Media Release: Scottish Documentary Institute’s new call for film proposals

CONSISTENTLY picking up awards, BAFTAs, special mentions and festival screenings in over 40 countries, world-wide, Bridging the Gap is one of the leading documentary new talent initiatives for cinema in the UK.

It offers an intense creative training programme alongside production and the chance for a transmission on BBC Scotland. This year seven short documentaries with a budget of up to £16K each (8K cash, 8K in-kind) will be commissioned at an industry pitching session in December. The call for entries is now open, with a deadline for applications of 1 December 2009.

Now entering its sixth year, Bridging the Gap has again attracted substantial investments from Scottish Screen’s National Lottery fund and Skillset, through the Skillset Film Skills Fund as part of A Bigger Future, as well as generous in-kind support from Edinburgh College of Art (eca), home of Scottish Documentary Institute. BBC Scotland has again pledged support.

Ewan Angus, commissioning Editor at BBC Scotland, said: “Bridging the Gap is an established and very successful scheme, and BBC Scotland is delighted to continue with the partnership this year.”

Leslie Finlay, development executive at Scottish Screen, a long-standing partner of the initiative since its inception, said: “We are delighted to be continuing to support Bridging the Gap and discover new documentary talent through our innovative Talent Development Fund.”

Noe Mendelle, director of Scottish Documentary Institute, said: “We pride ourselves in offering filmmakers a safe and experimental space to explore the traditional boundaries of documentary and we continue to be pleased with the results. Our film festival awards and screenings across the world in over 35 countries are testimony to the quality of the films produced under Bridging the Gap and we are very happy that Scottish Screen, Skillset, eca, BBC Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise continue to support this talent initiative.

“We have picked the theme of ‘Surprise’ to encourage diverse and uplifting stories from people with very different backgrounds.”

Skillset’s director of Film, Neil Peplow, said: “I am delighted that Skillset is once again supporting this excellent training programme, which helps to nurture and develop new voices in documentary film making. Previous participants have gone on to achieve great success and we look forward to seeing the bright new talent taking part this year.”

eca vice-principal, Brent MacGregor, said: “We are very proud of the continued success of this initiative now entering its seventh year. Bridging the Gap has been widely recognised by broadcasters, industry bodies, film festival directors and award juries as a world class production and training scheme. Add Screen Academy Scotland, our partnership with Napier University, and it is once again clear that Edinburgh College of Art is a unique high quality provider of screen production education.”

SDI will be holding outreach development workshops in Inverness, Skye, Orkney, Manchester, Norwich and Nottingham to support the submissions process in November.

The scheme aims to bridge the gap between training/graduation and a first broadcast, and all those filmmakers who have not made documentaries for the big screen.

While 12 directors will be selected and put through a training process, the initiative will also present a series of public documentary master classes in Edinburgh, highlights of which will be available online for the benefit of the wider filmmaking community. The commissioned filmmakers will receive further hands on training right the way through to post-production. The films are geared for distribution in cinemas and festivals.

Notes to editors:

1. UK filmmakers interested in the scheme can download an application form at under “apply” or request one from Rebecca Day, 0131 221 6204

2. The application deadline is 1 December and 12 projects will be short-listed by mid December. A pitching session will take place in March where seven projects will be commissioned. The final projects will have to be completed by 6 April 2009. Training continues into June 09.

3. To join the mailing list go to

4. For further information on outreach workshops & Scottish Documentary Institute’s activities, please go to

5. Scottish Screen is the national screen agency for Scotland with responsibility for developing all aspects of screen culture and industry across the country. Scottish Screen invests around £6m in the development and promotion Scotland’s screen industries each year. This includes distributing £2.2m of National Lottery funds. For more information visit:

6. Skillset is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Creative Media which comprises tv, film, radio, interactive media, animation, computer games, facilities, photo imaging and publishing. Jointly funded by industry and government, our job is to help the UK creative media industries have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time, so that our industries remain competitive. For more information visit:

A Bigger Future is a strategic plan for delivering industry relevant skills in the UK film industry. The result of 12 months research and consultation with the industry – from those involved in script development to those working in exhibition – it is a £50m, five-year plan. It is funded by the National Lottery through the UK Film Council, and from contributions made to the Skills Investment Fund (SIF) from feature films, and additionally-levered sources of finance.

7. BBC Scotland will select films for transmission after Dec 2010.

8. Recent awards and nominations for Bridging the Gap (selected):

Peter in Radioland dir: Johanna Wagner

Winner – Best Scottish Documentary Short Award, EIFF 2009

Nominated – Best European short film nomination for European Film Academy Award, EIFF 2009

Nominated – International Young Documentary Competition, Leipzig Film Festival 2009

Nominated – CPH DOX: Short DOX Award 2009

Nominated – Best Scottish short film, BAFTA Scotland 2009


Sporran Makers (BTG6) dir: Jane McAllister

nominated for best Scottish documentary Award 2009, Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009


At Home with the Jedi (BTG6) dir: R F Simpson

CPH:DOX 2009 – nominated for the short DOX award


Unearthing the Pen (BTG6) dir: Carol Salter

Nominated for Silver Cub Award: IDFA 2009


Irene (BTG5) dir: Lindsay Goodall

Winner Palm Springs Best Short Doc, 2009

Jury Award, Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2009

Nominated Best Scottish Short Film, BAFTA Scotland 2008

4Docs website “Best short docs to see before you make yours”


Steel Homes (BTG5) dir: Eva Weber

short film competition: Sundance 2009 & Sundance Institute 16 city tour in the USA

best short doc competition: Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, April 2009

Nominated for best short doc: Hot Docs 2009

For further information contact:

Sonja Henrici (Head of Development): 0131 221 6125 07765 415 486

Noémie Mendelle (director): 0131 221 6125

Scottish Documentary Institute | eca | 74 Lauriston Place | Edinburgh | EH3 9 DF |

Scotland UK | T: +44 (0) 131 221 6125 | F: +44 (0) 131 221 6139 |

MEDIA RELEASE posted by the Scottish Documentary Institute. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Sonja Henrici
Phone: +44 (0) 131 221 6125 or 07765 415 486