How can you use archival film to inspire and inform new stories? The Make Film History project opens up access to 200 archive films from the BBC Archive, BFI National Archive, Irish Film Institute and Northern Ireland Screen for creative reinterpretation by aspiring filmmakers.

In association with Birkbeck’s Essay Film Festival, the Make Film History team are currently looking for 12 participants for an archive-based filmmaking workshop, incorporating two mentoring sessions and a final screening. The workshop element will begin in June and will be led by experienced filmmakers who work with the archive in their artistic practice. The mentors will help the workshop participants to develop their filmmaking skills through producing a new archive-inspired piece, which will be presented at a screening event at Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image in autumn 2021. 

Operating at the intersection of digital technology and the historical archive, this is a wonderful opportunity for ambitious but inexperienced filmmakers across the UK and Ireland who wish to engage imaginatively with the enormous untapped potential of archive film, and to learn to integrate it into their practice, with the help of the mentoring workshops.

We are looking for expressions of interest from potential participants with ideas about the reinterpretation of archives and with a passion for filmmaking but who do not have professional film experience. To apply, please send us 200 words about yourself, noting any previous production experience, and a short response (no more than 300 words) to one of the films listed on the Make Film History website, suggesting how you might creatively respond to it. If you wish to send samples of previous work, in any medium, you may do so, but this is absolutely not a requirement. We are not looking for scripts, just an indication of how your voice, style and vision can offer a fresh and original perspective on your chosen film and theme.

Up to 12 participants will be selected for this project, with 4 places prioritised for postgraduate students at CHASE institutions. Please note that this call for proposals is not intended for experienced filmmakers.

Please send expressions of interest to Colm McAuliffe ( copying to Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image ( by 17:00 Thursday 27 May 2021.

The Essay Film Festival is supported by the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership.


Make Film History:

Essay Film Festival: