Pictured: ‘Winner’ of the inaugural IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI – Hope Dickson Leach
Edinburgh-based Hope Dickson Leach completed her MFA in Filmmaking at Columbia University, ‘where she made three’, ”short” films, that played at festivals worldwide. While in New York, she was assistant to Todd Solondz on his film Palindromes. Hope’s award-winning thesis short film, The Dawn Chorus, was selected for Sundance, Edinburgh, London and many other festivals. Screen International made her a Star of Tomorrow in 2007 and Filmmaker Magazine named her one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Since her return to the UK, she has made further acclaimed short works for Channel 4, Film London, the UK Film Council and the National Theatre of Scotland. Her debut feature The Levelling, produced by Wellington Films and funded by BBC Films, the BFI and Creative England as part of the iFeatures scheme, has just premiered at Toronto International Film Festival ahead of its LFF presentation. She is also currently developing several other features and is a co-founder of Raising Films, a campaign to make the film industry more parent-friendly.
Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen and the BFI revealed Hope Dickson Leach as the winner of the first ever IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. The award was presented at a star-studded gala dinner at London’s Rosewood hotel attended by acting legend Cate Blanchett and was hosted by Rob Brydon, accompanied by the sounds of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Luminaries from the worlds of film, music, fashion and culture joined forces to celebrate this unique bursary, at GBP 50,000 the most signifi- cant of its kind in the UK film industry. The gala dinner marked the eve of the opening of the BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express®.
The IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI is given in recognition of outstanding British talent and is designed to support a writer and/or director at the be- ginning of their career, bringing them the financial stability and time needed to develop their creativity. Hope Dickson Leach’s film The Levelling was selected from thousands of entries to make it into the Official Selection at the BFI London Film Festival. The winner was chosen with the help of an esteemed shortlisting panel of film industry ex- perts, with the final decision made by a board comprising Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, and this year’s guest judge, actor, BFI Fellow and British icon Sir John Hurt.
Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, comments: “We are so pleased to have awarded this first bursary award in the UK to a filmmaker who shows so much promise and such clear talent. We are very proud to be a part of Hope Dickson Leach’s journey through our col- laboration with the BFI as they continue to create exciting and groundbreaking work.”
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, comments: “Huge con- gratulations to Hope Dickson Leach, whose creativity and originality make her a very deserved winner against some extremely tough competition that has absolutely confirmed that the UK has some of the best emerging filmmaking talent in the world. Hope Dickson Leach has a great future ahead of her, and this extraordinary partnership and the generosity of our friends at IWC Schaffhausen is enabling us to support that future in a way that will truly allow her the ‘gift of time’ to develop her next project.”
Award-winning actress and BFI Fellow Cate Blanchett said: “I am so pleased to be here to celebrate four remark- able and unique filmmakers being supported at the be- ginning of their career by the BFI and IWC. I wish all the filmmakers involved great future success.”
IWC Schaffhausen has been a sponsor of the BFI and the Official Time Partner of the BFI London Film Festival since 2014.
The IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in asso- ciation with the BFI follows a long tradition of the brand’s commitment to and support of the film industry – evi- denced by its established partnerships with the Tribeca Film Festival, the Dubai International Film Festival, the Zurich Film Festival, the Beijing International Film Festival and the Singapore International Film Festival, as well as the brand’s long-standing relationships with high-profile film talent, including Christoph Waltz and Cate Blanchett, all of which demonstrates IWC’s ongoing passion for film.
IWC has also launched the exclusive Pilot’s Watch Spit- fire Chronograph Edition “BFI London Film Festival 2016” (Ref. IW387812), a limited edition of just 60 time- pieces in stainless steel on an elegant blue strap. Each model is numbered on the case back, alongside the inscription “BFI Film Forever”, increasing their appeal to collectors. The timepiece features an IWC in-house 89365-calibre movement alongside a chronograph and flyback function and is available at the IWC Boutique Lon- don, 138 New Bond Street, as well as selected retailers in the United Kingdom.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The four finalists for the IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI were
Joseph a. Adesunloye – writer and director of White Colour Black; Hope Dickson Leach – writer and director of The Levelling; Alice Lowe – writer and director of Prevenge; and Paul Anton Smith – director of Have You Seen My Movie?
The shortlisting panel included Director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham and the upcoming Viceroy’s House), Joe Oppenheimer, Acting Head of BBC Films, and Rose Garnett, Head of Development at Film4, along- side Bursary Award architects Clare Stewart, Director of the BFI London Film Festival, and Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund.
With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity.
One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch seg- ment, IWC crafts masterpieces of Haute Horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design. As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institu- tions around the globe in their work with children and young people, and maintains partnerships with organiza- tions dedicated to climate and environmental protection.
The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:
– Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and world cinema
– Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for present and future generations
– Championing emerging and world-class filmmakers in the UK
– Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work – Promoting British film and talent to the world
– Expanding the next generation of filmmakers and audiences. The BFI is now a government arm’s-length body and dis- tributor of National Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role that covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:
– As the UK-wide organization for film, a charity core funded by government
– By providing National Lottery and government funds for film across the UK
– The BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger.