Chair of the Film Committee
Marc Samuelson was formerly a director of the Association of Independent Producers and of the Edinburgh International Television Festival, and MD of Umbrella Films, producers of White Mischief and 1984. He was previously a Board Member of the UK Film Council, a Governor of the NFTS and Deputy Chairman of the British Screen Advisory Council, and he is a member of Pact Council.
From 1990 to 2006 he worked as an independent film producer on films such as the Oscar nominated Tom & Viv, BAFTA-nominated Wilde, Arlington Road, Gabriel & Me, The Gathering, Things To Do Before You're 30, and Stormbreaker, and as executive producer of The Libertine, Keeping Mum and Chromophobia.
In August 2007 Marc became a director of CinemaNX, the film investment company backed by the Isle of Man Government. For NX Marc produced BAFTA-nominated Me and Orson Welles and TT3D: Closer to the Edge and executive produced The Disappearance of Alice Creed, A Bunch of Amateurs, Heartless, Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita, Wild Target, Albatross, The Shadow Line, The Decoy Bride, Ashes and Honour.
In 2016 he launched Route 24 ltd, a TV drama production company backed by ITV Studios. R24 is now in advanced development with a number of series across a range of networks.
Deputy Chair of the Film Committee
Anna Higgs is a creative leader working at the forefront of storytelling and audiences.
As Head of Entertainment at Facebook in the UK, Anna leads a team across film, music, television and publishing, working in partnership with studios, record labels, broadcasters and publishers to help connect great work with the right audiences.
Because side hustles are all the rage, Anna is also a columnist for Creative Review, specialising in career coaching, workplace culture and career growth advice for creatives with the ‘Ask Anna’ monthly feature.
Before joining Facebook Anna was Creative Director at global culture channel NOWNESS, bringing the best emerging and established filmmakers together with bold audience strategies. During her time there, she developed, commissioned, produced and distributed dozens of series, hundreds of single films and curated thousands of acquired short films. She also spearheaded a move to 50/50 gender balanced commissioning across all editorial and branded work, as well as a strategic company restructure that led to a successful merger with China’s Modern Media and Dazed Media Group.
Prior to NOWNESS, she was a commissioner and Head of Digital at Film4, leading cinematic innovation with projects including Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days on Earth, Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ’45 and Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank. This move built on a strong track record as an independent producer working across film, TV and digital projects.
Anna’s work has seen her named as one Creative Review's ‘Creative Leaders 50’, alongside the likes of Felix Barret, Gorillaz and Maria Balshaw. In 2012 she was selected as one of the inaugural Time Out ‘Culture 100’, a celebration of the "innovators, visionaries and pioneers behind what's now and what's next. A search for the most original and influential people in the UK creative and media industries" alongside creative innovators such as Danny Boyle, Stella McCartney, Grayson Perry, Jonathan Ive, Zadie Smith, Thomas Heatherwick and Alan Rusbridger.
Alison Thompson is Co-President of Cornerstone Films Limited, a sales and production-finance Company, which she co-owns with partner Mark Gooder. The newly-formed Company aims to represent and curate a diversified slate of films of enduring quality for the international market place, ranging from commercial, wide release movies, to talent-driven films from world-renowned filmmakers. Cornerstone debuted in Cannes with Asif Kapadia’s AMY which screened in the Official Selection Out of Competition. Thompson’s career spans three decades: Prior to Cornerstone, she spent 8 years as Co-President of Universal owned Focus Features International (‘FFI’), running its international arm. FFI’s prestigious slate included Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and more recently Woody Allen’s, Blue Jasmine and Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner. Before that she headed Pathé Pictures International representing films including Girl With A Pearl Earring and The Motorcycle Diaries. Prior to joining Pathé, Thompson was chief executive of The Sales Company, one of the UK’s top sales agencies through the 1990s. During her 14 years there, she represented more than 100 films from some of the world’s most celebrated filmmakers. She began her career with the Rank Organisation and Channel Four.
Biography to follow
Simon Chinn is a double Oscar-winning producer who is responsible for some of the most successful feature documentaries of recent years, known for their high production values, powerful narratives and innovative blending of documentary and fiction techniques. He set up his company Red Box Films in 2005 to produce Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh, which he conceived and which went on to win over 30 international awards including the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. He followed that up with a string of multi award winning feature documentaries including Project Nim, The Imposter, The Green Prince, Garnet's Gold and Searching for Sugar Man, which also won a BAFTA and an Academy Award. His latest films are Bolshoi Babylon, currently on theatrical release, and Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie, which premiered at the London Film Festival and will be released later in 2016. Simon launched Lightbox in 2014 with his cousin, Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn. Focused on producing high-end non-fiction content for the small screen, Lightbox is currently in production on projects for Netflix, National Geographic Channel, ESPN, Fusion, FX, Channel 4 and BBC2.
Noel Clarke is a BAFTA-winning English actor, director and screenwriter from London. He is best known for his television work in “Dr Who” and “Auf Wiedershen, Pet,” as well as his feature film work in “Kidulthood”, which he wrote and starred in and the sequel “Adulthood”, which he wrote, directed and starred in. “Adulthood” took over £1.2 million in its opening weekend in the UK out-grossing “The Incredible Hulk” and “Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, before going on to gross £3.3 million domestically in the UK. Noel has also appeared in Hollywood blockbusters such as J.J. Abrams multi-million dollar “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Released in 2014 by Universal Pictures, Noel went onto direct and act in “The Anomaly,” a sci-fi thriller starring Ian Somerhalder, Alexis Knapp, Luke Hemsworth and Brian Cox. Since then, Noel has played the lead in ITV crime drama "Chasing Shadows", alongside Reece Shearsmith and Alex Kingston and has produced "Scottish Mussel" starring Talulah Riley, which is due for release later this year. He has written, directed and starred in "Brotherhood" the third in the "Kidulthood", "Adulthood" trilogy. Brotherhood, released by Lionsgate UK on the 29th of August 2016, screened as part of the official selection at Toronto Film Festival and UrbanWorld (New York) 2016. Noel’s latest acting appearance has been in ITV crime drama “The Level”, in which he stars in along with Laura Haddock, Rob-James Collier and Karla Crome. At the beginning of 2017 Noel produced '10x10', starring Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly, 'Songbird', starring Cobie Smulders, and is now producing and Starring in Bulletproof with Vertigo films for Sky One.
Alex is an established Film Producer based in London. She has produced or co-produced over 20 films, including the ground breaking Working Title productions Anna Karenina and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Most recently Alex Executive Produced the award-winning Paddington films, written and directed by Paul King; a collaboration which continued into preparation for a Disney adaptation of Pinocchio.
From an early age, Alex had a passion for storytelling and the magic of cinema. After graduating in Film and Photographic Arts, she went on to work on IMAX documentaries, which took her around the world filming in the most remote corners of the globe. The most notable of these productions was the award-winning IMAX 3D film BUGS, filmed on location in Borneo and at Peter Parks’ bespoke micro studio in Oxford.
In 2003 Alex started working on feature films and since then has forged a career as a hands-on producer. She can always be found on set, right at the heart of the film. Alex considers her role as a support and sounding board for the director. She is highly valued by the directors that she works with and consistently helps them to realise their vision. As well as being an active campaigner for diversity in crewing on her productions, Alex is passionate about creating a fair workplace and endeavours to create a supportive, family environment on set.
Alex is currently in early preparation for her next project with Universal Pictures – waiting for dinosaurs to hatch before filming can commence!
Gillian Hawser is an internationally renowned casting director who has worked for over twenty-five years across film, television and theatre in the UK, Europe and the US. From Bill Kenwright to Warner Bros, Sony, HBO and Universal, she has developed close working relationships with leading producers on both sides of the Atlantic to deliver casts of exceptional talent, imagination and diversity. Gillian has a wealth of experience, having cast over150 titles on IMDB alone. Her range is notable: recent projects include the Hollywood pictures Whatever Happened to Monday starring Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe and The Medusa with Jesse Eisenberg and Pierce Brosnan; the British independent films Mum’s List with Rafe Spall and Emilia Fox and David Mamet’s latest film adaptation Come Back to Sorrento; six Universal films, five further indies, four television series and several shorts. She mentors a number of emerging directors and producers and works pro bono on a handful of projects each year to support the next generation of British filmmaking talent. For film to retain its currency and credibility as a singularly powerful form of storytelling, casting directors have a responsibility to open the door to performers of all backgrounds. Gillian is proud of her long-standing professional commitment to equality and diversity. She auditions diverse actors on every project: over 65% of one recent cast came from BAME backgrounds. A priority for her as a member of Film Committee is to raise awareness of how casting can positively transform the image of our industry. Gillian is passionate about the work of the Academy and has been closely involved in its mentoring, outreach and equality schemes. She takes her BAFTA responsibilities extremely seriously: prior to being elected onto Film Committee she served as an elected member of BAFTA Council for six years and never missed a meeting. These are uncertain times for Britain, and by extension the UK film industry: in the coming years the Academy will have an even more vital role to play at the heart of British culture, trade and industry. Gillian is very proud to be part of the team helping to shape that role and forge an even brighter and more diverse future for BAFTA.
Jo Hartley is a British actor and writer who has appeared in some of the UK's most cutting edge films and TV dramas. She began her career with virtuoso Shane Meadows, appearing in the cult classic DEAD MAN’S SHOES, starring alongside Paddy Considine and Toby Kebbell. Jo then went on to work with Shane once again in the BAFTA multi-award winning movie and TV series THIS IS ENGLAND, playing the iconic Cynthia Fields. Jo’s more recent work includes Dexter Fletcher’s EDDIE THE EAGLE, starring alongside Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton, as Jeanette Edwards, Eddie’s mum. Jo then went on to co-star in David Cross’ BLISS, with Heather Graham and Stephen Mangan. Jo is currently starring in Ricky Gervais’ AFTER LIFE on Netflix and BBC Two’s DON’T FORGET THE DRIVER. She’ll also be seen later this year in TEMPLE on Sky, alongside Mark Strong and Danny Mays. At the beginning of 2018, Jo co-created two TV projects which have since been optioned by Wild Mercury Productions and Expectation Entertainment. Jo’s aim is to serve as a team player at BAFTA, inspiring unity and collaboration. She hopes to participate in decision making, whilst gaining a new understanding of what goes on behind the scenes, at all creative levels. Sharing her voice, pushing boundaries and inspiring new ideas. Jo’s love and knowledge of film has driven her to work earnestly and consistently within the industry for over fifteen years as a successful actor and now as a writer. Jo hopes to help shape a more distinct future, improving opportunities in both diversity and gender within the industry, taking film and TV at BAFTA into a new era.
David Thompson, former head of BBC Films, is an independent film and TV producer. He has produced/executive produced over 100 films and been the recipient of multiple awards, including three BAFTAs, two Golden Globes, and three Emmys. His feature credits include Billy Elliot, Iris, Dirty Pretty Things, Notes on a Scandal, Revolutionary Road, Fish Tank, Eastern Promises, In The Loop, My Summer of Love, An Education, Bright Star and The Men Who Stare at Goats. Over his career, Thompson made a special contribution to introducing the work of new directors such as Pawel Pawlikowski, Lynne Ramsay, Andrea Arnold, Dominic Savage and Sarah Gavron. His TV credits as producer include several Alan Clarke films, the first Shadowlands and numerous award-winning television dramas such as Into the Storm, The Gathering Storm, Conspiracy, The Lost Prince and Einstein & Eddington. David left the BBC in 2008 to set up Origin Pictures, producing high quality feature films and television drama. Recent TV productions include the BAFTA-nominated The Crimson Petal and The White and Death Comes to Pemberley for BBC. Origin’s film productions include Mandela starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, Woman In Gold starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds and the recently released The Sense of an Ending starring Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling.
Andrew Orr has worked in the Film industry for 19 years across with extensive experience across all areas from development, financing, production, international sales, marketing and distribution.
Andrew Orr is currently the Managing Director at Independent, a London based Production and Sales Company. Established in 2005, Independent is now one of the longest established sales companies in London with the library of over 71 Films including titles such as
London to Brighton, Hallam Foe, Moon, Starred Up, Metro Manila, Jawbone and The Escape.
Andrew also works closely with Independent Productions, sourcing material and generating new ideas. Andrew is responsible for raising and closing financing on all Independent productions including We Need To Talk About Kevin, Mr Nice, The Falling and Out of Blue, the next feature from Carol Morley which was just released in USA (IFC) and UK (Picturehouse). Andrew has also Exec Produced 3rd party acquisitions, including What We Did On Our Holiday. In 2015, Andrew produced Level Up, a feature based on his original idea. The film was sold to Universal and was released theatrically in North American in 2016.
Independent is one of the foremost sales companies for theatrical documentaries and has sold Oscar nominated Exit Through The Shop and Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry. In 2016, Independent represented Jim Jarmusch’s Gimme Danger which was invited to official selection at the Cannes Film Festival; I Am Bolt about Olympic champion Usain Bolt and Supersonic, about Oasis.
Andrew formerly handled Acquisitions and Business Affairs for The Works International and was involved in the Acquisitions and Sales of over 40 titles including 24 Hours Party People, Sweet Sixteen, Bend it Like Beckham, Whale Rider, In this World and My Summer of Love.
David has worked as an independent film, TV and theatre producer for over 30 years. His film credits include Henry V, Peter's Friends, Much Ado About Nothing, The Madness of King George (BAFTA for Outstanding British Film), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Twelfth Night, The Wings of the Dove, Shakespeare in Love (winner of Seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and four BAFTA Awards including Best Film), Gangs of New York (Production Consultant), I Capture the Castle, Chasing Liberty and A Bunch of Amateurs. In 2010 he produced the BAFTA nominated My Week with Marilyn followed in 2011 by Tom Stoppard’s award-winning adaptation of Parade’s End for BBC and HBO. David also produced The Wipers Times for BBC 2 and two BBC 4 documentaries: Glyndebourne: The Untold History and Birth of an Opera.
David’s company Trademark Films co-produced the world’s first hand-painted animated feature film, Loving Vincent, which was nominated for both BAFTA and Academy Awards in the Animation category.
Red Joan starring Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Tom Hughes and Stephen Campbell Moore was released in 2019 and most recently, David co-produced The Father starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman which is currently in post-production.
David was Chair of BAFTA 2008-10 and was Chairman of Film London 2010-17.
SALLY EL HOSAINI - biography to follow
Jinx Godfrey has been editing feature films, feature Docs, TV series and commercials for 25 years. Her credits include the award-winning documentary Man On Wire, The Theory of Everything and most recently, the acclaimed TV series Chernobyl.
ULA PONTIKOS - biography to follow