BBC Storyville Early Stage Development Pitch

A full room of people sat down, facing a panel of four people sat on a stage. To the left of them is a screen showing the faces of two people, both have short curly hair.

BBC Storyville is delighted to announce a unique opportunity to pitch to be part of a new development programme at Sheffield DocFest. Storyville is passionate about feature documentaries, telling timely stories from across the world.

Open to Directors who have made at least one documentary for theatrical release or broadcast television, selected finalists will pitch in person, sharing new ideas for consideration by the Storyville Commissioners, Emma Hindley and Lucie Kon, alongside other industry professionals, at a live industry session in Sheffield on Saturday 17 June.


What are Storyville looking for?

This is a pitch for early-stage projects seeking development funding and support.

Storyville are looking for ideas for compelling international stories that will resonate with and engage their audience.

Consideration will be given to projects from emerging, diverse filmmaking talent.


Who can apply?

Storyville are keen to support emerging talent that have directed at least one film for tv or theatrical release so far, and have the skills to take what they have learned to the next level. 

If selected, finalists must be available to attend the pitch event in person, including covering any transport and accommodation costs. Those unable to make this commitment will not be able to participate in the event.


The Prize

  • There is a total prize pot of £3,000. Depending on the strength of project pitches, Storyville may split this between two different projects or award to one single winner. 
  • Winners will receive support from one of the Storyville Commissioners via follow-up meeting. 
  • Where appropriate, winners will be introduced to Producers/ Production Companies who will be able to support them should their ideas get taken into production.


The Entry Process

To apply to pitch, please click here first to register for access to the Storyville Commissioning website, and then, once access has been granted, to upload your idea.

All ideas must be uploaded by 23:59 BST on Wednesday 17 May.

  • In the box marked ‘Project Title’, please write ‘STORYVILLE SHEFFIELD PITCH’.
  • In the box marked ‘logline’, write no more than 120 words summing up your idea. 
  • In the box marked ‘synopsis’, write no more than 250 words telling us what the story is that you want to tell (think about this as the billing/ press release for the film. Keep it simple, clear, and punchy)
  • In the section marked ‘Materials and Files’, please upload an up-to-date CV and showreel of no more than ten minutes in length and only including examples of work you have directed.
  • Please also upload a document with answers to the following questions. Each answer should be no more than 500 words. 
    • How will you tell the story?
    • What is the approach you want to take to the storytelling in your film? Is this an observational documentary? An animation? what will we see on the screen? Who are the key characters? Where and how will you film? 
    • How will the development funding help you?
    • Perhaps you need some money to invest in  a high level security assessment to demonstrate that there is a safe and effective way to make your film, to some  access, or to pay for a day or two in an edit to cut some material you have in the can as ‘proof of concept’. It really is up to you to explain what you need the money for, and how you will make best use of public funds with this support.


Decision and Notification

Applicants will hear whether they have been selected by Friday 19 May 2023.

Storyville will invite five finalists to pitch for this development opportunity in front of the Storyville Commissioners, another industry professional and a live audience during Sheffield DocFest. 

All  finalists will be offered a full Industry Pass, which will give access to the full festival programme of events.

More details about the pitch format and timings will be provided to those who are shortlisted. 

BBC Storyville's decision in selecting finalists to participate, and the winner, is final and discretionary.


BBC Storyville logo

Our Partners