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12 recipients of John Brabourne Awards announced

The Film and TV Charity is today announcing the 12 recipients of John Brabourne Awards in the second round of 2019.

The awardees include Screen International Star of Tomorrow Benjamin Bee; Sophie Reynolds, the producer behind short film BEAST starring Billie Piper; YouTube music video sensation Isaac Tomiczek; 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival Talent Lab participant Jacqueline Pepall; and 2019 Film London Lodestar and iFeatures participant Rory Bentley.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said: “We were hugely impressed with the talent and passion demonstrated by all of our awardees, many of whom came to us having already achieved some fantastic things. We’re here for the highs and the lows, and our goal with this award is to provide that extra financial and emotional support, empowering people to overcome hurdles in bringing a creative project to life. We wish all of our awardees the best of luck as they move forward in the industry.”

The prestigious John Brabourne Award is the talent development grant from The Film and TV Charity, providing a safety net and giving talented individuals the resources they need to develop or complete projects and reach their full potential.

The awarding panel are open to receiving applications to cover costs ranging from living expenses to production finance, training and festival submission fees. From sound to make-up, writing to directing, the award has been an important stepping stone for many people at an crucial moment of their careers.

Benjamin Bee, Writer/Director, said: “It’s been a wild year — I was selected as a Screen International Star of Tomorrow, signed with Katie Langridge at Knight Hall and have now been selected as a John Brabourne Award recipient.

“I’m eternally grateful to The Film and TV Charity for this award, it’s going to relieve a huge amount of pressure as I develop a number of feature and TV projects and build my career. The charity really cares about emerging talent.”

Luna Carmoon, Writer/Director, said: “When I found out I was receiving an award I really felt a sense of relief and excitement. Now I’ll have the creative freedom and the most valuable currency of all – time – to explore and learn on the journey to writing my feature.

“The award has given me the safety net to be able to create something I’ve been working towards for the last couple of years. I feel very lucky and grateful.”

Jesse Lawrence, Writer/Director, said: “Receiving a John Brabourne Award changes everything for me. At least, I’ll be able to afford time to really get writing and take my ideas and my career to the next level. It’s also a vote of confidence from some wonderful people with a lot of experience in our industry. Something to really honour and live up to.”

A total of £60,000 was awarded, with each individual receiving the total available funding of £5,000.

The winners were selected by an panel chaired by Cameron Saunders, Executive Vice-President EMEA at Paramount Pictures and a Trustee of the charity. Other members of the panel are: Michael-John Knatchbull, Kelly Knatchbull, Mark Clark, Talent Development Manager at The Film and TV Charity, and Nigel Wolland, President of the British Cinema & Television Veterans Association.

The awards are named in honour of John Brabourne, the renowned producer credited with films including A Passage to India and Murder on the Orient Express.

The Film and TV Charity provides round-the-clock financial and emotional support to everyone working behind the scenes in the film, television and cinema industry in the UK with a range of support services and talent development programmes. Last year (2018) the charity gave over £1.35m in financial aid and talent development awards to individuals seeking support.

The awardees (in alphabetical order by surname):

Benjamin Bee – Writer/Director. Bee is a multi-award-winning writer and director currently working on two feature films and developing a number of TV projects. He was selected as a Screen International Star of Tomorrow in 2019. Comedy sci-fi MARWELL was one of nine international projects selected for Venice’s Biennale College Cinema 2018-19 and Edinburgh International Film Festival’s 2019 Talent Lab Connects. HUMANS (OTHER MAMMALS) AND BIRDS is being developed with BFI Network. The film is in a world where mental health issues have physical manifestations and a man devastated by a break-up has to carry his heart around in a bag. His short STEP RIGHT UP played at more than 35 film festivals and was longlisted for the BAFTA Best Short Film Award. Benjamin’s most recent short MORDECHAI, funded by The Pears Short Film Fund at UK Jewish Film, has screened at over 30 film festivals and was also longlisted for the BAFTA in 2017. METROLAND, was funded by Creative England and the BFI and was supported by Mike Leigh. Benjamin’s award will support the development of MARWELL and HUMANS (OTHER MAMMALS) AND BIRDS.

Rory Bentley – Writer/Director. In 2019 Rory was selected as one of Film London’s Lodestars, a new initiative showcasing the brightest upcoming cinematic talent in the capital. He is a BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew member. Rory’s first feature film AMRIT is currently in development with the BFI, BBC Films and Creative England as part of their emerging talent programme, iFeatures. His latest independent short film BELONGING (2019) was part of the Official Selection at the 73rd Edinburgh International Film Festival and British Shorts Berlin. His first budgeted short VARKEN (2017) premiered internationally at Academy/BAFTA festivals. It was also featured as one of Aesthetica’s all-time favourite shorts. In 2016 he co-wrote and shot the 8mm short JAMELLA which won first prize at the Straight 8 Industry Competition, and starred Jamie Demetriou (STATH LETS FLATS). In 2018 he was assistant to Paul King (PADDINGTON) and he has been mentored by Sally Potter (ORLANDO) and Camera D’Or winner Anthony Chen (ILO ILO). Rory’s award will support the development of his iFeatures-backed debut AMRIT.

Alex Browning – Writer/Director. Alex Browning is the versatile filmmaker behind DAYLIGHT RULE, a BFI-developed Sci-Fi film shooting in 2020. Previous to this, Alex directed a number of shorts including AFTER DARK INFERNO for Channel 4. The film was in the official selection of Aesthetica and London Short Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short at the ScreenNation awards. Alex’s award will provide additional production funding for his short film DAYLIGHT RULE.

Luna Carmoon – Writer/Director. Luna Carmoon is a filmmaker from London. She is Sundance and BFI Network alumni. Her first short NOSEBLEED, premiered at the BFI London film festival in 2018, was funded through Creative England’s ShortFLIX scheme – an initiative searching for underrepresented talent in the UK in partnership with NYT and Sky Arts. The film also earned her a place on the Sundance Ignites 2019 programme. Her second short SHAGBANDS is funded by the BFI and FILM4 and is in post-production. Luna’s award will provide living and development support for her screenwriting projects.

Maria Caruana Galizia – Producer. Caruana Galizia is a producer based in Tyne and Wear. In 2013 she set up Candle & Bell with the purpose of working with regional and BAME filmmakers. In 2017 Candle & Bell was named one of the Top 50 Emerging Creative Companies in England by Creative England. Maria has produced 11 short films, including the BIFA long listed A SIX AND TWO THREES by Andy Berriman, the BAFTA long-listed MORDECHAI by Benjamin Bee, and the RTS Award-winning THEY LIVE IN FORESTS, THEY ARE EXTREMELY SHY by Saeed Taji Farouky. She currently has a number of feature films in development, including MARWELL with Benjamin Bee, developed with the Venice Biennale Cinema College. Maria’s award will support her documentary ‘6-10-17, which follows the journey of a group of activists who campaign for justice for assassinated journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Laura Jackson – Producer. Laura is a graduate of the NFTS Producing for Film + Television MA with a background in West End theatre. After graduating, Laura joined the Acquisitions team at StudioCanal UK working across the acquisition of titles including HELL OR HIGH WATER and YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE. She also produced original comedy BLEAK HOUSE GUEST which transmitted on Sky Arts in April 2019 as part of their celebrated Urban Myths strand. Executive Produced by Slam Films as a Bridges to Industry initiative with Sky and the NFTS and starring Stephen Mangan, Monica Dolan and Ian Hart, the show was Critics’ Choice in The Observer, The Times and The Telegraph. Earlier this year Laura moved to her own Cake Tin Productions. She is producing writer-director Brady Hood’s feature debut SWEET MADDIE STONE with Shoebox Films (with development funded by Creative England via the BFI NETWORK), as well as an ambitious TV project also with Brady Hood which was recently selected for the Torino SeriesLab 2020. Laura’s award will help to support her living costs as she develops her producing slate and looks to finance SWEET MADDIE STONE.

Jesse Lawrence – Writer/Director. Jesse is a writer/director of fiction and documentaries based in Bath. He is a graduate of Oxford University and the NFTS where he trained in fiction directing. His graduation film RUNT won several international awards including Best Film at Bologna, Best Film at Brest, and the Special Jury Prize at Taipei. His South West Screen fiction short ISAAC also screened at international festivals, as have segments of his ongoing arts documentary shorts series – A SPECIAL PLACE. In 2015 Jesse was selected to participate in Creative England’s South West Talent Module. In 2016 he was awarded funding from the BFI/Creative England Emerging Talent Fund to write and direct his 30-minute short IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, which has since been taken up by US distributor 7 Palms. Other recent commissions include MDMA, FIGHT and SHOPLIFTING”- three short dramas made in 2016 for Somerset Youth Offending Team; TAKE FIVE – five short dramas about mental health, made in 2018 for Charley Waller Memorial Trust; and CHANGE STEP – a fiction short made in 2019 for Veteran’s Gateway. Jesse is currently working with artist Di Mainstone on their Arts doc WONDERLOOPER. His award will enable him to write his first feature-length screenplay SARGASSO DREAMS, as well as research and develop a number of other feature ideas.

Jacqueline Pepall – Writer/Director. Jacqueline is an award-winning writer/ director for film and television. She recently directed the 2nd unit on the BBC/Netflix teen drama GET EVEN (currently in post-production). As a writer, Jacqueline’s work has been shortlisted for the Sundance Episodic Lab, 2019. Her feature film GOBLIN MARKET is in formal development with the BFI. She has a television projects in development with BBC and New Pictures. Her short film credits include WISHIN’ & HOPIN (BFI Flare 2018), THE HOTEL AFFAIR (London Short Film Festival 2018), and OPHELIA’S END (Best Film, Dallas Flicks by Chicks Film Festival 2017). She created and directed the contemporary dance series, THEN DANCE (Sky Arts 2014-2016, British National Lottery Award nominee) and the comedy pilot UPSTAGED (CBC Canada, winner: Best Pilot, LA Comedy Festival). The UK Trade and Investment Commission recently selected Jacqueline for their UK Talent Goes to Hollywood initiative, which pairs promising British directors with Hollywood studios. Jacqueline was the 2016/2017 Hospital Club Foundation’s Emerging Creative for Film and Television. In 2018, she was listed as One to Watch by the Edinburgh TV Festival. She is part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s 2019 Talent Lab. She organizes and runs annual film festival From the Wilderness championing the work of female directors. Jacqueline’s work celebrates new, underrepresented heroes, and her award will provide living and development support for three feature/TV projects, THE WILDNESS, THE COLOUR OF ICE and WITH YOU.

Neville Pierce – Filmmaker. An award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Pierce’s shorts have been selected for festivals worldwide including Fantasia, FrightFest and the London Short Film Festival. Directorial debut BRICKS was described by David Fincher as a ‘classy take on a morbid classic’, while Mark Romanek labelled fourth short PROMISE ‘superbly done’. He has a number of feature films in development and is a consultant for short film fund The Pitch. Neville is also a contributing editor for Empire, the movie magazine. His award will support the development and writing of three feature projects – P & P, and TAKE AWAY.

Sophie Reynolds – Producer. Sophie has produced several short films including award-winning MURMUR (dir. Aurora Fearnley), THE LIGHTS (part of Film London’s London Calling scheme) and most recently Charlotte Regan’s PAIRED UP which was commissioned by ARTE. In 2016, she set up her own company, SONA Films, which aims to produce British films that address real issues whilst maintaining the magic and escapism of cinema. SONA Films first completed production was BEAST (BAFTA longlisted 2019), a short gothic fairy-tale starring Billie Piper and Sinead Cusack and funded by Creative England. Sophie is currently working on her feature film development slate which includes an Anne Fine book adaptation, F.R.O.G. written by Bunmi Ogunsiji (in early development with the BFI and SPICE BOYS with writer/director Colin O’Toole. Access into the film industry is a key concern behind a lot of Sophie’s work and choice of collaborators and in 2017 she set up the UK Producers’ Roundtable, along with Helen Simmons and Loran Dunn, to address issues of access and sustainability within the film producing career and is currently working towards the first set of UK producer guidelines. Sophie’s award will support the development of her production slate.

Joshua Robertson – Writer. Aged 11, Robertson experienced a life-changing accident that left him with severe disabilities. He began his career as a stand-up comedian, performing around the world including at the Comedy Store New York, and has made numerous TV appearances. In 2019 DAD JOKE, co-written by and starring Josh in collaboration with co-writer and director David Abramsky, was commissioned by Film London and the BFI Network. An ambitious ‘1-shot’ short film in which Josh performs a make-or-break gig on the night his first child is born, the film premiered in the London Calling strand of the BFI London Film Festival. The feature version of DAD JOKE was shortlisted for Creative England’s iFeatures scheme in 2019. This award will support its development, as well as a sitcom based on Josh’s life as a disabled comedian and father.

Isaac Tomiczek – Writer/Director. Isaac is a writer and director from Brixton, South London. He began his career making videos for clients including Sony, Universal, Ministry Of Sound, and Beats By Dre, which earned him a large YouTube following and established his distinctive visual style. In 2019 he was one of twenty international writers chosen for the UGC writers’ campus at Series Mania in Lille. In 2018 his original TV drama pilot AFTERS was longlisted for the BBC Drama writers room and gained the attention of Gunpowder and Sky who commissioned him to write and direct an original TV series. Both scripts are now in development and will depict London in a bold, vivid, original and highly imaginative fashion. The first two films, of Isaac’s mind-bending SHUT EYE short film trilogy, have gained cult followings at international festivals and been selected as shorts of the month on multiple platforms. Both are now licensed to the online horror channel ALTER. Isaac’s stage plays have also been shortlisted by Arcola, Stratford Arts, Talawa, Hampstead and Bush Theatre. Isaac’s award will support production of his dystopian sci-fi musical short BAPTAZIA.

Read more about eligibility and how to apply for the next round of John Brabourne Awards.