The BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase will take place at the New York Television Festival on Thursday 22 October.
London, 10 August: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Rocliffe today announced the winners of a nationwide competition to find the UK’s most promising comedy writers, who will showcase their work in front of some of the biggest names in the US television industry.
Samuel Jefferson, Tom Moran, and writing pair Henry Dalton & Paul Cope will see an extract from their scripts performed live at the New York Television Festival on Thursday 22 October, and will receive feedback from a high profile creative. Previous chairs of the event include: Stephanie Laing, Executive Producer of Veep and Eastbound and Down; Greg Daniels, writer/producer/director of The Office and Parks and Recreation; and Jenni Konner, writer/producer of Girls.
The event, delivered under the banner of ‘BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase’, is a special incarnation of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum, BAFTA’s flagship writing programme in partnership with Rocliffe. This is the fifth consecutive year that the event is taking place at the New York Television Festival, with support from BAFTA’s local branch, BAFTA New York.
A jury of comedy professionals from the UK and US helped select the winning entrants, including executives from leading independent production companies and major broadcasters. For a list of the jurors, go to: http://bit.ly/1IMj1NB
In addition to the showcase event, the successful writers will receive: an official artist pass to NYTVF; travel and accommodation for the lead writer; a year’s free access to BAFTA’s events programme; and access to bespoke industry networking opportunities, including development mentoring sessions with UK comedy commissioners and independent production companies, and one-to-one meetings with top talent agents.
Krishnendu Majumdar, Chair of BAFTA’s Television Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be able to introduce these exciting British writers to an international audience at the New York Television Festival. We hope that the experience of attending the festival, showing their work to potential commissioners, and the ongoing support from BAFTA and Rocliffe, will prove invaluable to our winners as they progress their careers.”
Terence Gray, Founder and Executive Director of the New York Television Festival, said: “We are so pleased to welcome the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase back to the New York Television Festival and congratulate each of the selected writers. This program has consistently identified truly talented writers and creators who have enjoyed great success as Official Artists at the NYTVF, and we look forward to exciting things from this year's winners.”
Farah Abushwesha, Founder of Rocliffe, said: “I’m so proud and delighted that we have discovered three new writing teams who I hope, like their predecessors, will go on to forge great careers. There is no doubt that these writers have huge potential, and the great thing about this platform is that they will get the support that they need in order to thrive.”
For the first time this year, the details of shortlisted entrants endorsed by more than four jurors will be published in the BAFTA Rocliffe Forum List, a new spotlight for screenwriting talent. All unsuccessful applicants receive a detailed script report to help them to develop their writing and story skills.
Biographies and project synopses of the writers:
BAFTASamuel Jefferson – Flatlined (Episode One: First Aid)
Synopsis: A dry-humoured window into the lives of staff at a central London A&E (Accident and Emergency) department as they struggle to cope with their patients, and each other.
Samuel Jefferson was raised in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and now lives in London. Whilst studying Medicine at Newcastle University, Jefferson wrote several award winning one-act plays, including one which received critical praise at The Edinburgh Festival. After working as a full time doctor for two years, he left the profession in order to follow his passion for writing. Since completing a master’s degree in Screenwriting at The London Film School, Jefferson continues to pursue a career in screenwriting, whilst working as a freelance doctor in A&E.
BAFTATom Moran – Printheads (The Pilot)
Synopsis: Following a phone-hacking scandal, disgraced tabloid editor Louise Sharpe retreats to a small rural town to take over her father’s weekly paper.
Tom Moran, from Axminster in Devon, studied Scriptwriting and Performing at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Following his graduation in 2009 he went on to work as a stand-up comedian, and produced his first comedy play, Writer’s Block, in 2011. The following year Moran wrote his first novel, Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers, for which he won the inaugural Guardian Legend Self-Published Book of the Month award. In 2014 Moran was shortlisted for the Nickelodeon International Screenwriting Programme. More recently he was the winner of episode 48 of Literary Death Match – a writing showcase where famous and emerging writers compete by reading from their latest work.
BAFTAHenry Dalton & Paul Cope – Winners
Synopsis: Three hopeful losers seek success, love and happiness in a world of egg-obsessed matriarchs, six-foot grumpy spiders and bionic-handed Transylvanian theatre owners.
Henry Dalton, originally from Poole in Dorset, has acted as producer, editor or director on shows such as Top Gear, James May’s Man Lab and the BAFTA-nominated James May’s Toy Stories. He is the youngest recipient of a Broadcast ‘Hot Shot’ for new talent in television, as well as two IVCA awards for online advertising campaigns across the UK, America, Japan and Europe.
Paul Cope, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire has produced, edited or directed shows including Mashed, Rude Tube and Craic Addicts for Channel 4.
Together, the pair, now based in London, have written and created sketches for the BBC, Channel 4, and numerous popular online comedy sites. Their most recent animated comedy series, Future Duck! was named the most decorated web series in the UK, having won 32 awards at 27 film festivals around the world, including Best Animation Pilot at last year’s New York Television Festival.
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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – featuring workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes – in the UK, USA and Asia; it offers unique access to the world’s most inspiring talent and connects with a global audience of all ages and backgrounds.
BAFTA New York carries the Academy’s mission forward on the Atlantic Coast through its commitment to the film, television and documentary communities. Its activities include screenings, In Conversation series, masterclasses, Q&As and panels focusing on industry trends in film, television and multimedia. BAFTA New York's educational outreach is aimed at underserved youth in New York City and includes the BAFTA New York Media Studies Scholarship Program, which was established to support students pursuing media studies at undergraduate and graduate level institutions within the New York City area. www.bafta.org/new-york
BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.
Rocliffe created a series of events, notably the New Writing Forums, now held at BAFTA and renamed the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum. It has a popular blog Farah’s Rocliffe Notes now a best-selling book. With its inception in 2000 by founding member and film producer Farah Abushwesha the New Writing Forum is truly original – following a public script call-out in the months before the event, three diverse pieces are selected from the hundreds received and performed live by professional actors in front of a live audience. The pieces are framed by especially composed music by new composers from Air Edel and digital art. The event showcases undiscovered talent – a must attend for agents and talent scouts alike. Given the often isolating nature of the industry, the community led-forums create the ideal environment for networking as well as unknown writers the chance to get their work seen and heard. Past featured writers include James Dormer, Jack Thorne, Josh Appignanesi and Claire Wilson.
Established in 2005, the NYTVF constructs new and innovative paths of development and talent identification, while simultaneously complementing the traditional television development model. By partnering directly with networks, studios, production companies, digital platforms and brands, the NYTVF provides its Industry Partners with a streamlined development model, leveraging its vast creative community of over 14,000 independent producers and production companies, to create content with specific partners in mind. During the annual New York Television Festival – held each fall in New York City – the NYTVF brings together its top artists and industry decision-makers for a series of events designed to foster networking, collaboration and education. The Festival also marks the culmination of the organization’s yearly development efforts and features screenings of top independent content, educational panels, fan events, red carpet premieres, and more. For more information on the NYTVF and the annual Festival, visit www.nytvf.com, and to learn about opportunities to submit for its year-round competitions, visit http://www.nytvf.com/submit.html