What is The Uncertain Kingdom?
The Uncertain Kingdom is a new project that gives 20 filmmaking teams up to £10,000 each to make a short film that’s entertaining, original and relevant to the UK in 2019.
In 2019, Britain will be on the brink of a momentous new decade. The 2020s will see the making or breaking of nations, unions and the Earth itself. But given the long lead times on features, the filmmaking community could miss out on a chance to engage and comment.
To redress this, The Uncertain Kingdom uses short films - where turnaround is faster, budgets are lower and creative freedom can be far greater - to ensure filmmakers have a chance to contribute to the conversation.
We’re working with established filmmakers, with a body of work that speaks for itself, as well as selecting newer talent through an open application process. Whether political or personal, macro or micro, all of the films must give a bright flash of insight into how the filmmakers see the UK now.
What kind of films are we looking for?
We are looking for stories that say something about the UK in 2019. We don’t mind what genre, form or style you choose, so long as it’s the best way to tell your story. You could apply with fiction, documentary, dance, artist moving image, animation… This list isn’t exhaustive; it’s up to you what you submit, so long as it meets the requirements listed under ‘your film’, below.
Who can apply?
The Uncertain Kingdom is aimed at experienced filmmaking and storytelling teams with confidently executed, accomplished work under their belts.
Filmmakers have final cut and we’ll have minimal involvement in script development and the edit. There’s no training element to the project, so we need to be confident you can deliver.
If you have significant experience in theatre, TV, artist moving image or other area of storytelling and you have an idea for a film, we welcome your application.
The Uncertain Kingdom is an inclusive project and we actively encourage applications from people of all backgrounds.
Applications should be made in teams consisting of producer, director and writer; producer and writer/director; or producer/writer and director
If you are a team of writer and director, or you are a writer/director, and you don’t have a producer you may still apply; just tell us you need our help finding a producer
There must be a director attached to the project. Producers may not apply without a director or writer/director
However, we would love to hear from producers who are interested in being matched with a project. Please contact us with a brief description of your taste: themes and topics of interest, genre, tone etc.
We would prefer producer and director to be separate people. There are some cases where that isn’t appropriate, so we can make exceptions. However, if you are both a producer and director, please consider attaching another producer or ask us to match-make you
Team members may be of any nationality but must all live in the UK
Producers and directors must have completed at least one short film (together as a team or individually)
At least one of these films must have gained significant festival attention and/or awards
If you are coming from another storytelling background, you must be able to demonstrate a similar level of experience and success
Your film must tell us something about your view of the UK in 2019
Your film can be any form, genre or style
If your film is fictional, it must be original (there must not be any underlying rights)
Your film must be achievable on £20k (we will award you up to £10k; you may raise a further 10k to the budget cap of £20k)
Your film must have a maximum running time of 15 minutes, including all credits
Your film must be capable of achieving a maximum 18 BBFC certificate
Your film can be at script stage or at an earlier stage of development. However, you’ll need to tell us the whole story (beginning, middle and end) when you apply
What about copyright?
Filmmakers will retain the copyright in their films. On delivery of the films, for a period of 9 months, The Uncertain Kingdom will be granted an exclusive licence to exploit the films theatrically and otherwise and look to set up a deal to show all of the films together on a platform. At the end of the exclusive period granted to The Uncertain Kingdom and any platform, filmmakers will be free to licence and show the films as they like.
The Uncertain Kingdom does not expect to profit from any exploitation of the films. Filmmakers will not be required to pay any profit share to The Uncertain Kingdom and any money received by The Uncertain Kingdom from exploitation of the films will be shared among the filmmakers, after deduction of reasonable expenses.
How to apply
When you apply, you’ll need to give us a 25 word log-line, a 300 word synopsis of your story and a 100 word explanation of why you think the film is entertaining, original and relevant to 2019
You’ll also need to tell us what your film is about in 3 words or fewer. There’s no set way to do this; do what works for your film. For example, if you were making Jurassic Park, you might write: ‘man vs. nature’; or if you were making When Harry Met Sally, you could say, ‘male/female friendship’.
If you prefer, you can submit video answers for your synopsis (4 minutes of video) and for your explanation of why you think the film is entertaining, original and relevant to 2019 (2 minutes of video)
You’ll need to send us an sample of the director’s work (and the producer’s work, if you have a producer attached). You can send a sample of the writer’s work too, if the writer is a separate person. Each sample must be a continuous clip from one film, of up to 5 minutes duration maximum. Please choose 5 minutes that you think is either most relevant to the short you want to make or the best representation of who you are as a filmmaker. Ideally the clip would do both. Please don’t send reels or full films that are longer than 5 minutes. If your whole film is shorter than 5 minutes, that’s fine
You’ll also need a bio and contact details for each member of the team, and IMBb and website links if applicable
Submit your application form online, here.
Please note that once you cannot edit your application after you have submitted and you cannot save it and come back to it later, so please make sure you have everything you need to get it done in one go.
There is nothing in the form that we haven’t told you about here in the guidelines, so there is no need to send a blank, ‘test’ entry to see the whole submission form. If you have everything we’ve listed above, you’re ready to submit.
You are welcome to apply more than once, with the same team or in different teams. However please bear in mind that we need to be confident about your commitment and passion for your idea; if you spread your commitment and passion across more than one idea, it could make your application less compelling
Applications open on Monday January 14th 2019
Applications close at midnight on Sunday 3rd February 2019
What happens next?
We will get back to you by Sunday 10th March to let you know if we are progressing your application
If we are progressing your application, we will ask you for further materials, such as a script, a link to your full film, other examples of your work, mood boards, schedule or budget (as applicable)
Unfortunately, due to the huge volume of applications we have received we are unable to respond to unsuccessful applications
We will interview filmmaking teams through March
We will announce the selected teams in April
All films must be delivered by the end of October 2019