BFI announce shortlist for IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award, with Michaela Coel leading the judging panel

The BFI and IWC Schaffhausen today reveal the three filmmakers shortlisted for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. At £50,000, and now in its 5th year, it has established itself as the most significant bursary of its kind in the UK film industry, expressly designed to support the future careers of exceptional new UK film talent.

Acclaimed actor, director, screenwriter, producer and poet, Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You, Black Earth Rising, Chewing Gum, Black Mirror, Been So Long) will join Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI and Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, to select the winner, which will be announced at The BFI London Film Festival 2020 Virtual LFF Audience Awards, on Sunday 18 October – the Closing Night of the BFI London Film Festival.

The Bursary is presented in recognition of outstanding UK talent at the beginning or early stages of their careers and is designed to support a writer and/or director by providing them with the financial stability and time needed to develop their creativity. The Bursary affords them the freedom to focus on future projects without the pressure of deadlines or the distraction of taking paid work – a precious and extremely rare opportunity for a filmmaker. 

The 2020 shortlist are:

  • Cathy Brady, writer/director of her debut feature Wildfire
  • Aleem Khan, writer/ director of his debut feature After Love
  • Francis Lee, writer/director of his sophomore feature Ammonite

Chaired by Tricia Tuttle, Artistic Director of the BFI London Film Festival, a panel of industry figures – Eva Yates, Commissioning Executive at BBC Films, Lauren Dark, Commissioning Executive at Film4, Farhana Bhula, Development & Production Executive of the BFI Film Fund, and Akua Gyamfi, journalist and founder of The British Blacklist – selected the shortlist of filmmakers. To be eligible for the Bursary Award a writer, director or writer/director must be UK-based and have their first or second film in Official Selection at the BFI London Film Festival in Partnership with American Express, the panel had this to say:

We were excited by the breadth of talented new filmmakers in this year’s programme and selecting only three was extremely hard. Our shortlisted filmmakers Cathy Brady, Aleem Khan and Francis Lee moved us with rich, distinct stories from authentic perspectives and demonstrated true excellence in the craft of filmmaking. As a glimpse of what UK film can offer, it’s incredibly exciting.”

The Bursary presentation will take place at The BFI London Film Festival 2020 Virtual LFF Audience Awards on Sunday 18 October in London.

Find out everything you need to know about this year’s festival:


2 thoughts on “BFI announce shortlist for IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award, with Michaela Coel leading the judging panel

  1. Pingback: Rhianna Dhillon set to host inaugural BFI London Film Festival’s Virtual LFF Audience Awards | critical popcorn

  2. Pingback: The winners of the inaugural Virtual LFF Audience Awards are… | critical popcorn

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