South West Documentary Short Film Commission 2021

As part of our 2021 commissions scheme, Exeter Phoenix will award one South West Documentary Commission to the value of £1000 for the development of an inspiring and original narrative, which is up to 12 minutes in length. 

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts and a virtual audience at Exeter Phoenix’s Two Short Nights Film Festival (18-19 February 2021) for the opportunity to win a package of funding and support to turn their film idea into a reality.


Exeter Phoenix is inviting applications for the development and production of a short film project. Successful applicants will be awarded £1000 to support the production of the film. You can apply for support with a non-fiction short film, which can be produced as live action or animation.

Exeter Phoenix is not restricting how the award is spent but you will be expected to provide a brief budget if you are invited to pitch. Costs might include fees for cast and crew, travel costs, covering personal time, location fees and materials. 

The successful applicants will also receive in kind support to the value of £1500, which will contribute towards the production. This includes:

  • Hire of Exeter Phoenix's film and sound equipment 
  • Exeter Phoenix studio hire and access to Exeter Phoenix film production resource.
  • Support and mentoring from industry experts
  • A schedule of industry standard training and workshops in cinematography, post-production and script development provided by Exeter Phoenix. 

The finished films will be premiered at Two Short Nights Film Festival and advice will be given in festival strategy and developing audiences.


The South West Documentary Short Film Commission 2021 is open to individuals or groups who have a permanent address in Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Somerset, and the unitary authorities of Bath & North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, South Gloucestershire, Southampton, Swindon, Torbay and Wiltshire.

Applicants must be able to prove they reside in the South West and must be aged 18 years or over. The selected filmmaker may be expected to make occasional visits to Exeter, therefore please consider this when applying.

This commission is aimed at those who have some experience in making short films previously and are now looking for funding to take their filmmaking to the next level.


  • Applications open: Fri 18 Dec 2020
  • Applications close: 5pm, Fri 5 Feb 2021 
  • Decisions made by the week commencing Mon 10 Feb 2021
  • Successful applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas to a virtual audience and panel of experts during Two Short Nights 2021 (18-19 Feb 2021
  • Training and workshops will take place in April 2021, dates TBC
  • Projects are to be completed by Mon 1 Nov 2021.

Application and Assessment

All applications must be submitted via our online submission form which you will find at the bottom of this page. Applicants will also be asked to complete a Diversity Standards form when applying. 

You will be asked to submit an original and concise proposal, outlining the tone, themes, genre and strategy of your ideas. Exeter Phoenix will accept ideas to be presented in written form (up to 400 words) or as a video (up to 3 minutes). 

In your application you will have the opportunity to include a link to a show reel and attached supporting material. This could be examples of previous work, stills, writing samples or visual aids. 

If you are invited you to pitch your application at Two Short Nights you will be asked to present your ideas to a panel of experts and a virtual audience. You will be asked questions about your ideas and you will be asked to provide a brief budget and examples of how your production will meet our aims and objective outlined above.  

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the Short Film Commission 2021 please send an email to

How To Apply