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Top tyros still climbing ladder

Foreman Award winners are not household names yet

The British Academy of Film & Television Arts has named many of its awards after film industry figures of the past. One of the most interesting is the Carl Foreman Award for first-timers, instituted in 1998.

Who gets it?

The Carl Foreman kudo honors special achievement by a British director, producer or writer in their first feature.

Prize money: £10,000 ($18,769)

Why Foreman? Foreman’s writing credits include “High Noon” and “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” “Kwai” won the screenplay Oscar, but Foreman was blacklisted at the time and received no screen credit. He was posthumously awarded his gong in 1984. Foreman produced Oscar-nommed “The Guns of Navarone” and “Young Winston.”

Who has won?

Name: Richard Kwietniowski
Profession: writer-director
Nominated project: Kwietniowski scooped the inaugural 1998 Foreman award for “Love and Death on Long Island,” his debut that also garnered honors from the New York Film Critics Circle and other groups.
Last Project: Sony Picture Classics’ “Owning Mahowny,” his 2003 follow-up to “Long Island” that starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver and John Hurt. “Mahowny” was nommed for four Canadian Genies but went home empty-handed.
Next project: “Norman Bates,” written and directed by Kwietniowski, is scheduled to shoot in South Africa this year. Project is being developed by Prague-based Stillking Films.

Name: Lynne Ramsay
Profession: writer-director
Nominated project: “Ratcatcher,” a coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of the 1973 Glasgow garbage collectors strike, announced Ramsay as a major new talent. Pic won prizes at the Bratislava, Chicago, Edinburgh, Flanders, London and Riga film fests.
Last project: Arthouse pic “Morvern Callar” was also a firm fest favorite but, despite a bigger budget than “Ratcatcher,” the Samantha Morton starrer could not outperform Ramsay’s debut at the U.K. box office.
Next project: After 18 months in development, Ramsay was bumped from FilmFour’s screen treatment of “The Lovely Bones,” the bestselling book by Anne Sebold. Peter Jackson and writing partner Fran Walsh optioned the film rights from FilmFour with their own coin; Philippa Boyens is teaming with the pair to make “Bones” their follow-up to “King Kong.” Ramsay is working a another screenplay that her London agents would only characterize as “sexy.”

Name: Pawel Pawlikowski
Profession: writer-director
Nominated project: Pawlikowski won the 2000 Foreman for “The Last Resort,” his pic about the plight of asylum seekers arriving in the U.K. Pole Pawlikowski arrived in Britain at 14 and made his name with TV docs about Eastern Europe. He has also been chosen as one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch.
Last project: “My Summer of Love,” Pawlikowski’s $1.8 million story about two young girls growing up in Yorkshire, received rave reviews at the 2004 Edinburgh and London film fests and is nommed for this year’s Alexander Korda BAFTA for British film of the year.
Next project: Breaking with his trademark improvisational style, Pawlikowski has sat down and written the script for WWII drama “Heck.” Pawlikowski also is adapting D.B.C. Pierre’s Booker honoree “Vernon God Little” for FilmFour.

Names: Joel Hopkins & Nicola Usborne
Professions: director & producer
Nominated project: “Jump Tomorrow” aka “Life: A User’s Manual.” Hopkins’ road movie beat out Oscar-winning “Gosford Park” scribe Julian Fellowes for the 2001 Foreman award.
Last project: It seems helmer Hopkins has suffered a severe bout of the soph shakes and has not got behind the camera since his surprise 2001 triumph. Producer Usborne also has hit a bad run — her follow-up project’s directorial debut, “The Best Thief in the World” — was hammered by the critics and died at the box office.
Next projects: Hopkins hopes to begin shooting WT2’s “Lolapalooza” this year with Graham Broadbent (“Welcome to Sarajevo”) producing. Hopkins and Usborne hope to re-team for “Junior Heist,” which is under option by the Film Consortium. Hopkins’ London agent admits the “Heist” project is “dormant.”

Name: Asif Kapadia
Profession: writer-director
Nominated project: 2002’s “The Warrior,” which also scored the Brit film BAFTA.
Last project: Londoner Kapadia cut his teeth making docs at the BBC and shooting commercials. Although he has not made a feature since “Warrior,” he has made a string of commercials to pay the bills.
Next project: First up, he directs Sarah Michelle Gellar starrer “Revolver” for Focus Features’ Rogue Pictures. The Texas shoot of the supernatural thriller begins this spring. Kapadia is attached to two Intermedia projects: the Brett Easton Ellis-penned “The Frog King,” a satirical romantic comedy set in the New York publishing world, and “Baghdad Blog,” which “Tigerland” scribe Ross Klaven is writing. “True North,” Kapadia’s screenplay, which he co-wrote with “Warrior” collaborator Tim Miller, is being developed with Betrand Faivre at the Bureau.

Name: Emily Young
Profession: writer-director
Nominated project: Young’s win for “Kiss of Life” surprised some industryites who had director Peter Webber (“Girl With a Pearl Earring”) down as a shoo-in.
Last project: The BBC-backed “Kiss of Life” is Young’s only completed feature. After film school in Poland, Young fine-tuned her skills at the Cannes Residence training program.
Next project: She is developing a bigscreen adaptation of “Once in a House on Fire,” Andrea Ashworth’s book about growing up with domestic violence. “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” producer Kevin Loader is making the calls and the shoot begins this spring.
Other notable Foremen nominees

Name: Shane Meadows
Profession: writer-director and occasional actor
Nominated project: Boxing feature “24/7: TwentyFourSeven,” starring Bob Hoskins
Last project: Meadow’s fourth feature, the blood-soaked revenge thriller “Dead Man’s Shoes,” was nominated for a leading eight British Independent Film Awards, but missed out on any prizes. There was some consolation for the Midlands-based auteur when “Shoes” was nominated for this year’s Brit film BAFTA.
Next project: “Le Donk” is a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary about a rock drummer who is kicked out of the band and has to retrain as a builder. It’s another collaboration with “Shoes” lead and childhood pal Paddy Considine. “Donk” begins its 4½-week shoot in February, and Meadows and Considine are doing script work. In the summer, Meadows departs from his trademark gritty low-budget arthouse fare with the $8 million “Fuddled,” produced by Warp Films for FilmFour.

Name: Matthew Vaughn
Profession: producer-director
Nominated project: 1998’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” which he produced. He is nommed this year as a director, and he is the only filmmaker to be considered twice for a Foreman award.
Last project: 2004 Brit crime thriller “Layer Cake,” starring Daniel Craig, was Vaughn’s directorial debut. Despite only moderate U.K. success ($8.3 million), the pic has been credited with breathing new life into the tired and overcrowded British gangster genre. Vaughn initially was set to produce “Cake” with Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock”) helming, but took the reins when it became clear his long-time producing partner and old friend was tied up with other projects. “Cake,” which stars Michael Gambon and Sienna Miller, bows Stateside in the spring.
Next project: Vaughn is working with “Trainspotting” scribe John Hodge on the script for a bigscreen version of TV series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” for Warner Bros. The original show starred Robert Vaughn, whom the director grew up believing was his biological father, but it recently emerged he is in fact the son of Brit aristocrat George de Vere Drummond.
Through his MARV shingle, Matthew Vaughn is concurrently developing an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel “Stardust.”

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