CEO Jenny Walker

ON THE BLOG: FoR Films on Single Project funding

Frames of Reference Films (FoR Films) is a Bristol-based production company whose aim is “to make female-led genre films”. Recently they received a €30,000 Single Project development grant for Breakthrough. CEO Jenny Walker talks us through it.

What have you most recently received Creative Europe funding for and how does it feel?

“FoR Film's current slate of projects includes three that have received Single Project development funding, two of which were funded through the previous MEDIA programme - Sanctuary Six and Jumana. The most recent funding was in 2016 for psychological thriller Breakthrough (previously Four Divisions of the Soul). Of course we were delighted to be awarded this funding.  We saw it as an incredibly useful validation of our project and approach, especially given the extremely helpful feedback we received along with the good news.” 

“Knowing that the project, its marketing, finance and distribution plans have been evaluated by leading experts from across Europe has given us the confidence to take this project not just to the next stage of production, but to the next level of expectation of what it can achieve as engaging entertainment for the audience. We're currently packaging it with great confidence and the extra enthusiasm that comes with this.”

Was there anything you were worried about when applying for the funding? How did you overcome that?

“The application process itself is daunting. There's so much to consider. So much to get right, and to fit into the space allowed – which was a useful challenge itself as it made me distil my thinking until I felt I'd made all the points needed, as concisely as possible.”

“But my main worry, as ever, was getting it done to the deadline. In my experience of applying five times, I've never found it possible to start early enough and have always ended up delivering at the last minute. I didn't get past that this time. But I will next time.  I will!”

What is your advice to potential applicants?

“Two things. Create an application. Even if you don't ever file it it's an amazingly demanding - and therefore useful - template. The process of addressing the questions as they are set out absolutely makes you consider each and every element needed to create a successful feature film project. So I suppose my first advice is: answer the question.”

“With each of our projects we were very clear that we wanted to embrace the purpose of the scheme itself. In this case that started with the project which was conceived of as a European co-production with a premise which addressed mental health in an intrinsically engaging way which will resonate with both a European and wider audience.” 

“My second piece of advice is: think about what you have as a project and whether your intention for what you want it to achieve matches up with the aims of the scheme.”

 How does this grant make a difference to your company? Why is that important?

“It's absolutely essential. There is so very little development finance available to allow small independent film companies to sustain to the point where they can deliver the best possible feature film, not just from having finance to attract the best talent, but also by being able to give them time to think about their creative work.” 

“[The funding] allows us, as a company, to attract strong partners who will work with us packaging both this project and others on our slate. It gives us time to fully consider not just this project, but also our future intentions - so it's not just of benefit to the project for which it’s given. It's immensely helpful being able to plan for the future: knowing we have the financial backbone to ensure we will still be here.”

“But beyond this, the grant is given generously and with complete trust in recipients. That itself, I think, inspires us all to deliver to that trust.”

Would you apply for Creative Europe funding again?

“Absolutely, resoundingly and totally - YES!”

Image: Jenny Walker, CEO FoR Films