2019 Round 1 John Brabourne Awardees

Twelve outstanding individuals have been selected from over 270 applicants for awards by the Film & Television Charity, providing much needed career development opportunities for behind the camera talent.

Occurring twice a year, the John Brabourne Awards offer financial assistance to help individuals overcome a wide range of barriers to progression in the industry. The charity aims to award individuals who are talented and driven but who are facing obstacles in realising a project. Areas where the charity help include production and development finance, festival distribution or covering the cost of living and travel expenses.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film & Television Charity, said: “We were hugely impressed by the quality and diversity of applications we received in the first round of John Brabourne Awards this year and decided to award the full amount to all twelve applicants selected by the awarding panel. We applaud all of the twelve awardees for their determination and passion and look forward to seeing them advance in their careers.”

The spring 2019 awardees come from a broad range of backgrounds and have received the award at various stages in their career, ranging from Wilkie Branson, a New Wave Associate at Sadler’s Wells, to Hollyoaks Script Writer Nikki Rooney.

A total of £60,000 was awarded, with each individual receiving the total available funding of £5,000 for the first time in the history of the awards.

The winners were selected by an industry 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, agent at Sayle Screen, Nigel Wolland, President of the British Cinema & Television Veterans Association, and Mark Clark, Talent Development Manager at the charity.

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 & Television Charity provides expert support and guidance to everyone and anyone who needs it, for free, 365 days a year. Last year (2018) the charity gave over £1.35m in financial aid and talent development awards to individuals seeking support.

Alex Pumfrey continued: “The charity exists to support everyone who helps to make the film and television industry in the UK so special. We are driven by the passion and expertise we see in the unique individuals we speak to every day.

 “Our talent development awards form part of the journey for hundreds of people in film and television, helping passionate and dedicated individuals to shine by providing them with much needed financial and practical support.”

Awardee Hannah Congdon has received support to complete the post-production of a film documenting her 3,000 km drive along the Pamir Highway. Andrew McVicar has premiered films at London and Venice film festivals and is currently developing a six-part TV series with Channel 4. Jennifer Monks is a BAFTA, RTS and BIFA nominated producer. Both Andrew and Jennifer are receiving support to develop a slate of film and TV projects.

Helen Gladders, a Producer and award-winner, said: “I was really happy to be selected for the award. The charity has already supported an amazing group of filmmakers over the years and I am honoured to join them. I am approaching an exciting time in my career where my first feature feels like it’s on the horizon.

“The award has hugely eased the financial pressure I was under and will go towards my living costs, giving me more time to concentrate on supporting the filmmakers I’m working with and getting my first feature off the ground.”

Ella Bennett, a Director and recipient of an award, said: “I applied because I was experiencing a lot of difficulty with development funding for my feature. I had researched into previous [award] recipients and really admired how different everyone’s journey was. Everyone’s story was unique and purely based on their hard work and resilience, I felt I related to them in some way, which gave me the confidence to apply.

“Being a recipient of the award will have a really positive impact on my work and plan in the future.”

The 2019 Round 1 awardees are:

Ella Bennett – Director. Ella’s crowd-funded “LAST LEG”, won Best Short at the London Independent Film Festival 2016. “SORE THUMB STICK OUT”, her first commissioned short, premiered on Channel 4’s Random Acts. Ella directed “DUST”, a NFTS, ScreenSkills and EON Productions-commissioned short. She is developing her feature debut “BLUE MARBLE”, shortlisted for the Film London Microwave Scheme in 2016. Her award will support the pre-production of her mockumentary-fiction web series pilot “THE MAIN IN STREAM IS DEAD” and living costs towards her debut feature. (London)

Wilkie Branson – Interdisciplinary Dance Artist/ Film-maker. Wilkie is the recipient of an Arts Foundation Choreographic Fellowship (2012), is a New Wave Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells, and received several awards for his dance animation “LITTLE DREAMS”, a stop-motion retrospective of his previous work. His latest work, “TOM”, explores techniques in photogrammetry, 3D animation and dance. His award will support him in developing a 2D short film version of “TOM” for festival submission. (Dorset)

Hannah Congdon – Director. Hannah’s short film “H S K T” was selected as the UK Winner at Camberley International Festival 2019.  Her award will support the post-production of her documentary “WOMEN BEHIND THE WHEEL”, which Hannah co-directed with Catherine Haigh. The film documents their 3,000 km mountain drive along the Pamir Highway, through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, exploring the untold stories of women who live in areas connected by the route. (London)

Colum Eastwood – Writer/Director. Colum studied at the London Film School graduating in 2013 with his film “HERE”, which was runner-up for Best Student Short at Oscar® qualifying Palm Springs International ShortFest (2014). His supernatural horror “THE MORRIGAN, played at festivals including ShortFest and BAFTA. Currently he is in development on the feature version of this film. His script “BLACK MEDICINE” won the New Writer Focus scheme at Northern Ireland Screen and his award will support Colum while he develops this feature towards production. (Northern Ireland)

Helen Gladders – Producer. A graduate of the NFTS MA in Producing, Helen has produced several award-winning short films. With the support of Creative England’s iShorts she produced “RHONNA AND DONNA”. In 2016 she moved to her own company Gingerbread Pictures. Helen is working with emerging female filmmakers and has projects in development with BFI, BBC Films, Moonriver Entertainment and others. Her award will support the development of her producing slate. (London)

Sophie Mair Writer/Producer. Sophie works in partnership with Dan Gitsham at Sketchbook Pictures. Having made short films screened at over 150 films festivals worldwide, they were commissioned by Creative England to develop their short “ELLA” into a feature film screenplay which was selected for the iFeatures (BFI, Creative England, BBC) development scheme with their project “KEEPER”. Sophie’s award will be used to develop her slate, including a BFI-funded short film due to shoot in the summer of 2019 and a horror feature screenplay. (Bristol)

Andrew McVicar – Writer/Director. Andrew’s shorts have screened at international festivals. His most recent short, “COMPULSION”, premiered at BFI London Film Festival and won Best British Short at London Short Film Festival and Best European Short at Lille. Andrew is currently co-writing the feature “WOLF NOTE” with the support of the BFI and is developing a six-part TV series with Channel 4 and Warp Films. His award will support the development of a number of film and TV projects. (North Shields)

Jennifer Monks – Producer. Jennifer is a BAFTA, Royal Television Society and BIFA-nominated producer. In 2018 her company Pencil Trick Productions produced RTS and BIFA-nominated BSL/English language TV drama “TO KNOW HIM” with iFeatures Director Ted Evans and BAFTA-nominated co-producer Michelle Stein. She produced “MISSING DAD” (for Tigerlily Productions), a BAFTA-nominated TV documentary for CBBC. Her award will support a slate of feature projects in development with the BFI, Dan Films and Tigerlily Productions. (Liverpool)

Kate Perry – Writer/Actress. An award-winning writer and actress, Kate’s one-woman comedy show, The Very Perry Show, won the Best Comedy Show Award at The United Solo Theatre Festival, New York, 2017. Her short film, “MAÑANA” premiered at the Galway Film Festival and was broadcast on RTÉ television. Her award will support her to develop scripts and the post-production for her short film “RUTHLESS”, which is set in Belfast and was originally commissioned as a short story for BBC Northern Ireland. (Northern Ireland/London-based)

Alex Polunin – Producer. Alex is a British-Australian BAFTA Newcomer, Sheffield Doc/Fest Future Producer, and one of the 2019 BFI London Film Festival Talent Lab participants and iFeatures producers. His films include “BRITISH BY THE GRACE OF GOD, BFI’s pick of the month and Pardi di domani: Concorso Internazionale​​​​​​​ nominee. Alex is also producing “FATHER OF THE BRIDE”, commissioned by the BBC. His award will support the development of his producer slate including “MAN ACCIDENTALLY KILLS” (iFeatures). (London)

Niki Rooney – Writer.  Niki joined the Hollyoaks script office progressing to Story Editor and joining the core writing team in 2011, writing 20 episodes. Niki has worked for a number of broadcasters and production companies and currently has an original comedy drama in paid development with BBC Three and Kudos North, several commissions via BBC Children’s and Learning, and scripts optioned by Freedom Films and Ecosse Films. Niki’s work often has a central focus on character representation of disability and chronic illness, which is influenced by her own experiences of living with a long-term condition. Niki’s award will support her TV scriptwriting slate, which includes a comedy pilot and YA drama pilot. (Glasgow)

Séverine Tibi – Producer. Séverine relocated to the UK from the South of France and worked at the BFI. She is committed to finding new British voices and supporting UK film talent. In 2017 she co-founded her own production company, Sevana Films. Her feature documentary, “FENUA AIJERE: THE HEART OF TAHITI” by Thomas Delorme, was first broadcast on TV in 2018 and she is now involved in a number of exciting shorts, including “CINDY”, a queer comedy/drama by Rosanagh Griffiths, and “LENGTHS”, a drama by Matt Davies. Her award will support her development slate and the production of “CINDY”. (London)