British Board of Film Classification

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Student Short Film Tariff

The BBFC is keen to support student and emerging filmmakers by offering a discount on the submission of their short films, subject to certain qualifying criteria.

Please note that BBFC fees and services are changing in 2015.

When do I need to get an age rating for my work?

All feature films, short films and trailers which are to be shown theatrically must be submitted to the BBFC, unless permission has been granted by the local authority in the area that the work is being shown.

What can/can't I submit?

Films must be submitted in the format that they are going to be released i.e. works only being released digitally must be submitted as a DCP with relevant KDM, likewise 3D works must be submitted in 3D etc.

Works being released both digitally and on 35mm can be submitted in either format.

There are also some technical requirements which can be found here.

The Qualifying Criteria

1) The film’s running time must not exceed 40 minutes (including credits). Please note, if a submission proves to be longer than 40 minutes once we have received and measured it, it will be put on hold prior to viewing and will be subject to the full fee.

2) The film can be either fiction or non-fiction, but cannot be a trailer, advert, music promo, ident or similar.

3) At the time of filming, the primary contact must have been: 

  • a student on a course at a film school, or 
  • a student on a Film/Media Studies course at a university, college or other higher education establishment, or
  • a pupil on a Film/Media Studies course at a school, academy or other education establishment

or the film must have been:

  • created through a recognised funding scheme for young/first-time filmmakers run by a charity or similar youth organisation (e.g. BYFA, Clapperboard), or
  • created through a recognised filmmaking training initiative (e.g. First Light, Second Light)

To be eligible for the Student Short Film Tariff, the film must be submitted to the BBFC by the filmmaker, no more than two academic years after the end of the course or funding programme.

4) Proof of affiliation must be uploaded when completing the submission form. For film schools and all other educational establishments, this must be in the form of a letter from the head of department or course convenor. For funding and training initiatives, this must be in the form of a suitable proof of acceptance.

Please note, works submitted for the Student Short Film Tariff are not eligible for Pre-Booking Express (PBE).

How do I submit?

In order to submit a work please make an entry on our extranet service.  You will need to request a date, please note slots are issued on a first come, first served basis.

If you do not have an account you may request one here.

Please then deliver your film to the BBFC offices here, or alternatively make the content available for download.

Works submitted digitally must arrive, along with payment by 12pm on the working day before examination. Any KDMs and/or usernames must be emailed to projection@bbfc.co.uk.

Alternatively external viewings can be arranged depending on availability. Please contact the Customer Helpline here.

How much does it cost?

Details of fees are available here.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

Black Cards

Feature films and short films will be issued with a Black Card which includes the title, BBFC register number and category symbol. Black Cards are issued in an electronic format and emailed to the primary contact.  The Black Card must appear at the front of the film for five seconds. 

FAQs

If I submit my film for the discount, do I still get a ‘real’ classification?

Yes. Your film will go through the standard classification process, and all classified films receive an age rating, a BBFCinsight summary appropriate to the rating (e.g. “Contains strong language”), a classification certificate and a BBFC digital black card to be shown on screen before the film begins. Also, as soon as we have made the age rating decision, we tweet it and publish it on our website along with the full BBFCinsight for your film.

What formats do you accept?

As with all films being submitted for classification, we need to see your film in the format you will use for its release. If you have any query about formats, please contact us.  Please see above for how to submit.

Can I submit my film to you before it’s finished?

We can only classify the finished version of your film. If you wish to submit an unfinished version to us, we can give you advice as to the likely age rating, but you’ll still need to submit the finished film to us for classification before you can release it.  Please see here for fees.

You say that to qualify for the discount the film has to be 40 minutes or less, including credits. My film is 45 minutes long. Why don’t you consider that to be a short film?

We know that films of all different lengths exist, but we are required to agree upon a cut-off point. BAFTA and AMPAS are two recognised organisations that define a short film as being 40 minutes or less for the purposes of their awards, and we use the same criteria in line with this standard.

I would like to show my film in my local cinema. Does it have to be classified by the BBFC before I can show it?

Not necessarily. Your local council has the power to grant permission for the cinema to show your film, and so you may wish to ask for them to classify it for you. A BBFC rating is recognised nationally and would permit you to show your film in cinemas around the UK, without seeking permission from any local council.

I’ve made a short film, but I’m not a student or connected with any funding or training initiatives. Why can’t I receive the discount?

We want to enable new and emerging filmmakers to take into cinemas the films they create through national, regional and other educational and industry supported initiatives. Unfortunately we cannot offer this service to everyone and by working with those already studying film production, we aim to support the success of existing educational and funding initiatives.

If I get a discount for my film, and then I make another film, can I get a discount for that one too?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of discounts you can receive, as long as each time you apply for the discount the film that you are submitting satisfies the discount eligibility criteria. We can only, however, offer one discount per film.

Once my film has been classified for cinema release, can I also use the BBFC’s rating for DVD/Blu-ray release and for release as a download?

A theatrical rating is valid only for UK cinema showings of a film. DVD/Blu-ray and digital download releases require a separate classification and attract other discounts. Please check our information on video ratings and digital video ratings.

I’m not based in the UK. Your eligibility criteria don’t mention anything about the discount being only for UK residents. I think I could be eligible for the discount. Can I apply for it?

Yes. This offer is open to filmmakers from all over the world. As long as you are on a qualifying course or affiliated to a recognised industry funding or training initiative in your country and send us the appropriate qualifying documentation, you can receive the discount.

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