Bbc north pitch image

Sheffield Doc/Fest is delighted to announce the BBC Northern Docs Pitch, which we’re hosting in partnership with the BBC. 

The BBC is on a mission to start new collaborations with talented filmmakers based in the north of England with some directing or relevant production experience but who are yet to direct a commissioned long-form film. This is an open call for directors to submit new film ideas for consideration by BBC commissioners. Once applications have been reviewed, we will invite five directors to pitch to a panel of commissioners and industry representatives in front of a live audience during Sheffield Doc/Fest. The BBC will announce the winning pitch on the day.

The director of the winning pitch will be offered a commission to make a long form film for the BBC plus mentoring and production support from an independent production company based in the north of England.


The successful director will receive the following:
• A long form BBC commission offer in 2019 for BBC Three.
• Support from a northern-based independent production company who will provide mentoring and executive producing support.


Five shortlisted directors will vie to prove that they are ready to take on the challenge of a long form documentary for BBC Three. Each director will introduce their proposed film idea in front of an audience and a panel of BBC commissioners and industry representatives. Together the panel will decide – in front of the Sheffield audience – who has the most promising idea with a subject and approach that will really work for the BBC Three audience and award the prize at the end of the session. 


Applicants will need to submit an up-to-date CV and a one-page summary of their project. The candidate must think carefully about why it belongs on BBC Three and how it will appeal to a younger audience. Subjects that the younger audiences engage with are usually ones that directly affect their lives – identity, drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships… but there must be story.

Applicants for the BBC Northern Docs Pitch must be available to attend the pitch event on Tuesday 12 June as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest. If you cannot make this commitment, you are not eligible to enter the pitch competition. All five finalists will be offered a Festival Day Pass, which will give access to all Doc/Fest films, events and sessions on the day. 


• Filmmakers who have not yet directed their own longform documentary for a TV channel. 

• Filmmakers living in the following counties: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Cumbria, County Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and Leicestershire. 


Submit an up-to-date CV and a one-page summary of your project to the Sheffield Doc/Fest Marketplace team at by 5pm GMT on Wednesday 23 May. For any queries regarding The BBC Northern Docs Pitch, please contact

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