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 currently Chair of the Pact Film Policy Group. 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. Marc departed his position with CinemaNX to relaunch his company Samuelson Productions and has a slate of film and television projects in various stages of packaging and development. He was most recently executive producer on The Silent Storm directed by Corinna Villari-McFarlane and starring Andrea Riseborough and Damian Lewis and City of Tiny Lights directed by Pete Travis and starring Riz Ahmed, Billie Piper and Cush Jumbo.
Deputy Chair of the Film Committee
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, and 'Songbird', starring Cobie Smulders, under his company 'Unstoppable Entertainment'.
Alex has produced or co-produced over 20 films including the highly acclaimed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Anna Karenina and Paddington. She developed a passion for storytelling and the magic of cinema from an early age and after completing an undergraduate course in Film and Photographic Arts, 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 over the past 14 years has forged a career as a hands on co-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 has worked with and consistently helps them to realise their vision. As well as being an active campaigner for diversity in crewing on her productions, she is passionate about creating a fair working environment for the crew. As a mother of two teenage boys, Alex puts her family first, working primarily in London so that she can support her children whilst maintaining her busy work schedule. Alex is currently in post-production on Paddington 2, with a UK release date in November. She has a long-standing working relationship with both Heyday Films and Working Title Films and has some exciting projects in the pipeline.
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.
Anna Higgs is an experienced producer, consultant and commissioning executive with a track record of marrying the very best in cinematic storytelling together with innovative audience engagement strategies. As Creative Director at digital channel NOWNESS she spearheaded an industry-defining diversity strategy, working with emerging filmmakers including Chelsea McMullan, Jenn Nkiru and Lisa Gunning, as well as leading the channel to winning a Webby Award.
Her credits as an executive at Film4 include the highest grossing cinematic documentary of its year, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s BAFTA nominated 20,000 Days on Earth, Ken Loach’s The Spirit of ’45, Louise Osmond’s Sundance award-wining Dark Horse, Ben Wheatley’s Screen distribution award-winning A Field in England, and Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank. As well as supporting these productions, she supported the development of new work including Jonathan Entwistle’s The End of the Fcking World, Shynola’s Dr. Easy and Fyzal Boulifa’s Teenage Model.
In addition to her production work, Anna is a member of the British Screen Advisory Council, a mentor for the Clore Leadership Programme and serves on the board of Film London. She also advises a range of festivals on their programming engagement strategies including SXSW, Sundance and CPH:DOX. Anna’s career to date has seen her most recently named as one Creative Review's Creative Leaders 50, alongside the likes of Felix Barret, Gorillaz and Maria Balshaw, and selected as one of Time Out’s inaugural Culture 100 alongside Danny Boyle, Barbara Broccoli and Steve McQueen.
Pippa Markham has been a top actor’s agent for nearly forty years. She joined Plant & Froggatt, a small theatrical agency in 1976, became a Director in 1980; on the retirement of Cy Plant, the company became Markham and Froggatt, and more recently, Markham, Froggatt and Irwin. She built the company from three people in a tiny office to filling a four storey building, and currently acts as a consultant. Her first clients, Timothy Spall and Bill Nighy, are still with the agency; other clients over her career include Chiwetel Ejiofor, Damian Lewis, Christopher Plummer, Tim Roth, Rod Steiger, Mark Strong, Naomi Watts, Juliet Stevenson and Sir Ian Holm.
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.
Biography to follow
Jinx Godfrey is a film editor working in feature films, documentaries and commercials. Her long time collaboration with director James Marsh includes The Theory of Everything and the Academy Award winning documentary Man on Wire, for which she won an ACE Eddie Award for Best Documentary Editing. She also edited Sir David Hare’s TV Drama Page Eight, starring Bill Nighy, Ralph Fiennes, and Rachel Weisz; Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now, starring Saoirse Ronan; and Otto Bathurst’s TV Drama Margot, starring Anne-Marie Duff. She has edited commercials in the U.K. and the U.S. for Dante Ariola, Mike Figgis, Tom Hooper, Tony Kaye, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, and the late Tony Scott.
Biography to follow
Biography to follow
Ula Pontikos’ first feature 'Weekend' premiered at SWSX in March 2011 and became an instant hit, scooping the Audience Award. By the end of the year the film had picked up over 20 international awards. It also appeared in many critics 'Best of 2011' lists. Since then Ula won the Sundance Cinematography Award in 2014 for her second feature 'Lilting' (Hong Khou’s directorial debut). As well as features, Ula has set the look of numerous TV dramas including critically acclaimed Humans and Marcella. In 2015 Ula was invited to join the British Society of Cinematographers. Currently Ula is working on completing the latest project “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”. Based on the memoir by British actor Peter Turner, the movie follows three year relationship between Turner (Jamie Bell) and the eccentric Academy Award-winning actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening), who rose to fame in the 1940s. The film is directed by Paul McGuigan and produced by Barbara Broccoli and Colin Vaines. Apart from working on long form projects, Ula is also shooting commercials.