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BFI IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award Shortlist Announced, Michaela Coel Leads Judging Panel

BFI London Film Festival 2020’s press delegate Anoushka Chakrapani will be covering the festival for Roar News.

The 64th BFI London Film Festival will be held from 7 to 18 October 2020. The festival will be accessible UK wide with online screenings along with previews across London, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The BFI has announced the shortlist for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award 2020. Michaela Coel will be leading the judging panel for this year’s award.

The IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award, now in its fifth year, is awarded to a British writer or director whose first or second feature is presented at the London Film Festival. The winner will be awarded a £50,000 cash prize by the BFI partner IWC Schaffhausen on the closing night of the film festival.

Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You, Chewing Gum) along with Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI and Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen will select the winner for this year’s bursary. The award will be announced on Sunday, 18 October at The BFI London Film Festival 2020 Virtual LFF Audience Awards.

The 2020 shortlist are Cathy Brady (writer/director) for her debut feature Wildfire, Aleem Khan (writer/director) for his debut feature After Love and Francis Lee (writer/director) for his sophomore feature Ammonite.

Cathy Brady is a two-time IFTA-winning director. Her film Wildfire is a tale of two sisters who grew up on the fractious Irish border. When one of them, who has been missing, finally returns home, the intense bond with her sister is re-ignited. She commented, “It is such an honour to be on the shortlist and in such talented company. Thank you. I’m still in shock.”

Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab fellow, Aleem Khan’s debut feature, After Love, was backed by BBC Films and the BFI, and was selected for this year’s Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week, and also received an Official Selection at the Telluride Film Festival ahead of its LFF premiere. His film follows Mary Hussain, a sixty-two year old English-Muslim convert who suffers an identity crisis after her husband, Ahmed, dies and the secret she discovers after his passing. Khan said, “This is such an incredible acknowledgement and rare opportunity, thank you to IWC Schaffhausen, the BFI and pre-selecting panel for including me in the shortlist – and what wonderful filmmakers to be shortlisted alongside also.”

Francis Lee’s debut feature film, God’s Own Country (2017), premiered at Sundance 2017, where Francis won the Directing Award. Ammonite was backed by the BFI and BBC Films who both supported the development with See-Saw Films. “I am honoured to be shortlisted for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award, especially given the incredibly high calibre of previous shortlisted and winning filmmakers. As a second-time filmmaker, I am thrilled to be part of a shortlist this year with such exciting filmmaking talent,” Lee commented.

Previous recipients include writer/directors, Rose Glass (Saint Maud) in 2019, Richard Billlingham (Ray & Liz) in 2018, Daniel Kokotajlo (Apostasy) in 2017.

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