BFI announces four filmmakers in line for top bursary
The BFI has announced the four up-and-coming filmmakers in line to win the most generous bursary of its kind in the UK.
The shortlist of future stars of the industry in line to scoop £50,000 was released at a launch event at BFI Southbank.
An original list of 15 has now been whittled down to Joseph A Adesunloye, Hope Dickson Leach, Alice Lowe and Paul Anton Smith, with their films spanning the comedy, horror, drama and artist genres.
The £50,000 IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI is the most significant award of its kind in the UK film industry, so competition to make the final has been tough.
An original list of 15 being considered has now been whittled down to Joseph A Adesunloye, Hope Dickson Leach, Alice Lowe and Paul Anton Smith.
Entrants had to be UK-based and have their first or second film in official selection at the BFI London Film Festival in Partnership with American Express.
Director of the BFI Film Fund, Ben Roberts, said: "This is a happy shortlist for many reasons.
"All four filmmakers are on very different paths in terms of their filmmaking, each has already developed an enviable confidence and style, and this bursary would greatly benefit any of them. Thank you to IWC for helping us give a platform and opportunity to such exciting British talent."
Adesunloye wrote and directed his entry, White Colour Black, and has previously worked on programming for African film events such as Film Africa and South by South. In 2014, his short Beyond Plain Sight was nominated for Best British Short Film at Raindance Film Festival.
Dickson Leach is vying for the prize with The Levelling, which she wrote and directed and which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, and has had previous success with her short film The Dawn Chorus, which was selected for Sundance, Edinburgh and London film festivals.
Lowe wrote, directed and starred in her entry Prevenge while she was pregnant. She is best known for starring in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, The Mighty Boosh and Horrible Histories, as well as appearing in Hot Fuzz, Locke and Paddington. She made her screenwriting debut and starred in Ben Wheatley's Sightseers, which picked up awards when it launched in 2012.
Anton Smith has been shortlisted for directing Have You Seen My Movie? and has worked on visual art projects for Christian Marclay including The Clock and Surround Sounds.
Director of the BFI London Film Festival (LFF) Clare Stewart said: "It is not only the bursary itself that is of significant value. IWC have created an opportunity for the LFF to play a direct role in bringing all the new and emerging UK-based talent with films in the Festival to the attention of key industry decision-makers through the shortlisting process.
"I am thrilled that the nominations give full expression to the breadth and diversity of British independent filmmaking as well as the Festival's programme. I thank our partners at IWC, the shortlisting panel and I warmly congratulate the nominated filmmakers."
The winner of the bursary will be chosen by CEO of the BFI Amanda Nevill, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen Georges Kern, and a leading name in the UK film industry, to be announced soon.
The decision will be announced at the IWC Gala Dinner in honour of the BFI, to be held at the Rosewood in London on October 4.