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14 January 2019

What You Need to Know About New Short Film Fund, The Uncertain Kingdom

The Uncertain Kingdom is a new short film fund launched to give twenty filmmakers £10,000 each to make a film about how they see the UK in 2019. The project was originated by producer/director/exec John Jencks and will be produced by Jencks alongside producers Isabel Freer and (WFTV member) Georgia Goggin.

A number of established filmmakers will be invited to contribute to the project. The first directors announced are IWC Filmmaker Bursary award winner Hope Dickson Leach, Bafta Breakthrough Brit Ray Panthaki, Screen Star of Tomorrow Nathaniel Martello-White and Bafta nominee Ian Bonhôte.

Up to ten teams will be selected via an open call. Applications are now open and close on Sunday 3 February 2019. Applications can be made via theuncertainkingdom.co.uk.


Here, producers Isabel Freer (picured left) and Georgia Goggin (right) discuss the genesis of the project, what they’re looking for from applications and why the project matters.

Georgia Goggin: When did you first hear about John’s idea to do this project?

Isabel Freer: John contacted me in November with a kernel of an idea about gathering a group of filmmakers and artists together to give their response to the turbulent times in the UK. I thought it was an amazing and vital opportunity for filmmakers and creatives to shine a light on the numerous issues that surround us and the ripples they create. How did you come to be involved?

GG: Well it was funny timing for me because I’m moving to features and I’d just had a hard talk with myself and said, no more shorts. Then I got that call from John too…

IF: So, you swore to yourself never to make another short.

GG: Yeah – and then I was like, I’m going to exec twenty!

IF: It’s such an amazing opportunity to hear a broad spectrum of stories and perspectives. The ideas we’ve heard so far have been very individual, often personal, responses to issues the filmmakers are hugely passionate about.

GG: Yeah, the way that Hope [Dickson Leach] has responded to the brief, versus the way that Nat [Nathaniel Martello White] has responded to the brief – those ideas could not be more different. And I think that speaks to what we’re looking for from filmmakers who apply, which is to see a singular point of view. We want to see a unique perspective on some aspect of where we are at now in this country, that we can recognise is specific to that filmmaker.

IF: Exactly. And having a wide range of filmmakers means that when the films are screened to audiences nationwide, people will have an opportunity to engage with and be empathetic towards characters or stories they’re unfamiliar with, which would be a great result.

GG: And across twenty films, there’s potential for the films to tie into each other and somehow speak to each other and for audiences to find interesting connections between them. I can’t wait to see what we get.

IF: Me too! Whether nostalgic, enlightening, optimistic, or pessimistic…the hope is that each film will spark conversation and further thought.

GG: I hope we get some optimistic! Early on, when we were talking about our ambitions for this project John said he’d like the screenings to have almost like YouTube comments, but live. I really loved that. If you had to do all that commenting out loud, in person, you could have a real conversation that moves everyone forward. If these films could be something around which people can gather, that challenges ideas…

IF: …and makes people realise there’s a common ground between them! If we get people from different backgrounds, with different views, to watch these films together – they’d be sharing something. Maybe minds would open. I think that would be significant.


The application window for The Uncertain Kingdom is now open and will close at midnight on Sunday 3 February. Full guidelines and application details can be found at theuncertainkingdom.co.uk.