Bridging the Gap is one of the leading documentary new talent initiatives in the UK, offering documentary development training, a cash budget, production support, and up to one year of international festival distribution. This opportunity is open to emerging filmmakers based in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Applications for Bridging the Gap 2020-2021 are now closed.

For our 18th edition of Bridging the Gap we are asking filmmakers to respond to the theme of MOBILE.

This year’s theme is a challenge for applicants to define and redefine mobile through ideas, characters and stories. We want you to surprise us with submissions that embrace the scope of the theme and subvert expectations in terms of form and content.

Flore Cosquer, SDI’s Head of Talent Development, outlines some of the key application requirements below:

Watch our launch event video for inspiration and advice from filmmakers Ruth Reid (Night Shift, Scheme Birds) and Chico Pereira (Polaris, Donkeyote).

On the theme of MOBILE, SDI Director Noé Mendelle says:

This year we will be working with the theme of MOBILE. All of us, suspended by one thread and only allowed to rotate!

It feels appropriate having spent a few months of enforced immobility that we should look for characters and stories sharing new ways of perceiving their world and understanding the value of movement. We can no longer take it for granted, so let’s give voice to people whose mobility is restrained be it physical, economic, political or identity.

Black Lives Matter combined with the challenge of Covid make 2020 a year of real change as the twin crises put the spotlight on inequality as never before, but also on the notion of borders. Writer, Taye Selasi, points out that we learned to speak of countries’ borders as if they are fixed, but all of us in our lifetime have seen countries disappear and appear. She reminds us that cultures are real but countries are invented and that we have been privileging the romantic, fictive dream of the singular country over reality: human experience. All experience is local and all identity is experience…

So, let’s find those stories that will make us transcend our conservative understanding of boundaries and their limitations.

And finally, in the words of French director, Robert Bresson: “Make visible, what without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”

Up to 12 ideas will be short-listed and taken through 3 development workshops and up to five projects will be commissioned with an £8,000 cash budget each. These 5 films will receive further hands-on support, right the way through to the editing period, and then distributed in festivals and cinemas for up to 1 year.

The films produced to date have enabled filmmakers to take successful first steps in the industry, picking up awards, BAFTAs, special mentions and festival screenings in 60 countries world-wide.

Information & Guidelines on how to apply

To see what our filmmakers have made, here is a compilation trailer below. Or watch the specific film trailers here.

Contact us at

Scottish Documentary Institute is committed to offering clear and accessible application processes open to everyone. On request this information is available in alternative formats. We offer access support to disabled applicants, tailored to individual requests and our team can offer advice to new applicants and support them to make an application.

Bridging the Gap is supported by Screen Scotland, the University of Edinburgh, and Northern Ireland Screen.

© photo: Noe Mendelle

Applications Now Closed

Find out more about Bridging the Gap


Follow us on Twitter for regular updates


Get new opportunities straight to your inbox!

Sign up to our newsletter