Scottish Documentary Institute Opens Call To All Scottish-Based Filmmakers.


Bridging the Gap is one of the leading documentary new talent initiatives in the UK, offering intensive training, a cash budget and chances of international distribution for short documentary films made by up-and-coming Scottish talents.

This year, filmmakers are invited to submit ideas responding to the theme ‘Women’. It is an opportunity for applicants of all genders to respond creatively to a subject that is at once topical and universal. Filmmakers are encouraged to think laterally and innovatively about the subject, embracing the scope it affords to tell a story that can speak to us all.

The initiative, now in its 13th year, offers 10 emerging Scottish-based filmmakers the opportunity to take part in a creative training programme in order to develop their 10 minute documentary projects and work closely with the Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI) and leading filmmakers in the field (previous tutors include Jennifer Fox, Nicholas Phillibert, Nick Broomfield, Phie Ambo, Thierry Garrel).

Four projects will then be commissioned at an industry pitching session in December 2015, with a cash budget of £8K each (plus in-kind production and distribution support) and further hands-on training, right the way through the editing period. The films are geared for distribution in cinemas and festivals.
SDI are especially excited that this year award winning documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto will be the initiative’s Ambassador, offering support throughout the development and production period. Speaking about this year’s project she said, “In recent years I have been incredibly excited and inspired by the high quality of film making to have come out of Scotland. I am delighted to be part of an initiative that plays such an integral role in nurturing that talent and am particularly keen to see the diverse ways in which applicants respond to this rich theme.”
The films produced to date have enabled the filmmakers to take successful first steps in the industry, picking up awards, BAFTAs, special mentions and festival screenings in 60 countries world-wide. Edinburgh International Film Festival, Sundance, Sheffield Doc/Fest, SXSW, IDFA and many other first class international film festivals regularly select Bridging the Gap films and a recent production, The Perfect Fit, was short-listed for an Oscar®.
Noe Mendelle, director of Scottish Documentary Institute, said: “We’re very proud to have seen so many Bridging the Gap filmmakers blossom into fully fledged filmmakers over the years, nourishing the national and international documentary scene. We are committed to continuing this legacy and supporting the talent that we know exists within Scotland”

Bridging the Gap is supported by Creative Scotland, which cites SDI as their principal partner in delivering talent development for documentary. Edinburgh College of Art / University of Edinburgh, where SDI is based, also supports the initiative in kind.
Leslie Finlay, Screen Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “The Scottish Documentary Institute is a world leader in discovering and nurturing outstanding Scottish based documentary talent and showcasing their films internationally. Creative Scotland is delighted to continue our support of Bridging the Gap as it celebrates its thirteenth year with another great theme to excite and challenge filmmakers.”
The call is now open, with a deadline for applications of 4th October 2015

The initiative will also present inspiration workshops across Scotland in September to encourage applications to Bridging the Gap and meet new talents, as well as a series of public documentary masterclasses in Edinburgh, highlights of which will be available online ( and as a podcast ( for the benefit of the wider filmmaking community.