Student Short Film Tariff | British Board of Film Classification
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Student Short Film Tariff

We help to support student and emerging filmmakers by offering a discount when we classify their short films, subject to certain qualifying criteria.

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

All feature films, short films and trailers to be shown theatrically must be submitted to the BBFC for an age rating, unless permission to screen it without a BBFC age rating is given by the local authority in the area the film is being shown.

What can/can't I submit?

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

If you are releasing on more than one format, please contact us to discuss the submission process.

All films submitted to the BBFC for classification must be the full, final edit in the correct screen ratio with final sound mix.

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 receive and measure 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 should 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. For funding and training initiatives, this should be 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 3pm the working day before examination. Any KDMs or download links must be emailed to by the same deadline. If have you have any questions, please contact Projection on 020 7440 1570. Our premises are closed until further notice, but we're still working. Please contact us on as this phone line is not currently in use.

Alternatively external viewings can be arranged depending on availability. Please contact the Customer Helpline to find out more.

How much does it cost?

Details of fees and service charges 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 age rating symbol. Black cards are issued in an electronic format and emailed to you or your primary contact. The black card should appear before the start of the film for five seconds.


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 will receive an age rating, Ratings info appropriate to the age rating (e.g. “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 make the age rating decision, we tweet it and publish it on our website along with the full Ratings info for your film.

What formats do you accept?

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

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 can 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 age 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?

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 meets the discount eligibility criteria. We can however, only, offer one discount per film.

Once my film is given an age rating for cinema release, can I also use the BBFC’s age 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 age rating 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 doesn’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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