About

Rules and Eligibility

You can read about our voting and adjudication process here, and download a pdf of all this information here.

The British Independent Film Awards are for theatrical feature films and short films. The majority of categories are only open to British, independent films. There are separate eligibility criteria for international independent films.

In all cases, final decisions about a film’s eligibility rest with BIFA’s Nomination Committee: under exceptional circumstances, inclusion and consideration of films which do not strictly comply with the below criteria will be subject to the discretion of the Committee.

Entries for the 2018 British Independent Film Awards close at midnight on 3 September 2018.

Click here to begin the process of entering a film: https://members.bifa.film/entries

 

ELIGIBILITY

The British Independent Film Awards are for theatrical feature films and short films. The majority of categories are only open to British independent films. There are separate eligibility criteria for international independent films.

In all cases, final decisions about a film’s eligibility rest with BIFA’s Nomination Committee: under exceptional circumstances, inclusion and consideration of films which do not strictly comply with the below criteria will be subject to the discretion of the Committee.

Eligibility: Independent

Where there is any major studio substantially funding a film, the total budget must not exceed $20million. Films are not defined as ‘independent’ strictly on the terms of financing.

Eligibility: British

It has been produced or majority co-produced by a British company or is in receipt of at least 51% of its budget from a British source or sources and includes sufficient creative elements from the UK.

This applies to all categories except for Best International Independent Film.

Where an individual must be British to qualify for an award, or for the purposes of identifying the nationality of a film, we will ask whether you hold a UK passport or have the right to hold one. If you are unsure, please use this test: https://www.gov.uk/check-british-citizen and follow the process through to see if you are a British citizen, have indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence.

 

Eligibility: Theatrical

To be eligible, films must be intended for theatrical release.

Feature films with formal UK distribution must have a theatrical run to paying audiences in UK cinemas consisting of a minimum of 7 (seven) screenings in aggregate.

Where formal distribution is confirmed after a qualifying festival screening, the festival screening will be the eligibility criterion, not the theatrical distribution.

Films which have a qualifying festival screening but which are scheduled for theatrical release (i.e. have confirmed distribution) after 10 February 2019 may choose whether to enter in the current year or to wait until next year. Please contact BIFA to discuss this.

 

RELEASE REQUIREMENTS

British features

Films must be intended for theatrical release, over 70 minutes in length

AND

Have a public screening to a paying audience either on general release in the UK between 1 December 2017 and 30 November 2018

OR

Screen at a British-based film festival or in one of BIFA’s list of recognised international festivals between 1 December 2017 and 30 November 2018

Films that are between 40 and 70 minutes in length may be eligible if they have a theatrical release in the UK between 1 December 2017 and 30 November 2018.

Films which have a qualifying festival screening but which are scheduled for theatrical release (i.e. have confirmed distribution) after 10 February 2018 may choose whether to enter in the current year or to wait until next year. Please contact BIFA to discuss this.

No re-releases can be entered. Once entered, a film can be withdrawn up a week before the first round of voting opens. Films that are withdrawn at this point can be entered in subsequent years, if eligible. Otherwise, previously entered films are not eligible.

 

International features

Films must have a theatrical release in the UK between 1 December 2017 and 30 November 2018.

Films may also be entered if they have been selected to play at one of BIFA’s recognised festivals during the eligibility period, have confirmed UK distribution and are available for voters to see

OR

have won an award at one of BIFA’s recognised festivals and are available for voters to see.

 

Shorts

For British short films that have been accepted as part of the Official Selection at one of BIFA’s recognised film festivals

OR

have won an award during the eligibility period.

British short films that have not fulfilled the above criteria may still be entered if they have been screened on one of BIFA’s recognised online channels. In this case, however, the entry must come from the online channel in question, not a filmmaker. Each of BIFA’s recognised online channels may enter up to three short films that have not been accepted to BIFA’s recognised festivals or won an award.

To be eligible, short films should have been completed on or after 1 May 2017.

 

 

CATEGORY RULES AND ADDITIONAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Films do not have to be submitted in all categories, however the Nomination Committee may choose to consider a film in additional categories to those submitted. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that a film is entered correctly and no additional category entries will be accepted after 7 September.

Entrants must provide BIFA with DVD or online screeners, or access to screenings of their entered film(s), by 14 September. If access to screeners or screenings is unavailable after that date, the Nomination Committee may dismiss the entry.

Credits and eligibility decisions are based on the credits featured on exhibited prints of the film.

Only one award trophy will be issued to the winner of each category. Where multiple named nominees have been accepted by BIFA, additional trophies can be purchased in the event of an award win. Named nominees will each receive an invitation to the Awards, up to a maximum of three invitations.

 

Best British Independent Film, Best International Independent Film

Fully-credited writers, producers and directors may be listed as nominees.

Executive producer, associate producer, co-producer or other producer credits are not eligible for nominations or awards.Films entered to the Best British Independent Film category must also be assessed against the BFI Diversity Standards. As a pilot in 2018, there is no requirement that films meet the Standards this year, though it is our aim that from 2019 all films longlisted in the Best British Independent Film category meet at least two of the four BFI Diversity Standards.

 

Best Director

Awarded to the director. Co-directors are only eligible for nomination where there is not also a director credited.

 

Best Screenplay

Additional material by or similar credits are not eligible for nomination.

 

The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director)

For a British director for their debut fiction feature film. Previous television or documentary director credits do not exclude an individual from consideration.

This award is presented for promise and potential as well as achievement.

The estate of Douglas Hickox shall present a cheque for £500 to the winner.

 

Debut Screenwriter

For a British screenwriter for their debut fiction feature film. The Nomination Committee will determine whether three or five nominations will be presented.

This award is presented for promise and potential as well as achievement.

Additional material by or similar credits are not eligible for nomination.

 

Breakthrough Producer

For a British producer for their first or second documentary or fiction feature film.

All fully credited producers may be listed for nomination. Executive producer, associate producer, co-producer or other producer credits are not eligible for nominations or awards.

Entrants must complete and submit a statement outlining the achievements of the producer in support of their entry. Where other, non-eligible, producers are credited on the film, additional information should be provided to clearly delineate their role vs the role of the eligible producer/s.

 

Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress

Entrants may select which category a performer should be considered for, but BIFA’s Nomination Committee will make final decisions about eligibility.

 

Most Promising Newcomer

This award recognises promise and potential as well as achievement by a new British actor. Performers are eligible if they are taking their first significant role in a theatrical feature film. Eligibility of performers who have significant television/theatre credits will be determined by the Nomination Committee.

 

Best British Short

For films with a maximum running time of 40 minutes, including credits.

Fully-credited writers, producers and directors may be listed as nominees.

 

Best Documentary

Eligible films must be non-fiction. They should be photographed in actual occurrence, or employ partial re-enactment, stock footage, stills, animation, stop-motion or other techniques, as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction.

The director and fully credited producers will be listed as the nominees.

 

The Discovery Award

This award highlights innovation, uniqueness of vision, maverick filmmaking and risk-taking, generally in fiction films with a budget under £500k.

Nominees will be at the discretion of the sub-group responsible for the adjudication of this category, and are likely to be the writing/producing/directing team. Entrants may propose nominees for the sub-group to take into consideration.

Entrants should complete and submit a short supporting statement highlighting which aspects of the film should be considered for this award and why.

 

Craft categories

Entrants must complete and submit a short statement outlining which categories they believe their film is most suited to and why, as well as who the potential nominees would be. It is then the responsibility of BIFA’s voters and Nomination Committee to decide in which Craft categories films may compete.

Best Cinematography – Awarded to the Director of Photography.

Best Costume Design – Awarded to the Costume Designer.

Best Casting – Awarded to the Casting Director.

Best Editing – Awarded to the Editor. Co- or Assistant Editors are not eligible for nomination.

Best Effects – This category is for Special Effects and Visual Effects. SFX and VFX Supervisors may be listed as nominees.

Best Make-Up & Hair Design – Awarded to the Make-Up & Hair Designer. Prosthetics Designers may also be eligible for nomination in this category.

Best Music – Awarded to the Composer or Music Supervisor.

Best Production Design – Awarded to the Production Designer.

Best Sound – Nominees for this category are currently TBC and will be confirmed before entries close on 3 September.

Entrants wishing to submit an entry for a discipline not listed above should please contact us at hello@bifa.film

 

All decisions made by BIFA are final and no correspondence will be entered into as to why particular entries were or were not nominated.