The PGGB Inspiration Award sponsored by BCD Media and Entertainment - presented to Samantha Perahia MBE, British Film Commission Head of Production UK, for the continuous guidance, advice and support she has provided to the UK film and High-end TV production sector, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Samantha has played a part in a number of landmark developments that have benefited the UK film and High-end TV industry since joining BFC in 2004, including introduction of the Creative Sector Tax Reliefs. Her work saw her awarded an MBE for services to the film and TV industry in the New Year Honours List 2019. However, it was in her current role as BFC’s Head of Production UK that she faced the challenge of navigating a path through the pandemic, which posed the largest threat to UK production in history. Samantha was an integral member of the BFI Covid Safety Taskforce and the BFC Covid-19 Inward Investment Recovery Group and led on the drafting of BFC's ‘Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production’ guidance. Working remotely, her team led one of the biggest cross-industry consultations ever undertaken, considering hundreds of submissions to develop the guidance. Working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Samantha led the guidance through government scrutiny to the highest level, including the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Public Health England and, finally, No.10. On 1st June 2020 the UK film and High-end TV sector became the first industry to publish Government-endorsed safety guidance, enabling production to start moving again. Since then, Samantha’s team has regularly updated the guidance amidst a constantly evolving landscape of changing restrictions, providing an invaluable source of up-to-date guidance to production professionals in the UK and overseas.
Iain Smith OBE, Chair of the British Film Commission, says: “Samantha Perahia is the best asset the British Film Commission has. Through her passion, her can-do approach and her hard work, she has become the trusted voice of our industry around the world and particularly in North America. As Chair of the BFC I thank her for her hard work and her dedication to that work and I salute her for everything she has done for our industry in this country.”
A Special Mention in this category goes to Lynn Saunders, Head of Liverpool Film Office, for her work developing the screen sector in Liverpool and the North-West region.