British television industry event the Edinburgh TV Festival, which runs in a digital format this year from Aug. 24-27, has revealed the first sessions of its lineup, as well as revealing a pre-festival session that will look at how issues concerning race are tackled by filmmakers.
The BBC drama “Sitting in Limbo” will be the subject of a session exploring how Stephen S. Thompson, a writer new to TV, took his brother’s experience of the “Windrush controversy” – in which British people from the Caribbean were unlawfully threatened with deportation – to the TV screen. Thompson will be joined by the show’s director, Stella Corradi, and lead actor, Patrick Robinson, to discuss the impact the drama has had, and what it says about bringing Black British stories to TV.
Festival Masterclasses will include “Normal People” – the BBC’s hit drama, with stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal in conversation with their Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson and exec producer Ed Guiney from Element Pictures about the show that became a hit under lockdown.
In an interactive session, artist, writer and broadcaster Grayson Perry will encourage delegates to create art, as he has done in his TV show “Grayson’s Art Club.” Perry will be joined by Philippa Perry to bring the Swan Films and All3 Media International show for Channel 4 to the festival in an “Edinburgh Does…” special. Hosted by Sunetra Sarker, the session will reflect on the role of art on TV, the importance of culture in a crisis, and appraise the artistic efforts of submissions from delegates.
Further speakers and sessions will be announced in the next few weeks, but the festival’s schedule will include all its regular flagship moments, including the MacTaggart Lecture, Controller Sessions, Masterclasses, interviews, and panel discussions, as well as the TV Foundation’s talent schemes, The Network, Ones to Watch and TV PhD.
Delegates will also still be able to discuss the burning issues, hold networking meetings, and take part in speed-pitching sessions with commissioners.
As previously announced, all events and activities for this year’s festival will be free to freelancers who are being particularly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
In the light of recent events in the U.S. and their effects across the globe, a free digital special on June 16 will see Channel 4’s Rita Daniels and Danny Horan, and executive producer Lucy Pilkington from Milk and Honey Productions talk about Black British filmmakers’ response to the death of George Floyd, and how this and Black Lives Matter protests have brought the industry’s diversity issues into sharp relief.
Further digital weekly sessions are taking place in the weeks building up to the festival, looking at the immediate issues facing the industry. These will include interviews with BBC iPlayer boss Dan McGolpin, Steve Carson and Louise Thornton from BBC Scotland, and Amanda Rees from S4C.