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Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research in Film Awards 2020

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We closed for entries for the Research in Film Awards 2020 on 25 June. We’ll be in touch to let you know if you’re shortlisted in September, and we’ll announce the winners on 10 November 2020. Good luck!

The Awards, which are now in their sixth year, showcase new and emerging talent in filmmaking linked to arts and humanities research and celebrate the best of a growing number of high-quality short films (defined as no more than 30 minutes in length) that bring arts and humanities research to a wider public audience.

The winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony at BFI Southbank, London, on Tuesday 10 November 2020 where they will receive a trophy and £5,000 prize money to put towards future filmmaking. 

The categories

This year’s awards categories are as follows:

  • Best Research Film of the Year
  • Best Doctoral Award or Early Career Film of the Year
  • Best Climate Emergency Film (public category)
  • Best Animated Film of the Year
  • Inspiration Award (public category)

This year the public can enter two categories: one about the climate emergency, another for films which have been inspired by the art and humanities. This could be a book, play, performance or exhibition which has fired the imagination.

Previous Research in Film Awards winners have gone on to produce further films as a result of the exposure or have gone on to secure funding, impact policymaking and secured airtime on national radio.

The Awards offer a unique opportunity for filmmakers working in the field of research to showcase their talent, while acknowledging the UK’s leading arts and humanities researchers and practitioners.

Get inspired

One of our RIFA judges, TV producer Steve Evanson, has put together his top tips on how to create an award winning film. Read his feature to help ensure your film is as successful as it can be.

If you’ve ever wondered how to approach commissioning editors, RIFA judge and Head of All 4, Channel 4 Television, Richard Davidson-Houston, provides invaluable advice on what film commissioners look for and how best to pitch your idea.

Closing Dates

Closing Date: 25/06/2020

The call for submissions closed on Thursday 25 June 2020 at 4pm.

How to make an application

How to apply

Submissions can be made across five categories. In the first instance, please read the call guidance carefully, ensuring that you meet the eligibility criteria for the category that you are entering.

  • Entrants for all categories must complete and submit the application form by 25 June 2020 at 4pm
  • All entrants are required to submit a 300-word summary explaining the film’s links with arts and humanities research, as well as a 150-word description explaining how the prize money will be used
  • You must also provide a link to the film on the free video channel Vimeo and if necessary, a password, to enable judges to access the film being submitted. If you are entering category 3.4, you are also required to send a link to the video on social media.

Provided the eligibility criteria for each is met, we will accept entries in more than one category however, a separate form must be completed for each category.

Eligibility criteria

Films entered for the Best Doctoral Award or Early Career Film of the Year category must have been produced as a result of AHRC funding. Applicants are not required to be registered as doctoral students or as part of our Early Career Researchers scheme at the point of submission or on the release date of the film, but the primary research for the film must have been conducted while the applicant was still registered.

  • The Best Research Film of the Year (3.1) and Best Animated Film of the Year (3.4) are open to anyone eligible for AHRC funding.
  • The Best Climate Emergency Film (3.3) is open to all but the film must be inspired by arts and humanities research.
  • The Inspiration Award (3.5) is open to all but the film must be inspired by arts and humanities research.
  • Films submitted in categories 3.1, 3.2 and 3.5 must have been completed or made available during the last year (since 1 April 2019).

Further Information

Visit our Research in Film Awards homepage at: ahrc.ukri.org/rifa.


For enquiries about this competition, please contact engage@ahrc.ukri.org or telephone: 01793 416060 (available Monday to Friday 08:30-16:30).

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