Independent film company offering grants and support to new North West documentary makers

01 December 2023

Northern Heart Films, a Greater Manchester film production company, have announced the launch of the second cohort of their own independent grassroots scheme which supports emerging documentary makers in the North West.

Independent film company offering grants and support to new North West documentary makers

The ‘Northern Heart Doc Fund’ was first established in 2022 and has already supported 3 filmmakers, boosting their career opportunities and connections. The scheme is built to support the making of a short documentary over the course of six months.

Applications are currently open for the 23-24 fund which includes an even bigger and better support package than last year. 

Sam Oddie (22-23 cohort) said:

“Northern Heart genuinely cares about us. Whatever we needed they would actively go out and source.”

This year 3 more emerging filmmakers will win a £1000 grant courtesy of Wigan Council and Creative Lancashire plus a bunch of other prizes from our generous supporters.

This includes a professional sound mix and colour grade at Sticks & Glass, an industry pass to Sheffield DocFest, one of the world’s leading documentary film festivals and mentorship from the founders of Northern Heart.

Not only that but the 3  filmmakers will also be invited to screen their films and take part in a Q&A at cinemas in the North and South courtesy of Leigh Film Factory and Olympic Studios. This is a wonderful chance for the filmmakers to show their work to industry professionals and gain valuable connections to help boost their career.

You can find out more and apply:

The theme for 23-24 is: WORKING CLASS.

With the theme ‘Working Class’ Northern Heart are seeking authentic documentary projects that celebrate and explore the lives, experiences and triumphs of the working class.  

Applicants could be a working class filmmaker or have an idea that could offer a new perspective on working class identity.

Northern Heart hopes that including this theme will offer a voice to the working class and shed light on their often-overlooked perspectives.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: midnight 5th of January 2024. MORE INFO & APPLY:

Scott Bradley, Co-founder of Northern Heart, says,

“This scheme is incredibly unique. It’s been set up by us, filmmakers for filmmakers. We don’t get paid to do this. It’s not set up for profit or because we need to tick boxes. Northern Heart is a brand we have built over the past 7 years. We are passionate about telling proper stories and working with organisations that care. That passion expands to how we work behind the camera. We are supporting new filmmakers and challenging our industry leaders to do the same.”

Northern Heart acknowledges that it’s a difficult time for Film and TV at the moment. Despite its global reach, it still faces significant challenges in terms of diversity and inclusion. Working-class voices, in particular, often struggle to gain access to the resources and opportunities they need to find a way into the industry, and make a success of their careers.

Scott and Natasha at Film Factory

Natasha Hawthornthwaite, Co-founder of Northern Heart, says 

“We set this up because we genuinely believe there’s a lack of funding and support for independent documentary filmmakers in the UK. Chances of funding are even slimmer when you're based in the North, outside of London and you’re from a working class background.

As filmmakers ourselves we know that many start by making short independent films, mostly with zero funding. These shorts are so important as they act as calling cards for future funding and opportunities. We want to help those emerging filmmakers by providing a grant and wrap-around support so they can ensure their films have a professional quality, and have a good chance of being seen by the right people.

Since I was selected on the Creative UK Female Founders scheme in 2022 I’ve realised how important being part of a community is to develop your career. Having a support network around you who champion each other is a vital part of making it in this industry. I truly believe when someone believes in you, you can do things far beyond what you thought were capable.”

Northern Heart will be running an online drop in session on the 5th of December at 6pm for potential applicants to meet the founders and ask questions. Book on Eventbrite

Who are Northern Heart:

Northern Heart, is an award-winning commercial and documentary production company. They are home to award-winning storytellers and documentary filmmakers, championing inspirational stories and authentic voices.

They collaborate with charities, NGOs, and purpose-led brands who believe in the transformative power of emotive storytelling, Northern Heart's films serve as catalysts for broader conversations, meaningful action, and genuine change.

Their narratives have inspired significant impact for a multitude of brilliant charities and purpose-led brands, garnering international recognition and accolades, including screenings at international film festivals and the Houses of Parliament.

Operating from their friendly base in the North-West of England, Northern Heart continues to harness the power of storytelling to create positive change.

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