Wednesday 15 March 2023 – LONDON: BFI and BAFTA today announce the 2023 cohort of the BFI FLARE x BAFTA programme in partnership with BFI NETWORK, awarding National Lottery funding. Six emerging LGBTQIA+ filmmakers working towards their debuts in film and television have been selected for the successful programme, now in its ninth year.
BFI FLARE x BAFTA is centered on supporting emerging talent to explore the realities of producing LGBTQIA+ work in the UK and internationally. Participants will benefit from being matched with industry mentors, a two day lab of events during BFI FLARE, as well as wellbeing and career coaching and access
to Connect, BAFTA’s membership for emerging and mid-level talent.
This year’s call for applications saw a record number of applicants with an increase of 54% on last year. Filmmakers were selected based on the quality and potential of the exciting, challenging and original projects they are developing, they are: writer Dylan Brady, writer/director Phoebe Brooks, writer Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, writer/director Sarah Grant, writer Bethan Marlow, and writer/director/producer Shiva Raichandani.
A partnership between BAFTA, BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival and BFI NETWORK, BFI FLARE x BAFTA programme has a successful track record of backing and connecting talent who have gone on to forge successful careers, breaking new ground in LGBTQIA+ representation on screen. Alumni from the past eight years include Aleem Khan (After Love), Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (Blue Story, Boxing Day), Georgi Banks-Davies (I Hate Suzie), Kayleigh Llewellyn (In My Skin, Killing Eve) and Georgia Oakley (Blue Jean).
Cassandra Neal, New Talent and Industry Manager at BAFTA, said: “This year’s programme showcases a truly exciting cohort that we’re once again delighted to be supporting in partnership with BFI Flare and BFI NETWORK. We’ve seen over the years how dedicated access to industry, wellbeing and coaching support can be transformative for emerging filmmakers at this crucial stage in their career. I encourage the industry to take note of this year’s fantastic group and the LGBTQIA+ stories they’re ready and
waiting to tell.”
Alix Taylor-Searle, BFI NETWORK Programme and Funding Manager BFI NETWORK, said: “Thanks to working with our wonderful partners, the BFI Flare x BAFTA programme has become one of the most well recognised in the UK for elevating LGBTQIA+ filmmakers. The most competitive year to date in terms of number of applications, it is hugely encouraging to see so much exciting emerging talent are working to raise the profile of queer-led content. This year’s fantastic cohort will also benefit from new developments to this year’s programme that include a more comprehensive programme of industry guest speakers and support of a wellbeing coach throughout.”
Michael Blyth, BFI Flare Senior Programmer, said: “In addition to showcasing the work of countless queer filmmakers each year, BFI Flare is dedicated to supporting and nurturing the next generation of LGBTQI+ storytellers. It has been such a thrill to see the amazing things past alumni have gone on to achieve since being part of the mentorship programme, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this year’s incredibly talented cohort.”
BFI FLARE x BAFTA MENTORING 2023 PARTICIPANTS (in alphabetical order):
Dylan Brady (writer)
Dylan is a writer and actor from Derby. After graduating from Manchester School of Theatre, Dylan worked as an actor (with credits including Get Even, Ralph & Katie and The Diplomat) while developing projects for screen. Most recently he has written an episode of The Fuck It Bucket (Left Bank Pictures / Netflix), and has several original series currently in development, including dark coming-of-age mystery Wildfires (with Two Brothers), Gen Z horror whodunnit High Tide (with Long Boat pictures), a millennial crime procedural adaptation (with Kudos), and queer biopic Hard, Fast & Passionately (with Tiger Aspect). Dylan is currently developing Anon, his first short film as a director.
Phoebe Brooks (writer/director)
Phoebe is a writer and director from Suffolk, now based in London. She has directed commercials for a range of global brands and charities, including Formula 1, Tinder, Samaritans and the NSPCC. In 2020, she won four Cannes Dolphins at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards. She was a finalist for Best British Director at The British Short Film Awards for her latest short film The Forfeit, which also won Best UK Short at The Gogs International Film Festival and Best Director (Thriller) at the London Director Awards, and has screened at the BAFTA-qualifying Underwire Festival and British Shorts Berlin. Her upcoming film Waiting List is funded by the award-winning production company Nowadays, developed with the charity Gendered Intelligence. She is currently writing her first feature, The Roebuck, a folk horror set in rural Wales that explores themes of repression and trans identity.
Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini (writer)
Matilda is a bionic writer of Nigerian heritage from East London, and writes for stage, screen and audio. Their work as a playwright includes the award-winning ‘Little Miss Burden’ and ‘Sleepova’, which premiered at the Bush Theatre in March 2023. Their short films include Head Over Wheels, produced by Open Sky Theatre and Wrapt Films, and MO <3 KYRA, part of Film4 and 104 Films’ 4Love series. Matilda’s feature script, Caring – co-written with Gabriel Bisset-Smith – was selected for the Brit List 2020. They have written episodes of Unprecedented (Headlong and Century Films for BBC4) and CripTales (BBC America and BBC4), and co-wrote an episode of Amazon Prime’s upcoming Wilderness, produced by Firebird Pictures. Matilda is currently in development of film and television projects with BBC Film, Home Team, Ardimages UK and Raw TV. They were selected as a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2020.
Sarah Grant (writer/director)
Sarah is a writer, director, performer and poet based in Glasgow, who tells body positive, sex positive and inclusive womxn-led stories that are honest, feminist and fearless. Her first short film, The Cyclist (2014), was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award and her 2019 short, Scare, screened at BAFTA- qualifying festivals including London Short Film Festival. Sarah has created female-fronted short form work for BBC The Social and BBC Short Stuff, including The Colour Wheel, which won a Royal Television Society Scotland award in 2021. Her latest short, Candy, is currently on the festival circuit. Sarah is a Sky Academy Arts Scholar, National Poetry Slam Championship 2021 runner up and on the 2019 Young Women’s Movement 30-Under-30 list of influential women in Scotland. She is currently developing projects including original series Stunners for BBC Scotland, and a feature adaptation of Scare.
Bethan Marlow (writer)
Bethan is a Welsh writer who creates fictional worlds that contain real voices. Her work as a playwright ranges from verbatim theatre to site-specific productions with and within communities on the fringes of our society, focusing on the voices of females, the queer community and the working class. Her theatre credits include ‘Pijin’/’Pigeon’ (Theatr Iolo and Theatr Genedlaethol), ‘Nyrsys’ (Theatr Genedlaethol), ‘Mold Riots’ (Theatr Clwyd) and ‘A Queer Christmas’ (Mess Up the Mess). Bethan is currently developing
original TV series’ for Five Acts Productions, Boom Cymru and Film Nation. She is also working on feature films for ieie productions and BFI, Ardimages UK and Ffilm Cymru.
Shiva Raichandani (writer/director/producer)
Shiva is a non-binary filmmaker and performance artist who is passionate about telling inclusive, intersectional, gender-expansive stories with a focus on social justice and universal hope. Their shorts include documentaries Peach Paradise, commissioned by the Netflix Documentary Talent Fund, and Always, Asifa, commissioned by the Together TV Diverse Film Fund. Their short musical, Queer Parivaar, screened at BAFTA-qualifying festivals including BFI Flare, Outfest and London Short Film Festival, won the 2022 Iris Prize Best British Short Award, and is available on Channel 4. They are currently developing several long form projects that centre the experiences of LGBTQIA+ British Asians, including an original television series. Shiva also freelances as a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant within the wider creative industries, and was a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent.
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