BFI NETWORK South East Script Lab 2023

September - December 2023

The aim of our Script Lab is to support up to twelve writers based in the South East to develop a short film idea over the course of three months. We will support writers to attend sessions in-person and online, meeting regularly to collaboratively develop their narrative ideas into treatments, and finally a completed draft script for a short film from 5 minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes.

The programme will be led by Cassandra Johnson-Bekoe, an experienced script editor, writer and producer. She is currently Head of Scripted Development at DARE Pictures and was previously senior development executive at Daniel Kaluuya’s production outfit 59% (find out more about Cassandra’s professional background below).

The programme will begin with a group session at the Independent Cinema Office (London). Over the course of the programme participants will receive one-to-one feedback sessions and peer-to-peer mentoring, as well as individual guidance and notes on script development. There will also be an opportunity for participants to attend the Cambridge Film Festival Industry Day, an event that will include screenings, workshops and networking, and we will host an additional networking event for Script Lab writers to meet with our Producer Lab cohort.

Applications to this programme are now closed.

Programme Timeline

Friday 1 September: In-person group session on developing idea to treatment (2-3 hours at the Independent Cinema Office, London)

Friday 15 September: Deadline for participants to submit treatment

w/c 25 September: 1:1 feedback session (30 minutes on Zoom)

Monday 23 October: Cambridge Film Festival Industry Day (attendance optional and in-person)

Friday 27 October: Deadline for participants to submit first draft

w/c 6 November: 1:1 feedback session (30 minutes on Zoom)

Friday 1 December: Deadline for participants to submit second draft

w/c 11 December: 1:1 feedback session (30 minutes on Zoom)

Friday 15 December: Final group session (2 hours on Zoom)

Fees: It is free to participate in the programme and we can provide bursaries to cover travel expenses to attend in-person sessions.

Who can apply?

  • Participation in the Script Lab is free and open to writers working in any creative discipline who have an idea for a short film under 15 minutes in length.
  • We welcome applications from individuals as well as co-writing teams. You do not need to be working with a producer or director in order to apply.
  • You must be based in the South East region (as defined by the BFI, please note this does not include London) and able to commit to attending a range of workshops, development sessions and industry events, as well as completing assigned writing work between meetings.
  • Your script idea must be original, e.g. not based on existing novels, short stories or other literary works.
  • This programme is for early short film script ideas, not ideas that are already in script form. If you have a more developed idea with an existing script, we suggest you consider applying for BFI NETWORK Short Film Funding when it reopens.
  • The programme is free and will be a hybrid of in-person and online sessions.
  • The full programme schedule is confirmed and we expect all participants to commit to all the session dates. Times for each session will be confirmed at a later date.
  • Attending the Cambridge Film Festival Industry Day and the networking opportunities we offer are optional, but we recommend taking part as it’s a great way to meet industry contacts.

Course leader

Cassandra Johnson-Bekoe

Cassandra Johnson-Bekoe is a writer, script editor and producer based in South West London. After working as a bouncer to fund her Screenwriting certificate from the Met Film School, Cassandra’s way into the industry was through the Mama Youth Project in 2016. Over the years she has worked in scripted development for some of the leading production companies. Her production credits include Ted Lasso S2, Riches, Secret Invasion for Marvel Studios and The Chemistry of Death. Currently, Cassandra is Head of Scripted Development for Dare Pictures.

Cassandra has co-founded two collectives. The first, ‘The Colab’, was founded in 2018 as a diverse network for industry professionals; it currently has over 250 members. The second, ‘Black Women in Scripted’, was founded in 2020, and currently boasts over 300 members – a mix of established and award-winning writers, producers, and execs, as well as new industry talent. The collective has successfully partnered with Casarotto as well as Curtis Brown in the past to aid new writers gaining representation. In 2022, BBC Studios hosted the first Black Women In Scripted event which further boasted the profile of the collective.

How to apply

Complete the application form at the bottom of this page by 5pm, Monday 3 July 2023. You may also attach video or sound recordings in place of text when submitting this form.

As part of your application, please also complete a Diversity Monitoring Form. We’re collecting this information to help us evaluate our work to increase diversity and inclusivity in the sector. The information you provide here will be anonymous and won’t be connected to or identifiable with your application.

Before applying, please ensure you have read through the ‘Who can apply?’ section above and that you fulfill the criteria.

Please note: you will not receive a confirmation email on completion of the application form. After submitting the form, please scroll back down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a message confirming your application.

If you need any support in completing your application, or have any queries about the application process or your eligibility, please contact us at:

Application timeline

  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an informal Zoom interview in mid-July 2023
  • Selected applicants will be notified by end of July


Applications are now closed for this programme.

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