The Film and TV Charity announces recipients of its John Brabourne Awards – the 12 Writers, Directors, Casting Directors and Producers selected in the second round of 2020.
The John Brabourne Awards are the Film and TV Charity’s talent award, taking place twice a year and awarding a maximum of £5,000. The award is intended to give individuals with promising careers within film, television or exhibition the financial stability needed to complete courses, purchase essential kit or support themselves whilst developing projects.
The awarding panel looks for new voices and culturally diverse perspectives, often making awards to individuals whose work intersects film, television, arts and journalism.
Many previous awardees have gone on to festival and awards success, including 2017 awardee Ben Sharrock, whose sophomore feature Limbo recently won Best Film at the 42nd Cairo Film Festival and the Macao 5th International Film Festival & Awards. Ben’s award from the charity supported him during the writing of Limbo, an offbeat observation of refugees waiting to be granted asylum on a fictional remote Scottish island.
Other alumni include Aleem Khan (Writer/Director – After Love), Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (Producer – Blue Story), Koby Adom (Director – Noughts + Crosses), Luna Carmoon (Writer/Director – Shagbands) and Moin Hussain (Writer/Director – Naptha).
In this round the charity is supporting two Directors with a disability. Bim Ajadi, a BAFTA Breakthrough Director, will use the award to develop a short film project demonstrating his skill as a director, rather than as a deaf director, enabling him to attract more mainstream work. David Proud, who was born with Spina Bifida and uses a wheelchair, is most well-known on-screen for playing Adam Best in Eastenders. As a Writer/Director David currently has a Fellowship with the Wellcome Trust. Alongside Paul Viragh he is co-directing documentary My Extinction, produced by Lindsey Dryden, a filmmaker’s journey into the future of disability and scientific advances.
The charity is also supporting UK-based filmmakers with diverse entry points into the industry. Before becoming a Producer, Jen Corcoran, based in Teesside and Newcastle, worked in international sales and film finance. As a producer, her work has screened at Tribeca, Sheffield and BFI Flare. Jen is currently developing a slate focused on contemporary, international stories and new narratives from the northeast. Libby Penman, a filmmaker from Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and an ambassador for BAFTA’s Albert scheme, is directing a documentary examining the impact of the climate emergency on wildlife in Scotland. Libby’s award from the charity will cover the cost of specialist wildlife filmmaking equipment and fund her Masters’ graduation film.
The charity is supporting filmmakers whose work spanning genres is creating waves internationally. Jay Bedwani is a documentary filmmaker based in Cardiff whose work has screened at LGBT festivals internationally. His first feature documentary, Donna, following the story of a well-known transgender elder in San Francisco, is slated for release in early 2021. Jay’s award will fund his place on a cinematography course in London and provide development support for his second feature film. As a cinematographer, Zillah Bowes worked on projects including Enemies of Happiness, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Zillah has since directed documentaries for BBC, Channel 4 and online and collaborated with Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed. She recently completed fiction short film Staying (Aros Mae) with Sixteen Films and is developing her first fiction feature film. Filmmaker Eloise King is a former Executive Producer at VICE with over 10 years of journalism and documentary experience. As a Director/Producer her titles include Kids Behind Bars (ITV, A&E). Her work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, the V&A and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Eloise is currently developing her first feature documentary. Sky Neal is a Director Producer from Cornwall whose co-directed feature documentary Even When I Fall received a BIFA nomination. Her work has been exhibited at the V&A and the Science Museum, she has made documentaries for the BBC and Al Jazeera and she recently released The Daisy Chain for Guardian Documentaries, following a Cornish community through lockdown.
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity said: “We continue to be astonished by the creativity, dedication and talent demonstrated by every one of our John Brabourne Awardees. 2020 has been incredibly tough on people working in film and TV, many people are trying to juggle their careers and home lives, so it’s a privilege to be able to help people to take their next steps. Thanks to everyone who has made a donation this year, we’re able to keep supporting talented individuals who are the backbone of the UK industry.”
All of the charity’s services are funded by voluntary donations and the charity is actively fundraising to continue to provide these. Those interested in fundraising should contact the charity’s Head of Fundraising Tom Woodward [email protected].
The awardees (in alphabetical order by surname):
Fateme Ahmadi – Fateme is a writer-director and graduate of London Film School. She is an alumna of Berlinale Talents 2017 and EIFF Talent Lab 2019. Her short Bitter Sea was nominated for a BIFA for Best British Short in 2018. Fateme’s latest short Leila’s Blues premiered at Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival as a part of Tunisia Factory. She was one of Film London’s Lodestars in 2019. Fateme is currently developing her first feature film with producers BAFTA-nominated Jack Tarling and BFI Vision Awardee Pietro Greppi.
Bim Ajadi – Bim is a director from London whose short films have been shown at festivals around the world, most recently Aesthetica Short Film Festival. Bim co-directed Look Up for the opening of the 2012 London Paralympics Ceremony (Channel 4). 2020 saw the release of his Deaf Hip Hop drama Here/Not Here. Bim studied at NFTS and was named a BAFTA Breakthrough in 2020.
Heather Basten – Heather is a casting director based in London. She got her break into the industry at the BFI before moving into casting. She’s since cast for directors including Rob Savage, Ana Rocha De Sousa, Charlotte Regan and Adeyemi Michael. She is a member of the Casting Directors Guild and the Casting Society of America. She was selected a Film London Lodestar in 2020. Past production companies and networks casted for include Pulse Films, Film London, BFI, BBC, Sky Arts and DMC Films. Her most recent work was on No More Wings, which won Best Narrative Short at Tribeca 2020. She is known for streetcasting and for her work on feature film Listen, which won awards at Venice Film Festival 2020. Casting associate level credits include Netflix’s The End of the F**king World and Robert Egger’s The Lighthouse starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
Jay Bedwani – Jay is a Cardiff-based filmmaker specialising in character-led documentary. Jay’s short films have played at over 40 international film festivals. His film My Mother won Best UK Short at the Iris Prize Festival (Europe’s largest LGBT festival) and was chosen as BFI Network’s Postroom Pick. His 2018 film Overshare, focusing on issues related to intersectionality in the LGBTQ community, premiered at the O2 Arena in London before completing a sold-out theatre run in the UK. His last short Stretch premiered at EIFF and was awarded Best Short at Wales International Documentary Festival in 2019. Jay has trained on schemes including Bridging the Gap (Ffilm Cymru and Scottish Documentary Institute), FAMLAB (British Council and BFI) and BAFTA Crew 2018-2020. His first feature documentary Donna follows the story of a well-known transgender elder in San Francisco and is slated for release in early 2021. Jay’s award from the Film and TV Charity will fund a cinematography course in London and provide development support for his second feature film, which will begin shooting in Berkeley and New York in 2021.
Zillah Bowes – Zillah is a writer, director and photographer. She studied at the NFTS before working as a cinematographer, then as a director. Her directorial debut Small Protests was nominated for a Grierson Award and won the Current Short Cuts Vimeo Award and Best Short Documentary at the London Independent Film Festival, amongst others. She has directed documentaries for BBC, Channel 4 and online, and collaborated with Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed. Zillah recently completed her fiction short Staying (Aros Mae) with Sixteen Films, funded by the BFI/Ffilm Cymru Wales and BBC, and is developing her first fiction feature as a writer/director with the same company. As a cinematographer her feature films include Enemies of Happiness, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.
Jen Corcoran – Jen is a producer based in Teesside and Newcastle. She’s currently in production on Hide and Seek [Nascondino], a documentary portrait of a family in Naples’ fabled Spanish Quarters with BFI/Doc Society. Formerly Head of Film at My Accomplice (The Great Hack, The Quiet One) Jen’s work has screened at Tribeca Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest and BFI Flare amongst others. Jen established Freya Films in 2019 with the ambition of building a dynamic, international-facing production company with a regional base. She’s developing a slate of projects focused on progressive, contemporary storytelling and new narratives from the northeast including projects with Victoria Fiore, Paul Sng and Jenna Jovi. Jen has a professional background in international sales and film finance and from 2019 – 2020 managed award-winning regional development programme Tees Valley Screen with Northern Film + Media.
Francesca Fowler – Francesca started her career as an actress in 2004 and has been working in film and television for more than fifteen years, turning to screenwriting in 2010. Represented in both the UK and the US, she has built her portfolio with spec scripts and independent commissions. Her accolades include Comedy-Drama Pick Up, optioned by Blue Ink Films 2020. She won the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition for TV Comedy with sitcom Daisy & Robbie Struggle to Survive, now being developed with Objective Fiction. In 2018 her sitcom Party Princesses was optioned, as well as her gothic psychological thriller Lovers Lost being placed on BBC’s in-house one to watch list. In 2017 her genre bending sci-fi-anti-rom-com LOVE. HATE. REPEAT was shortlisted for the Creative England Emerging Talent Fund, and her short film Away From Me premiered at BFI FLARE.
Eloise King – Eloise is an award-winning filmmaker who adopts an interdisciplinary approach to telling complex stories that foreground marginalised perspectives within the dominant culture. Her work draws on over 10 years of journalism and documentary insights working across broadcast and digital media for BBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera English and VICE, ITV and MTV. As a former Global Executive Producer at VICE she led a multi-award-winning international documentary team, commissioning across North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Her previous titles, as a director and/or producer, include The Gatherings (Grierson nominated), Kids Behind Bars (ITV, A&E), Pins & Needles (Broadcast Award nominated), Acid Attacks and Gurls Talk (LOVIE/WEBBY). Her work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, the V&A, and Museum of the African Diaspora. Eloise is a 2020 Field of Vision grantee on the Untitled Scholars Project, which will be Eloise’s first feature documentary, a Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow and a Logan Non-fiction Fellowship grantee. She is also an alumna of Sheffield Doc/Fest Future Producers programme and an Edinburgh International Television Festival One To Watch.
Sky Neal – Sky is a director producer and founder of Satya Films. Her BFI and Sundance backed, co-directed feature documentary Even When I Fall (2018) received numerous awards, nominations and official selections including a BIFA nomination, and screened in 45 cities nationwide. Director broadcast credits include Children at Work for BBC, Nepal’s Lost Circus Children for Al Jazeera English, and she has exhibited work at the V&A and the Science Museum. Sky grew up in Cornwall and has just released a documentary for The Guardian, The Daisy Chain, which follows a Cornish community though lockdown. Her award will help her to research and develop a documentary and dance film about a mother and son, and the power of creativity to help navigate the shifting sands of identify, gender and relationships as the son makes life changing decisions.
Libby Penman – Libby is a multi-award-winning filmmaker from Kirkcaldy, Scotland. In the drama industry, she has worked on productions for Netflix, Warner Bros, Sky Atlantic and BBC One. In recent years she has turned her attention to documentary. During her time at BBC Scotland, Libby shot and edited several pieces for broadcast TV and online. On social media alone she accumulated 6 million views for short films she shot and edited. Libby is passionate about the environment and is an ambassador for BAFTA’s carbon-calculator scheme Albert, in recognition of her work on promoting sustainability in the TV sector. She created the film Going Green Behind the Scenes for BBC One’s award-winning hit drama The Victim. In 2020 Libby is directing/presenting her own film, a documentary examining the impact the climate emergency is having on wildlife in Scotland. Notable contributors include climate activist Holly Gillibrand, WWF Scotland and wildlife presenter/filmmaker legend Gordon Buchanan. The film is currently in post-production. Libby recently commenced a Master’s in Wildlife Documentary Production at Salford Manchester. Her place on the course was funded by the prestigious Dewar’s Arts Award. Libby will be using her award from the charity to purchase specialist wildlife filmmaking equipment.
David Proud – David is an English actor/writer/director. He was born with Spina Bifida and uses a wheelchair. His first professional acting role was as a wheelchair basketball player in the children’s TV series Desperados and is most well-known on-screen for playing Adam Best in BBC’s EastEnders. In 2011, with funding from Screen South SEEDA and the National Lottery, David filmed his writing debut Wheels of Fortune and continued to create behind the screen with short films, including two premieres at Edinburgh International Film Festival. In 2018 David became a member of the BBC Writers Room and began a development deal with BBC Films for new feature film Mavericks, co-developed with writer Paul Viragh. In late 2019 David directed a BFI/Uncertain Kingdom funded film written by Justin Edgar starring Ruth Madeley and Alice Lowe, which Premiered at Palm Springs Film Festival 2020. In 2020 David finished an ITV Original Voices secondment to the Coronation Street story team and began to write for BBC’s Doctors. In 2018 David began a two-year Engagement Fellowship with the Wellcome Trust during which he will be writing a book and directing a documentary looking at the inclusion of disabled people in society and scientific medical advances. The documentary My Extinction co-directed with Paul Viragh, is a filmmaker’s journey into the future of disability and scientific advances produced by Lindsey Dryden.
Eloise Singer – Eloise is an award-winning producer who has previously worked at Pinewood Studios. She recently executive produced Billie Piper’s high-profile directing debut Rare Beasts, selected for Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, BFI London Film Festival, and SXSW. Eloise set up her company Singer Films in 2017. After producing short films, she was selected for Raindance Raw Talent. Her first feature film premiered at Raindance Film Festival (2017). Eloise is one of ten emerging female filmmakers selected for Creative England’s inaugural Industry Equals: Women in Screen in 2019. She was recently awarded a scholarship onto Sundance’s Producer’s Co-lab Programme and her latest documentary concept showcased at Sundance Film Festival: London 2020. Eloise’s award from the Film and TV Charity will go towards developing her slate which includes: a true crime documentary with XYZ Films; a BFI-supported documentary executive produced by BAFTA nominated Mike Knowles; and a foreign language film with producers Tommie Curran (former Director of Production at Wanda Studios) and BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Jane Zheng (The Farewell). She is expanding into VR, developing an educational VR game in partnership with Goldsmiths University and Escape Studios. The project is written by BEATS fellowship awardee Maja Bodenstein and executive produced by former Head of Sony London, Dr Dave Raynard.