Six BFI Talent Executives appointed in the regions

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Wed 25th Apr 2018

Industry News

Six new BFI NETWORK Talent Executives have been appointed to work in the English regions to provide vital support to new and aspiring talent where they live, delivering on a commitment outlined in the BFI’s five year strategy BFI2022. Supported by National Lottery funding, these new roles will ensure that everyone around the country is able to access expertise along with funding for short film and early development work, and sees decision making responsibility passed to the regions. The Executives will also create opportunities for talent to connect with the local industry, providing networks between established professionals and emerging creatives.

BFI NETWORK exists to discover and support talented writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers and these new Talent Executives will be based in leading film organisations and venues around the country. Joining the five English Film Hubs, which partly form the UK-wide BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), the Executives are Thomas Wightman for Film Hub South East (which spans from Chichester to Norwich and Canterbury), Alice Cabanas for Film Hub South West (which spans from Bristol to Southampton and Plymouth), Jessica Loveland and Alice Ramsey for Film Hub North (which spans from Liverpool to Hull and Berwick-upon-Tweed), Alexzandra Jackson for Film Hub Midlands (which spans from Nottingham to Birmingham and Hereford) and Josic Cadoret for Film Hub London.

The new BFI NETWORK Talent Executives will work closely with BFI Talent Development Manager Matimba Kabalika, who was part of the Film Hubs’ recruitment process. They join the existing talent development executives in Northern Ireland Screen, FfilmCymru Wales and the Scottish Film Talent Network who all help to deliver BFI NETWORK. Doc Society, who were recently appointed to run the BFI’s documentary funds, are currently developing a programme for new and emerging documentary filmmakers, as part of BFI NETWORK.

Matimba Kabalika, Talent Development Manager, BFI, said: “We’re really pleased to be extending the reach and accessibility of BFI NETWORK support through the appointment of these six Talent Executives in the regions. The range of expertise of the individuals involved, as well as the opportunities represented by them being embedded in leading film venues across the country is really exciting.”

Speaking on behalf of the English Hubs, Eleanor Thornley, Manager of Film Hub Midlands, said: “The appointment of these six fantastic talent executives across England is hugely exciting for aspiring talent up and down the country. Having dedicated talent spotters based in the regions, with experience of helping filmmakers and storytellers develop their skills, is a positive and necessary development, and being part of our already well established Hubs will enable us to foster networks of creatives, audiences and industry professionals to benefit our local talent.”

In addition to providing access to BFI National Lottery funding, the Executives will offer editorial expertise on funded projects and professional development to help the progression from making shorts to developing long-form stories, including features. As regional Executives who are also part of a national framework, they will also offer signposting to the full scope of funding and training opportunities available to develop careers across the screen industries, and broker professional and creative relationships with peers.

As set out in the BFI’s five year strategy BFI2022, these appointments build on the success of BFI FAN which has an extensive reach across the UK, and BFI NETWORK’s growing track record of providing support to a wide range of talent, effectively developing filmmaker careers. It also recognises the strength of the Hubs as spaces for filmmakers and audiences to meet in a creative and cultural environment, and reflects the BFI NETWORK offer which already exists in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The new BFI NEWORK Talent Executives

Thomas Wightman, Film Hub South East

Thomas joins from the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) where he’s managed STOP PLAY RECORD, a London-wide commissioning programme for emerging filmmakers. STOP PLAY RECORD ran from 2015 to 2018 and during this time Thomas commissioned, developed and exec produced 72 short films made by filmmakers aged 16-24 for the Channel 4 Random Acts series. The programme also provided free monthly workshops for young people interested in all aspects of filmmaking. Prior to joining the ICA, Thomas worked for the BBC and gained independent commissions as a Producer and Director in film and visual arts.

Alice Cabanas for Film Hub South West

Alice Cabañas joins from British Council's Film Team, where she was the Film Programme Manager, managing the short film and new talent support offer, including the Travel Grant scheme and an annual calendar of events for new and emerging UK filmmakers. Working closely with international programmers and buyers, Alice promoted UK short films across the globe. Alongside working with UK filmmakers, she looked after Global exhibition projects including running the EU Film Festival offer internationally, alongside British Council film projects and exhibition initiatives across Europe.

Alice joined the British Council after three years with Encounters Festival, based in Bristol, where she headed up communications, strategy and development for the Festival, running several year-round training and development initiatives for new and emerging filmmakers. She began as marketing manager in 2014 and then led the Festival as Co-director between 2015-17. Alice has also been a mentor for several new talent schemes within the creative sector including Guiding Lights and Re:Present.

Jessica Loveland for Film Hub North

Jess joins from Dublin-based Blinder Films where she worked as Development Executive across their feature film and television slate. She previously worked for Creative England and BFI NETWORK as Development and Production Executive finding and developing new and emerging filmmaking talent and supporting filmmakers through the development and production of shorts and feature film projects. Jess was a freelance script reader and editor for five years working with companies such as BBC Drama, Northern Ireland Screen, the Bush Theatre and New Writing South and programmes the comedy strand for the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

Alice Ramsey for Film Hub North

Alice previously worked as Development and Production Executive at Creative England as part of the BFI NETWORK. Working with new and emerging writers, directors and producers across England on short films, first feature development and professional development support. Prior to this, she worked at international sales and film finance company Bankside Films, working on the films by acclaimed directors Amma Asante, Michael Winterbottom and David Mackenzie.

Alexzandra Jackson for Film Hub Midlands

Before taking post as BFI NETWORK Talent Executive for the Midlands, Alexzandra managed Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre's learning and talent programme and has lead on other national projects, including Access Cinema, which works to establish comfortable and enjoyable cinema environments for people with disabilities and Reel India, a programme designed to introduce specialised Indian family cinema to new audiences. From 2014 to 2018 Alexzandra also lectured in Professional Practice in the UK Film Industry for De Montfort University.

In addition, she serves as Festival Director of Leicester's international short film festival. Though the festival has grown exponentially in size, it retains its grassroots approach and its core values: to celebrate short film in all its forms and to foster a creative environment, in which filmmaking in the Midlands and beyond can thrive. Her career focus is diversity, equality and inclusion, celebrating talent and closing the gap between filmmaking and exhibition.

Josic Cadoret for Film Hub London

Jo has manged the delivery of Film London’s award-winning short film schemes London Calling, London Calling Plus and other short film related projects since 2003. In that time, he has developed and delivered 100s of ground breaking and international award-winning shorts, including four BAFTA nominees – most recently Wren Boys, and the BAFTA-winning I Do Air.