Focus Shorts

Focus Shorts

Focus Shorts is a short film scheme for the making of live-action, fiction films


FOCUS SHORTS is a short film scheme for the making of live-action, fiction films that act as a proving-ground for Irish creative talents aspiring to write, direct and produce films for the cinema.

It aims to encourage strong, original storytelling, visual flair, and production values appropriate to the big screen. It offers an opportunity for producers, directors and writers to work in a professional environment that will bring their experience up to a higher level and can be seen as a potential stepping stone for future full-length film-makers.

FOCUS SHORTS can be up to 10 minutes in length and receive a budget of up to €50K.

Films may be made in the English or Irish language. If produced in the Irish language, subtitling will be necessary for festivals & sales worldwide.

The deadline is 1pm Fri 7th June 2019

The online system will automatically close down at 1pm on this day so please ensure your submission is completed and submitted well in advance of the deadline as late applications will not be accepted by email or otherwise.

Parameters of the scheme:

  • Number of films: Up to 4 per year
  • Duration: 10 minutes maximum
  • Budget per film:* Maximum €50,000
  • Delivery: DCP, Prores & BluRay                                       

* The application budget should reflect costs for delivery as above and subtitling if applicable.


When preparing your submission applicants should carefully consider the production timeframe. It is the producer’s responsibility to ensure that the schedule and budget is achievable. Late delivery can affect future applications so they must bring projects to approved rough cut stage by early June 2020 latest and deliver by Aug 2020.

Who Can Apply

Applications are invited from producer/director/writer teams (where the producer and director are not the same person) subject to eligibility guidelines as follows:

  • Producers - must have previously produced at least one live action short film.*
  • Directors - must have previously directed at least one live action short film.*
  • Writers - must have previous writing experience eg. screen, published or online work (links to online work should be provided on their CV).
  • Projects submitted twice before unsuccessfully may not reapply.
  • Producers, Directors & Writers may apply to make more than one FOCUS SHORTS film but may not receive funding through the scheme more than three times.
  • The scheme is not open to full-time students

    * FOCUS SHORTS is not a wide-open scheme in terms of the talent it aims to attract: it is designed to enable the making of short films by producers and directors with strong creative voices and some measure of professional experience. Accordingly a short film made as part of college work will not be considered eligible in this context, though a graduation film that has achieved significant festival exposure might be.

For the avoidance of doubt, the writer, director and producer must all be attached at application stage and a COMPREHENSIVE CV should be submitted for each individual. Please note biogs will not suffice.


  • Submissions will be examined, with consideration given to the treatment, creative notes and the creative team. We aim to achieve gender balance across the selected creative teams. 
  • A shortlist of teams will be invited to attend an interview.
  • After a project has been shortlisted for interview, any significant changes to the treatment, schedule or key personnel may result in the withdrawal by Screen Ireland of the proposed interview. If such changes are necessary at this stage, they must be discussed with Screen Ireland.
  • Awards will be made to up to four projects depending on the quality of the submissions.
  • Teams selected must attend an information day in order to be entitled to claim their funding.

Important Features of the Scheme

FOCUS SHORTS films should be originated and creatively led by talent who are Resident in the Republic of Ireland and produced by an ROI registered production company using an ROI based crew. Irish Citizens living abroad for a time may also be considered if prepared to return for interview in the event of being shortlisted and who are also prepared to return home for the entirety of their production if successful in securing funding.

For the avoidance of doubt, if any creative contributor or HoD is not an Irish citizen and is not Resident in the Republic of Ireland, they are not eligible to either apply to or participate on the scheme. Please consider this very carefully before deciding to apply.

  • The proposed team must demonstrate their ability and methodology to complete the project on schedule and to the agreed specification. The funders will hold the producer responsible for the project and as such the producer should ensure they have full commitment from their team prior to commencement.
  • Producers must provide evidence of their ability to acquire all rights worldwide in perpetuity in all forms of media now known and to be invented.
  • Particular attention should be paid to adaptation, life rights or any necessary archival materials that are essential to the project ensuring the rights are available worldwide in perpetuity in all forms of media. Evidence of availability from the source must be included with the application and costs accounted for in the submission budget.
  • Include notes on proposed cast, key technical crew, music etc. in the production notes.
  • One producer only may be approved and credited for selected projects where they will be expected to assume full responsibility for the production.
  • The production company used to contract with the funder must be limited & registered in the ROI and only one company may be used to produce the film.
  • No outside source of funding may be added to the offer made by the funder.
  • The following rates will apply to the production budgets of all films made under the scheme:
  • The Writer, Director and Producer fees should be in line with the budget, the overall cost of the project and the intentions of the scheme. Fees deemed excessive will be adjusted should projects be selected.
  • Daily rate for cast & crew (agreed with the Film Group of Unions):  €120
  • Insurance:                             Allow 1.2% of budget
  • Contingency:                         Allow 5% of budget (production fee’s disallowed)                          
  • Screen Ireland will have approval rights over the following elements of all films made under the scheme:

                 — Shooting script (and Screen Ireland may appoint a script editor in certain cases)
                 — Budget
                 — Shooting Schedule  
                 — Casting including voice-cast requires pre-approval
                 — Key technical crew – requires pre-approval
                 — Rough Cut
                 — Credits

  • Any significant changes to a successful project’s screenplay, schedule, key personnel or cast that are not approved by Screen Ireland may result in the award being withdrawn. If such changes are necessary, they must be discussed with Screen Ireland.


  • Screen Ireland will retain non-exclusive rights in all media in Ireland and non-exclusive promotional rights for the rest of the world.  The rest of the distribution rights will remain with the film maker who can choose to appoint a sales agent or distribute the film themselves.  Screen Ireland feel this will provide vital training in the area of distribution and will enable filmmakers to build relationships with distributors directly.
  • Screen Ireland have a policy of submitting FOCUS SHORTS films to a list of approved international festivals after they have been premiered in Ireland.

How to Apply 

Applications can now be made online using the 'Make an Application' button on this page.

For any enquiries relating to this scheme or for more information on any of the short film schemes, please email 

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