. After an unconventional childhood spent unschooled and growing up at festivals and political gatherings, Sapphire completed an Extended Diploma in TV and Film from Exeter College, for which her final major project was exhibited at Exeter Phoenix. Sapphire’s work was also shown during Exeter Art Week as part of ‘Shorts from the Block’.

Sapphire pitched Dogs and fireworks , a (gentle) comedy drama, at Two Short Nights 2024 19-25 Devon Film Fund Live Pitch. Sapphire’s work to date has been experimental, and Dogs and fireworks is an exciting jump to making narrative short film. The film follows a neurodivergent teenager and her older brother, sitting in a car on the anniversary of their grandmother’s death as they discover they have surprisingly different memories of the same family events.

Micro Short Film Commissions: Natasha Lay – lippie

Natasha Anthea Lay is a Devon-based theatremaker and screenwriter originally from Indonesia and Aotearoa New Zealand. She has been shortlisted twice for Playmarket NZ’s Playwrights b4 25 award and her short film Love is Real! (dir. Calvin Sang) was part of the official selection of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2020. Natasha is excited to expand her screenwriting practice to filmmaking.

Natasha’s micro short film, lippie, is a snapshot of a moment between two friends in the girls’ bathroom on a night out during Freshers Week.

Micro Short Film Commissions: Emma Johnson – Other

Emma is an aspiring stop motion filmmaker currently in her final year at Falmouth University studying for her Illustration Masters Degree.

She has experimented with animation since watching Creature Comforts (Aardman) as a child, builds 3D models as part of her creative process, even for 2D outcomes. In 2020, she was longlisted for the emerging Laydeez Do Comics Graphic Novel prize. Other will be the first short film she has worked on and she is excited to work with industry professionals to bring this Deaf inclusion short into fruition. When not creating elaborate models and generally terrifying her studio mate with spooky mobiles, she can be found walking her kids and dogs on a blustery beach in north Devon (who sleep under her desk… dogs not kids!) and running collaged zine workshops. Emma dreams of creating a giant interactive installation that improves community morale by engaging people of all ages in wonder

Other will be a short stop motion animation film about a Deaf boy called Oliver. This inspiring story celebrates community and promotes an inclusive society.

Artists Moving Image Commission: Alice Clough – I would crawl into a horse’s left ear

Alice Clough is a research-led artist with a background in archaeology and anthropology. Her work interrogates cultural storytelling, asking questions like: which stories shape our lives? How do stories reside in objects and materials? Which stories take on a life of their own?

Her sculptural practice encompasses a wide range of media including ceramics, installation, photography, printmaking, text, and moving image. Drawing on theories of posthumanism and vibrant matter, Alice explores themes of wonder, folklore, and powerful materials like flint and horsehair.

Alice is making a film that explores the space between fact and fiction. Inspired by ancient myths and using traditional folk tales as a starting point, she will focus on horse-human relationships to ask what the nonhuman can teach us about kinship and care.

View our commissions archive here >>