The Children's Committee is not only involved in the content and presentation of the annual British Academy Children's Film and Television Awards (considering categories, chairing juries, providing key editorial advice) but is increasingly involved in developing membership events throughout the year to raise the profile of children's film and television and to highlight the Academy's commitment to the industry.
The Children's committee consists of three elected representatives of each of the three sector committees (Film, Television and Games). The rest of the committee is co-opted.
Helen Blakeman - Chair of the Children's Committee
Helen Blakeman is a BAFTA and International Emmy Award winning writer, both of which she received for her TV screenplay adaptation of ‘Dustbin Baby’ (BBC/Kindle Entertainment) starring Juliet Stevenson, David Haig and Dakota Blue Richards. She also wrote the much-acclaimed and controversial film ‘Pleasureland’ for Kudos/Channel 4 (BAFTA, RTS nomination) and has scripted numerous episodes of teen soap ‘Hollyoaks’ (Lime Pictures/C4).
For theatre, she has written ‘Caravan’ (Bush Theatre, London, directed by Gemma Bodinetz). For ‘Caravan’, Helen won the George Devine Award and was nominated for Lloyds Playwright of the Year Award. She has also written ‘Normal’ for the Bush (Pearson Playwright Award) and ‘The Morris’ for the Liverpool Everyman.
Helen is currently creating a long-running series for CBBC and a movie adaptation of a children’s classic. She is also currently writing a play for the Royal Court Theatre, London.
Alexandra Ferguson Derbyshire - Film Committee Representative
biography to follow
Beryl directs Film, TV drama and comedy. In TV, as lead director, she’s helped create many popular UK teens and kids series, for which she has been awarded 4 BAFTA’s, and 2 Int. EMMY nominations, most recently in 2016 for interactive comedy Secret Life of Boys.
Beryl’s short drama Firework screened in competition at Heartland USA and Bristol Encounters in 2016, and is part of Wrong Planet, a feature drama/documentary made with her son Joe, based on his life in a special school. Beryl’s short films have been shown in 60 international festivals. Her feature script Runaway won the VFF screenwriting prize at the Berlinale.
Beryl has exec produced 170 kids short films for the European Broadcasting Union working with writers and directors in 38 countries, many films appear in international festivals; two have recently won a BAFTA for the BBC and S4C.
In 2011 Beryl joined the board of Directors UK, and was Chair 2015 to 2017. She helped found and chaired the DUK’s Gender Equality Group, which has led campaigning for better representation of women directors in the UK and worldwide. She won the 2016 Women in Film/ITV Achievement of the Year award in recognition of this work.
Beryl has been a Bafta mentor for students from NFS and LFS, and set up a film club and then mentored teenage students with autism and ADHD, who went on to attend film school. She is co-founder and programmer of Furzedown community film festival in Tooting.
Beryl is also based in Killyleagh, Northern Ireland where she has directed recent TV work and set up a production company Strangford Pictures Ltd.
Lee Schuneman - Games Committee representative
Studio Head, Microsoft – Lift London
Lift London, based in Soho, is home to a growing collective of world-class artists, designers and creative technologists and a global centre of excellence in developing the future of how people will interact with Microsoft’s services and devices including HoloLens, Surface, Web, Mobile & Cloud.
The studio is currently leading several key new initiatives for Microsoft’s future helping shape the next generation of Windows experiences. Embracing agile development techniques and the continuous delivery and improvement to their products though data, feedback and creative risk.
Lee is also a Board member at London's leading festival of creativity, Soho Create and a Committee Member at BAFTA focused on New Talent Initiatives in particular Breakthrough Brits. He's recently be named as one Creative Review's, Creative Leaders 50 a new initiative to celebrate, educate and inspire those who are leading creative businesses, organisations and teams.
With almost twenty years leadership experience, 50 Million games sold and two BAFTA's, Lee operates at the cutting edge of design, technology & innovation to deliver on his mission: to be deliberate, distinctive and daring.
Head of Top Creators, YouTube
SVP General Manager of Nickelodeon UK & Ireland
Alison Bakunowich is SVP General Manager of Nickelodeon UK & Ireland. Reporting directly to the Board of Nickelodeon, Alison is responsible for the Nickelodeon business within the UK and Ireland. Driving ratings and revenues across the Nickelodeon brands including seven television channels, the network’s multiplatform and consumer products offering, Alison oversees the linear planning, scheduling and media planning of the Nickelodeon UK network. Alison works with the International Programming team on local programme acquisitions and commissions and supervises programme commissions and acquisitions for Channel 5’s popular Milkshake strand. Alison joined Nickelodeon UK & Ireland in 2011 as Vice President, Creative, Marketing and Communications.
Previous to her tenure at Nickelodeon UK and Ireland, Bakunowich served as Marketing and Commercial Partnerships Director for Nickelodeon Australia/New Zealand. Prior to Nickelodeon, she worked at Australia’s John Fairfax Publications. During her seven years with the company she was responsible for the strategic development and brand management of The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend and the(sydney)magazine. Bakunowich is a recipient of the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association, Newspaper Marketer of the Year Award and in 2007 was part of the committee that founded Earth Hour.
Vanessa Brookman is Vice President of Content & Creative, Northern Europe – a role in which she is responsible for defining and executing content strategy for the company’s kids’ and general entertainment portfolio across the UK, Nordic and Baltic countries. Prior to joining Turner, Brookman was VP of Programming for MTV and 5
- at Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Head of Fiction and Children’s, Commercial Agency at BBC Vision.
Helen is Head of CBBC Productions, leading the award-winning, multi-platform inhouse production team in Salford and responsible for successful brands like Newsround, The Dumping Ground, Blue Peter, Wolfblood, Hetty Feather, Class Dismissed, 4 0 Clock Club, Dengineers and Marrying Mum and Dad. It’s this CBBC Productions team which is behind the new The Worst Witch drama.
Previously, Helen was Head of BBC Entertainment Production North in Manchester and Head of Vision North, producing key network shows including Dragons’ Den and A Question Of Sport.
Helen joined the BBC in 1991 as a Broadcast Journalist Trainee in News, moving to Manchester in 1993 to work on the Daytime and Features slate. She has worked in the North ever since on a wide range of output, developing and executive producing shows for BBC One, Two, Three and Four plus multiplatform and Red Button output. She is a former Chair of RTS NW, Chair of the BBC North Diversity Action Group and sits on the BAFTA TV and Children’s Committees.
Managing Director, Blue-Zoo
Oli Hyatt has been Creative Director at Blue-Zoo for 13 years, helping it thrive through difficult times for the animation industry. His most recent show Olive the Ostrich is a huge hit on Nick Jr, and has been sold right around the world. He is the Director of Alphablocks Limited; the company behind Cbeebies Phonics show Alphablocks, as well as being the chair of AnimationUK. He has been Broadcast’s ‘Young Animator of the Year’, Guardian’s ‘Young Businessman of the Year’ and has received two BAFTA nominations for Those Scurvy Rascals and Stitch Up Showdown.
Blue-Zoo also won ‘BAFTA Production Company of the year’ 2012.
Sharna Jackson is a Children’s Content Creator and Curator. She's currently leading on Creative Engagement for Lost My Name - the impossibly personalised children's book company - and is curating the CMC Playground show at Site Gallery, Sheffield.
Sharna's previous roles include Director of Creative, Content and Interactive at Hopster, a TV and Learning app for 2-6 year olds and Editor: Tate Kids, which won Webbys, Lovies and Children’s BAFTAs. She is a published writer with two art activity book released in November 2014 and has written for talent including LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek. Through her consultancy Seahorse, she has worked with museums, galleries, SVOD platforms and publishers across the world.
Sharna is on the board of Upswing, a contemporary circus company and sits on the Children's Media Conference Advisory Committee. She was a governor at a primary school in South East London for many years. She runs the popular Games Based Learning Twitter and Linked-In groups. Sharna has as a PgDip in Media Culture and Communication from the Institute of Education, University of London.
Disney Channels UK & Ireland at The Walt Disney Company
David Levine is Vice President, Programming, Production and Strategic Development, Disney Channels EMEA, and General Manager, Disney Channels UK & Ireland. As Vice President, he is responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of Programming across Disney Channels EMEA, including the development of the linear and multi-platform programming strategy. David is responsible for the direction of original production and overseeing the development and production slates of originally produced content, acquisitions and co-productions. He has developed and commissioned Emmy-nominated Evermoor, First Class Chefs, The Evermoor Chronicles, and The Lodge.
As General Manager of Disney Channels UK & Ireland, David leads a team that utilizes these key platforms to drive familiarity and awareness for the Disney brand and content, through key partnerships with Sky Broadcasting, Virgin Media and more.
David joined Disney in March 2004, serving multiple roles in US Programming, Worldwide Programming and Channel GM. Prior to Disney, David worked for Ragdoll USA as Vice President Business Affairs and Development.
Sarah Muller is Head of Children’s at Channel 5 in the UK. Responsible for the commissioning and acquisition of children’s programming for Channel 5’s digital and linear platforms, Sarah oversees the channel’s popular programming strand, Milkshake!
Previously, she was Creative Director - Scripted, Animation and Co-Productions for CBBC Productions, and was, prior to that, Head of CBBC Acquisitions, Animation and Drama Development for CBBC.
Passionate about all Kids’ content, her commissioned projects include Danger Mouse, Strange Hill High, The Worst Witch, Harriet’s Army, Wolfblood, The Dumping Ground, Tracy Beaker Returns, Dr Who – Dreamland, Muddle Earth and Just William.
Prior to joining BBC Children’s, she was Managing Director/Executive Producer of UK Prod Co - Elephant Productions whose credits include the multi-award winning Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids (CITV), New Willo The Wisp (Disney) and the BAFTA-winning drama series The Revenge Files of Alastair Fury (BBC1).
Faraz is the MD of Lemonade Money, a collection of award winning, expert video producers and creatives, crafting films in music, fashion, art and youth culture, for broadcasters, brands and online channels in a confident, celebratory and inclusive way. Clients include Beats, Red Bull, Channel 4, Radio 1, Comedy Central and vevo.
Previous to taking the helm at Lemonade Money, Faraz was the Editor of Education at Channel 4.
Dedicated to exploring what's next in Television and online video, Faraz has over fifteen years of experience in TV, online and media production, working across International Emmy, BAFTA, BIMA and Broadcast award winning content for broadcasters and brands. His work includes commissioning for national broadcasters, development of primetime TV and online brands, delivery of innovative digital projects online and on mobile and relationship management across a range of stakeholders including corporate, state and charity sectors.
Simon is currently working as a Consultant Executive Producer for Sony Music Entertainment.
Established for over 17 years as a creative producer on a wide variety of preschool programmes, Simon has produced many international preschool series including: “Zack & Quack” a CG animated series for Nickelodeon and the live action / animation hybrid “Waybuloo” first shown on Cbeebies. His work also includes the regeneration of “Thomas and Friends” in the UK that reintroduced the British favorite to PBS in America.
In the early 1980’s Simon joined the BBC as a floor assistant, working his way up the production ladder to direct on a wide variety of entertainment programmes, including “In Sickness & In Health”, “Wogan” and “Rory Bremner”. He left the BBC in 1995 and after a period of continuing to work as a freelance director on different comedy and music series – including the RTS award-winning “Gayle’s World” – he segued into children’s television, directing and producing for both “The Walt Disney Company” and “The Jim Henson Company”.
Simon is very proud that his work in pre-school television has earned him three BAFTA nominations as a director and as a producer. As he says: “Children’s television is a rich creative playground where I remain extremely happy to play along”.