SAI/ BFI: Screen Arts Institute Bursary

At the end of last year, I was thrilled to hear that after participating in a taster session, I had won a bursary worth over £10,000 with the Screen Arts Institute in association with the British Film Institute. Myself, and my fellow bursary winner, Florence Keith-Roach, will spend the next year developing a feature film and a television series as part of the program. This will involve bi-weekly sessions with our mentors at the BFI and collaborative learning with the group of 16 talented filmmakers on the course.

I am immensely excited about this opportunity, because above anything else it will give my creative ideas structure and deadlines. Despite these deadlines, I’m encouraging myself not to rush the process… I’m a very practically minded filmmaker and getting projects made has not often been the barrier, developing something to the correct level and restraining myself from making it prematurely will be the challenge here. I hope to produce these projects developed at the BFI with real funding, industry support and recognisable cast, elevating the productions to the next level.

My feature length project will be a deeply personal one, as a young filmmaker in a saturated market, I’ve always known that I would only be justified directing a feature film with a story worth telling… rather than a film made purely to progress my career. I have realised that the filmmakers that inspire me the most make films about their own lives, over and over again, and that when I sit down to write, it’s my own life that instinctively pops up. Over the next year I will attempt to embrace this philosophy, hopefully ending up with a story and a package I am vehemently passionate about and only I could direct.

For my television project, I have a large bank of work and ideas to draw from, this will be a comedy project and see development on from Leggit and Luckless, the two television pilots I directed in the past. This project will also draw inspiration from my own life, and involve some of my regular collaborators.

In the first few sessions, I have already formed and refined many creative ideas and felt real contribution to my collaborators projects. I have learnt about film funding via the SEIS & EIS route, deconstructed well established texts, applying the learnings to my own projects and generally left sessions with an extreme optimism about the future.

In this blog series, I will chart my progress as I develop my feature film and television series, working with my fellow filmmakers and mentors along the way. Watch this space!

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