BFI Unveils 20 U.K. Producers to Share $2.5 Million Vision Awards Funding

BFI Vision Awards 2020

The BFI has announced the 20 producers and production companies that are set to share up to £2 million ($2.5 million) in funding through its Vision Awards.

The fourth edition of the coveted BFI Vision Awards, which cover a two-year period, provides a maximum of £50,000 ($62,000) per year to each of the 20 producers or producing teams.

Recipients this year include “God’s Own Country” producer Manon Ardisson; “Chubby Funny” producer Helen Simmons; Oliver Kassman, producer of Toronto International Film Festival contender “Saint Maud;” and Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, producer of crime drama “Blue Story.”

Other recipients include Kate Byers and Linn Waite, founder of Bristol-based Early Day Films, who won the 2020 BAFTA for best debut feature “Bait”; Little by Little Films’ Lindsey Dryden whose credits include Sundance Special Jury Award-winning and Oscar shortlisted feature documentary “Unrest”; and Pietro Greppi of Lunapark Pictures who produced Andrew Steggall’s BFI-backed debut “Departure.”

See below for full list of recipients.

The funding gives recipients creative and financial autonomy, helping them to develop their film slates and build their businesses.

The BFI said the funding program this year has targeted more experienced producers, who have made between one and three distributed projects, whether in features, television or immersive content. As with the previous round, 50% of the BFI Vision Award will be non-recoupable.

The BFI’s first Vision Awards in 2008 supported 15 companies looking to scale up their business. With its Vision Awards for 2013-2015, the BFI widened the field by supporting 19 companies, including 12 emerging companies. The 2016-2018 Awards backed 22 production companies focusing on emerging producers.

Alumni include Emily Morgan, who with her company Quiddity Films produced “I Am Not A Witch,” for which she won the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut with the film’s writer-director Rungano Nyoni.

Bennett McGhee is another alumni. Since setting up Silvertown Films,  McGhee has produced feature documentary “Bobby” about sporting icon Bobby Moore, released by Entertainment One in the U.K., and rap battle drama “VS.” with BBC Films, released by Altitude. Upcoming is the BBC Films-backed, Pulse Films collaboration “Mogul Mowgli,” starring Riz Ahmed.

Full list of BFI Vision Awards recipients 2020-22:

Manon Ardisson and Chiara Ventura, Ardimages U.K.

James Watson, Bêtes Sauvages

Emily Precious and Lizzie Brown, Bird Flight Films

Chris Patterson, Causeway Pictures

Kate Byers and Linn Waite, Early Day Films

Stephanie Aspin and Helen Simmons, Erebus Pictures

Oliver Kassman, Escape Plan Productions

Fiona Lamptey, Fruit Tree Media

Anna Griffin, Griffin Pictures

Chi Thai, Hot Knife

Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Joi Productions

Lindsey Dryden, Little By Little Films

Pietro Greppi, Lunapark Pictures

Jennifer Monks, Pencil Trick Productions

Farah Abushwesha, Rocliffe Limited

Camilla Wren and Shirine Best, Other Productions (Fka Roxanna Films)

Sarah Brocklehurst, Sarah Brocklehurst Productions

Hanna Thomas And Ed Talfan, Severn Screen Ltd

Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, The Sixty Six Pictures

Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Tyke Films

Separately, the BFI has announced twelve emerging producers who are yet to make their first feature who will benefit from its training programme, BFI Network Insight.

The BFI Network Insight program was set up to address a gap identified in training and support for producers taking serious steps towards their debut feature and growing sustainable, creative companies.

The 2020-21 participants include: Sorcha Bacon, Alexandra Blue, Holly Carrington, Douglas Cox, Tony Longe, Alice Lusher, Lucy Meer, John Mckay, Lorine Plagnol, Gannesh Rajah, Sophie Reynolds, and Barrington Robinson.

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, said: “When all parts of our industry are feeling the impacts of this shut down, investment in our independent producers is more important than ever. They are the cornerstone of our industry, and these early-career producers will be central to bringing exciting talent together to create powerful and culturally diverse stories.”