Film funding

Are you aged 18 - 30? Did you take part in our 48 Hour Film Challenge and see you have a future as a filmmaker, but want to do it at a more professional level where you and your crew can actually get paid for doing what you love? Most banks won't even entertain the idea of lending money to young filmmakers, or anyone else who wants to start a creative business. It seems the only creative thing they know about is creative accountancy.

If you already have started a small business to utilise your filmmaking skills but need some cash to get it off the ground and take it to the next level were it will actually start making money then there is a solution to help you: Launcher Start-up Loans. This is new scheme from The School for Startups, founded by Doug Richard (formerly of Dragon's Den).


The programme is aimed at people aged 18 – 30 looking for a loan for their company start up and offers a package of low-interest, government-backed loans with business training and mentorship for young entrepreneurs. It is not just for filmmakers, but for anyone with a great idea. It could be a music recording business, a facilities service, app development or a web-based publishing business. The more original and practical the better.

The Launcher programme includes:

  • A low interest start up loan up to £15 000 per person
  • World Class Teaching
  • Access to online community
  • A personal mentor for the first year
  • Access to special offers from Startup Loans Global Partners

The loans are repayable over a five-year term with an optional one year capital repayment window. Up to five people within one company can apply for their own loan of up to £15,000 each person. Bear in mind, this is a loan and not a grant.

To qualify you must be:

  • Aged 18 – 30
  • UK resident
  • You can hold a passport from any country (but you must be UK resident for duration of the loan)
  • Preparing to start up a company
  • OR Have an existing startup company (less than 1 year old)

The loan application process is straightforward and can be completed online. All we need from you is:

  • Brief details of your business concept
  • A Cashflow which shows how you will repay the loan (a template is available on our Launcher website)
  • Proof of ID
  • 3 months of Bank Statements from a UK bank

If you provide us all this information your loan you could have your loan approved and processed in as little as 48 hours.

For further information about the scheme take a look at the website or contact them by email or by phone: +44 (0)20 7759 1899

If you don't feel comfortable with taking out a loan then crowdfunding is another viable option. There are several reputable online companies such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Sponsume. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages are you are only committed to finishing the project and fulfilling the promises you made to your backers, who are your built-in audience. Any success beyond that is to your advantage. If you don't succeed, you aren't left with a heavy loan to pay off, but you will have annoyed your audience and given yourself a bad name. For a crowdfunding campaign to be successful, it takes a lot of work. An excellent example is by The Fitzroy, a group of filmmakers who met at the SFL 48 Hour Film Challenge, but they already have a good track record. SCI-FI-LONDON has just launched a crowdfunding campaign to make a short film called Ellipse, which combines hard sci-fi with real science and is being made in conjunction with The Royal Observatory Greenwich.

So, if you are serious about becoming a filmmaker, between the Launcher Programme and crowdfunding there are plenty of options for you to stop making excuses. And remember that a majority of the biggest films ever made are science fiction or fantasy. And if you want to test your mettle before you commit, enter our 48 Hour Film Challenge. Who knows, you could be working in Hollywood before you know it, like our first winner Gareth Edwards.

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