Bridging the Gap is a brilliant scheme which funds 10 minute cinematic documentaries from people with experience, but without a broadcast credit.
They shortlist 12 projects, which are then developed over several months with a series of masterclasses and experts, this year including Marc Isaacs and Nicolas Philibertand.
Then in December everyone must pitch their film to a panel, and seven are chosen. These people each get an £8k cash budget to make their film, and lots of other in kinds support too. It’s run by the Scottish Documentary Institute, who I really rate for their passion and commitment to the art of documentary.
The theme this year is FUTURE and you can find out how to apply here.
I saw most of last year’s films on the theme of HOME at Edinburgh Film Festival this summer. The one I found most endearing was Lindsay Goodall’s Irene, a portrait of her nan, who is feisty with a fast fading memory due to Alzheimer’s. It was filmed with humour and evidently benefited from story development, which often lacks in short docs. Her mentors helped craft the observational documentary into a structured piece about the leaving of her home-is-where-the-heart-is to move into a residential home. A few from this slate have been selected to play at this year’s Sheffield Doc Fest.
If you want to watch some now, several of the older Bridging the Gap films are streamed on the newly spruced Docscene website. I just watched Alice Nelson’s A Difficult Case, a strangely lovely story about internal voices and a brain tumour, which shows how different an ‘extraordinary’ medical story film can look from the conventional television approach. Alice Nelson is one of Scotland’s leading documentary talents, and was nominated for a BAFTA for her subsequent 3MW series Losing Myself.