Calling for filmmakers to get creative in 90 seconds or less

We’re inviting filmmakers and those of you hoping to get into filmmaking to join in #shortitout for some light relief, peer support and inspiration.

As we’re all experiencing the unprecedented and dealing with various challenging situations in different ways, we believe that film can play an important role in getting us through this and bringing us together. Whilst some of us are struggling with isolation, stress or even grief, and others are just at a loose end looking for something to do and for people to connect with; we all have stories to share.

 “Working with Encounters, Watershed and other industry partners to present #shortitout enables us to collectively create an important cultural legacy of this unique period of time, as well as a valuable outlet for us to continue our work in supporting and developing great filmmaking talent.” Jessica Loveland, Head of BFI NETWORK

Many of us will also hopefully have access to some very basic filmmaking equipment like a phone so why not have a go at making a DIY short or perhaps reworking an existing piece and sharing it with the wider filmmaking community using the #shortitout hashtag.

Encouraging people to capture and share their view of this unique moment, the ambition is to build a creative community as well as create a cultural legacy through film.

We’re encouraging everyone to try the 90 secs or under format as it’s such an accessible format to work with and to watch.


We’re delighted to kick things off with a new BFI NETWORK commissioned short by Manchester based writer-director-actor Harry Sheriff Harry who makes low budget shorts usually all set within his flat or his neighbourhood. Also take a look at his DIY top tips.

Over the next few months, Encounters Film Festival and Watershed are teaming up with BFI NETWORK and partners to bring you various opportunities at

  • watch short films for FREE from the comfort of your home
  • access and share filmmaking tips
  • share your own film films using the #shortitout hashtag
  • connect with the wider community joining in watchalongs and filmmaker Q&As

Look out for playlists we’ve started curating for you with our friends at Encounters Film Festival starting with The Room. As we’re all stuck inside, we may think that we have limited options for where and how we can film. However, this list of short films all shot in one room prove that there’s a wold of opportunities within your four walls.

Share your shorts with the #shortitout hashtag

#shortitout launches today, Thursday 16 April, and closes on Thursday 4 June. Filmmakers are invited to share their films on social platforms. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re working in or what you are filming on, just give it a go. Make your film and upload it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and add the hashtag #shortitout. We’ll be looking out for your films.

Why get involved?

In June a selection of films from the UK will be hosted on BFI Player and that selection will be held in the BFI National Archive. This is part of the archive’s vital work ensuring it protects the nations screen heritage, and allows future generations to access these creative responses to this exceptional time.

Some of the most innovative and original films will also be presented on the dedicated #shortitout online hub as part of Encounters Film Festival.

If you do manage to create a short by 4 June 2020, a reminder that it can also be submitted for FREE into this year’s Depict short film competition and be in with a chance of being showcased at the upcoming Encounters festival and of winning some great prizes and things money can’t buy.


Connect with the wider community by joining in watchalongs and Q&As with celebrated filmmakers such as writer/directors Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Appropriate Behavior), Jim Cummings (Thunder Road) and Depict alumnus Rachel Tillotson (Last Man Out.)

For now, register for updates and special events by joining the Depict mailing list


Get in touch with us at:

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This initiative is brought to you by Encounters Film Festival, BFI NETWORK and Watershed as part of Depict 2020 with partners including BAFTA, BBC Creative and Channel 4.