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BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum in New York 2011

4 October 2011
BAFTA Rocliffe Comedy writers at the New York TV FestivalJoan Katz/BAFTA New York

BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the New York Television Festival

September 22 saw the first fruits of an exciting collaboration among BAFTA New York, BAFTA UK, the Rocliffe New Writing Forum, and the New York Television Festival, with the goal of exposing new British writing talent to the U.S. marketplace.

For several months, writers in the UK have been submitting their ideas and scripts for American-style television series under the aegis of Rocliffe and BAFTA. The entries were narrowed down to ten, and then judged and ranked by panels of industry leaders both in the US and the UK. The writers of the three winning pieces -- Thomas Phipps & Peter Bowden, Greg de Roeck, and Anne-Marie Draycott & Charity Trimm -- were awarded mentoring sessions with some of these prestigious professionals, and then flown to the U.S., courtesy of British Airways, for this presentation of their work in front of a NY Television Festival and BAFTA audience.

Attendees of the event at the trendy 92nd Street Y Tribeca were treated to a pre-event reception, followed by excerpted staged readings of the winning scripts, along with Q&A's with the writers. As an added bonus, award-winning writer and producer Phil Rosenthal (creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond,"and director of the recent film "Exporting Raymond") served as an on-stage mentor, offering constructive critiques of the works, as well as wisdom gleaned from his own years writing for an American audience. The writers were hugely enthusiastic about this invaluable opportunity to hear feedback from this experienced pro, as well as from the actors and director, and especially from the appreciative audience.

During their time in New York, the writers have additionally been given opportunities to meet with agents, network executives, and producers. Those who attended the event may very well be able to say one day that they were present when these young writers' American careers took off!

Huge thanks go to the engaging Phil Rosenthal; and also to director Susan Jacobson and all of the actors, including BAFTA-New York's own Liz Jasicki, who so enthusiastically brought these pieces to vibrant life.

This event proved to be a great opportunity to involve some of BAFTA-New York's other members as well. We greatly appreciate Val Boreland, Simon Jones, and Donald Taffner, Jr. for offering their valuable time and wisdom as judges and mentors, and to Marlea Willis for her amazing talents with a press release.

Pulling off such a complicated event takes a lot of time and effort over many months. As always, BAFTA New York salutes its hard-working board and staff for their part in its success, especially Chief Executive Christina Thomas and Chair Harlene Freezer. Huge congratulations and thanks go as well to Farah Abushwesha, Co-Director of Rocliffe who so ably guided the entire venture and who conducted wonderful Q&As; Terence Gray and Erin Day of the NY Television Festival, along with their staff, for providing the perfect setting to showcase this event; and Alex Cook and Kam Kandola who did the heavy-lifting on behalf of BAFTA in London. BAFTA NewYork looks forward to future collaborations with all.