The Arts Institute Film Commission 2021

The Arts Institute Film Commission takes place annually in celebration of the partnership with The Box, Plymouth. Now in its fourth iteration, the 2021 commission will once again showcase the very best from this open call to artists and filmmakers.

To coincide with The Arts Institute’s autumn theme of Storytelling, and a major exhibition across The Arts Institute and The Box in late 2021, the selected filmmaker will use the commission to explore one or more of the exhibition's themes which include: 

diversity of cultures and languages; oral and visual traditions of sharing knowledge; creation stories; systems of mapping landscapes; the relationship between people and the land; objects as repositories of meaning; meeting of ancient knowledge and new technologies; anthropology and ethnography; spirituality.

The selected artist/filmmaker will be awarded a prize of £3,500.

Through this annual film commission, The Box aims to build a body of work that reflects on Plymouth’s film heritage and looks towards its future.

Filmmakers and curators will be expected to create new work, which will – either wholly or in part – use archive material from The Box to reflect on the experience of living in the South West. The Film Commission is aimed at work which explores innovative ways of animating the film archive and increasing awareness of and accessibility to the film collection.

The new film will be premiered in December 2021 at the Jill Craigie Cinema, University of Plymouth.

Selection criteria

  • Only one film presentation is selected for each commission.
  • We look for an imaginative response to The Box’s film collection with the aim of presenting historical footage that re-enlivens the past and connects to the present. We are open to different styles and approaches, with an emphasis on imaginative interpretation and representation of archive material.
  • A track record of film delivery and an outline of promotion of the film.
  • Evidence of budget management – producing/presenting film within budgets.

Selection Panel

Anna Navas I Film Programmer at The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth and Director of Plymouth Arts Cinema
Mary Costello | Exhibitions Coordinator for The Arts Institute and Associate Lecturer in Art History, University of Plymouth
Dr Kayla Parker I Artist film-maker, and Lecturer in Media Arts, University of Plymouth
Professor Michael Punt I Transtechnology Research, University of Plymouth
The Box I A representative from the film archive


Still from 'Diviner' by Frances Scott, winner of the 2017 Film Commission Prize

Still from 'Diviner' by Frances Scott, winner of the 2017 Film Commission Prize

How to apply

Filmmakers are invited to apply to The Arts Institute Film Commission with a short written statement (500 words max.), a portfolio or CV, and an outline as to how the final film will be distributed/promoted. The selection panel is particularly interested in supporting the development of a film for submission to film festivals, therefore filmmakers are encouraged to include any plans to submit to named film festivals. 

CVs and statements must evidence the completion and delivery of previous film projects. Submission deadline: 14 June 2021, midnight – Find out more.

Submit your proposal

Supporting the presentation of film and cinema

The Arts Institute's Jill Craigie Cinema is named after British documentary film director, actor, writer and feminist Jill Craigie (1914-1999). Craigie directed The Way We Live (1946), which was filmed in war-damaged Plymouth and the first documentary film shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946.

Located in the Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth, the cinema seats 127 and is equipped with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound as well as projectors enabling screenings of 35mm, 16mm formats and DVD/Blu-ray formats.

The Arts Institute is a passionate advocate for film, recognising its ability to entertain, explore and inspire, and regularly works in partnership with other independent cinemas and art organisations to promote the diversity of cinema. Past cinema programmes have supported popular cult classics and artist films, opening up the rich history of cinematography alongside the latest in contemporary cinema to a wide range of audiences.

The Jill Craigie Cinema remains temporarily closed until further notice.

The Jill Craigie Cinema remains temporarily closed until further notice.

Inside The Box's Media Lab. Photograph by Dom Moore.

Inside The Box's Media Lab. Photograph by Dom Moore.

The Box, Plymouth

The Box's moving image collections, formerly held by the South West Film and Television Archive, comprise more than 250,000 titles maintained in their original, digital and born digital formats. They form one of the largest regional film archives in the UK and are recognised nationally as a significant screen heritage collection.

Preserved in specialist cold and freezer stores within The Box alongside other media collections, they depict many changes in the city and region from the late 1890s to the present day.

Discover more about The Box

Delivered by The Box and The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth partnership.