Showrunner of The Office and co-creator of Parks and Recreation will review the work of emerging British comedy writers at the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum event on Wednesday, October 23, 2013
New York, October 7, 2013 - The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Rocliffe today announced that Greg Daniels, the multi-award-winning showrunner of hit comedy The Office and co-creator of King of the Hill and Parks and Recreation, will chair the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at this year’s New York Television Festival (NYTVF). The event, which introduces new British comedy writers to the US television industry, takes place on Wednesday, October 23 at 6pm at the SVA Theatre, 333 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011. The activity is a special incarnation of the Academy’s flagship writing program in partnership with Rocliffe – and follows successful events at the New York Television Festival in 2011 and 2012. For the third year in a row, The BAFTA Roclifffe New Writing Forum is in partnership with BAFTA New York.
At this year’s presentation, Greg Daniels will lead a master class where he will offer live feedback on the writing in the scenes performed by professional actors. Greg Daniels is best known for developing The Office for NBC, and co-creating Parks and Recreation and King of the Hill, where he was the initial showrunner for all three series. He has had 22 Emmy® nominations, including four for writing episodes of The Office. In 2007, he won for the episode “Gay Witch Hunt”. Daniels has also won Emmys® for his work on The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Saturday Night Live, and was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for his Seinfeld episode “The Parking Space”.
This year’s winners of the UK’s nationwide competition to find the most promising up-and-coming comedy writers are: Stewart Thomson, and writing pairs Lizzie Bates & Anna Emerson, and Brona C. Titley & Tony Cooke. In addition to the live performance critique, the winners will also receive one-to-one mentoring sessions with comedy commissioners and independent production companies; a free festival pass to NYTVF; meetings with top US agents; and attend customized industry networking opportunities. The winners will be blogging about their experiences for BAFTA.
Andrew Newman, Chair of BAFTA’s Television Committee and Chief Executive of Objective Productions, said: “We are thrilled that Greg Daniels will be sharing his insights with our promising new British writers, as we bring the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum to the New York Television Festival for a third year. Our previous visits have resulted in exciting opportunities for the participants, including a development deal with a US studio, so we’re anticipating great things for this year’s selected writers.”
Terence Gray, Founder and Executive Director of the New York Television Festival, said: “Since we launched this partnership with BAFTA and the Rocliffe New Writing Forum in 2011, we've seen a number of the selected writers go on to tremendous success both in the U.K. and here in the U.S. and it's proven itself to be a viable and exciting pipeline for identifying comedy talent. In addition to exposure, one of the primary goals of this program is to provide the participating writers with tangible feedback on how to best adapt their projects for an American audience. To have Greg Daniels – who wrote the book on successfully importing a British hit with The Office – is an absolutely tremendous opportunity and we look forward to a great event.”
Charles Tremayne, Chair of BAFTA New York, said: "We are delighted once again to be associated with this fantastic event. One of BAFTA's key roles is to showcase emerging British talent to the entertainment industry in the USA and this year we are proud to have such gifted writers submit their best work. We are of course delighted that such a celebrated comedy genius as Greg Daniels has agreed to be the mentor who will give instant feedback on the writing in the scenes performed live on stage. It promises to be an entertaining and exciting event."
Farah Abushwesha, Founder of Rocliffe, said: "How thrilling for us to be showcasing British talent before someone who has adapted one of the most iconic British series: The Office. How incredible for our writers to not only have work performed by an American cast at this career-changing festival, but also to be critiqued by such a distinguished comedy writer-producer as Greg Daniels.”
The winning writers were selected from almost 500 entrants by a jury of comedy professionals from the UK and US, and representatives from all the major UK broadcasters, before being interviewed at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London.
Biographies and project synopses of the writers:
Stewart Thomson - Skwibs
Synopsis: The story of Francis Falkirk, a Scottish medium and spiritual detective on a mission to release the spirits of the restless dead.
Stewart Thomson was raised in Milngavie, near Glasgow. He graduated from the National Film and Television School in 2008, before returning home to Glasgow. His graduation film, Bill’s Visitors, was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland Award in 2008. The following year, Parliamo Glasgow, his first television commission (part of Channel 4’s Coming Up initiative) was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award. His feature Beating the Drum is currently being developed by BBC Films and Creative Scotland. Rocket Surgery, a comedy feature has recently been selected for lo-fi, the Scottish low-budget film initiative, and will go into production later this year.
Lizzie Bates & Anna Emerson – New Habits
Synopsis: When Sister Adie decides she’s quitting the convent, Jules helps her get to grips with life as a single woman in the big city.
Lizzie Bates and Anna Emerson are comedy writers and actresses who have been working together since 2006. Lizzie is originally from Ashendon in Buckinghamshire and now lives in Bethnal Green, east London. Anna was raised in Thame, Oxfordshire and now lives in Holloway, north London. The pair both studied at Bristol University. As two-thirds of sketch trio The Boom Jennies, Lizzie Bates and Anna Emerson have taken several critically-acclaimed shows to the Edinburgh Fringe and featured in hit BBC Radio 4 show Sketchorama. In 2012, The Boom Jennies co-wrote and co-starred in their debut BBC Radio 4 sitcom, Mission Improbable, and a second series is due for broadcast in 2014. Lizzie has played a zombie princess in the short film Misguided and starred in the pilot for primetime BBC1 hidden camera show Richard Hammond's Secret Service. Anna is a frequent feature of cult podcast The John Dredge Nothing To Do With Anything Show and is due to star in her first solo show, An Evening With Patti DuPont, at this year’s Camden Fringe.
Brona C. Titley & Tony Cooke - Nannies
Synopsis: Maisie and four other under paid, overworked child minders on her exclusive London street, are paid to parent the next generation of the ridiculously rich.
Nannies is Brona and Tony's first script together.
Brona C Titley is an actress and comedy writer from Dublin, currently living in Walthamstow in London. She studied Drama and English at Trinity College Dublin, and Professional Acting at LAMDA. Brona's first play Effigy won Best New Writing at ISDA, went on a full national stage tour and was produced by RTE Radio 1. Brona was the co-writer/performer of comedy Jobless Satisfaction (Edinburgh, Dublin, Portlaoise) and the co-creator/writer of Desperate, a sitcom pilot script for BBC Comedy. Brona writes/performs in online comedy sketches such as The Potential Wives of Prince Harry, which was a finalist for BeActive Digital Comedy Award in 2012. Also in 2012 Brona wrote The Parlour, a new pilot script for Grand Pictures.
Tony Cooke is a comedy writer from London and lives in Enfield. He studied Geography at Nottingham University and did a postgraduate course in Journalism at Cardiff University. In 2006 he was a finalist in the BBC’s Last Laugh sitcom writing competition, and since then he has written for both comedy and children’s TV shows. His comedy credits include: The Armstrong & Miller Show, Mumbai Calling, Dead Ringers, The Kumars at No. 42, and commissioned original sitcom scripts for BBC1 and BBC3. His kids’ credits include: The Revolting World of Stanley Brown, Hounded, and BAFTA-nominated episodes of The Legend of Dick and Dom and Diddy Movies. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Breakthrough Talent Award at the British Academy Children’s Awards.
For further information, please contact Marlea Willis at Willis Communications.
About BAFTA and BAFTA New York
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) 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, international programme of learning events and initiatives that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York.
BAFTA New York carries the Academy’s mission forward in the USA through a vibrant community of senior industry professionals. Its activity includes a diverse line-up of events, screenings and an educational outreach programme in the New York City area including an annual scholarship scheme for media students.
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. With its inception in 2000 by founding member Farah Abushwesha and a dedicated team including award winning director Susan Jacobson and casting director Laura Dickens CDG. The format of 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; development focused discussions generated by the readings; exposure to and advice from experienced industry members; feedback from an audience and an invaluable method to test out new concepts and material. Given the often isolating nature of the industry, the 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 12,000 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 organizations 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.