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BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum

6 June 2012
BAFTA/Scott Kershaw

For a second year, emerging writers will participate in a BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the Annual New York Television Festival.

London, Thursday, 7 June 2012: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will jet three unknown screenwriters across the pond in October to showcase their work in front of the cream of the US television industry. The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum will take place at the 8th New York Television Festival (NYTVF), slated for 22 October to 27 October 2012, and follows a successful inaugural event in 2011.

BAFTA is today inviting new comedy screenwriters, stand up artists, sketch writers and comedians without a TV series commission to submit a ten minute extract from their TV sit-com or sketch show for consideration for the scheme. The closing date for entries is Friday 27 July.

BAFTA is offering this opportunity with support from the Academy Circle and in partnership with: Rocliffe, the London organisation that founded the new writing forums; British Airways, Official Airline Partner to BAFTA; and the NYTVF, the industry’s first independent television festival.

The package for successful writers, who will be selected by a leading jury of industry professionals from the UK and US, will include:

•Having their work performed by professional actors at a special BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum evening at the NYTVF, where a top TV industry guest will give them vital tips and encouragement in front of an audience of TV heavyweights from US-based networks, studios and agencies, including Comedy Central, FOX, MTV and IFC amongst others;

•Designation as an ‘Official Artist’, providing comprehensive access to all festival premieres, hospitality events, panels, screenings and special one-on-one meetings with US TV development executives as well as submission opportunities to NYTVF Pitch;

•Membership of NYTVF Connect, the festival’s industry programme that distributes scripts to executives and networks in advance of the festival;

•A networking workshop and one-to-one mentoring sessions with producers and literary agents before arriving in New York;

•British Airways World Traveller return flights and accommodation.

In 2011, Phil Rosenthal creator of multi award winning Everybody Loves Raymond joined the forum as the industry chair, providing feedback and advice to the three winning writers Anne-Marie Draycott, Greg de Roeck and Thomas Phipps. The writers have since gone on to forge contacts in the US, secure UK agents and have their work developed and optioned in the UK.

2011 winners Anne-Marie Draycott & Charity Trimm said:

“Winning the 2011 Bafta Rocliffe Comedy Scriptwriting Competition has had a massive impact on our writing career. Our winning script ‘Pregnant Pause’ attracted interest from a number of production companies and we were delighted when it was optioned by Bwark Productions. Then the icing on the cake, was being taken on as writers and performers by United Agents.”

2011 winners Thomas Phipps and Peter Bowden said:

“Six months on, our writing and prospects have improved infinitely; we've been signed by an agent, our second script has been optioned, and we've had about meetings with pretty much all the cool production companies in London. Much of this can be traced directly back to the scheme. It was a game-changer.”

2011 winner Greg de Roeck said:

"First and foremost, winning the Rocliffe competition has really improved my confidence as a writer. I've since had two short film scripts picked up by established commercials directors - a drama, which is currently in post-production, and a dark comedy, which will be shot this summer. I've also had the privilege to meet and form working relationships with literary agents and executives at production companies, who have been incredibly supportive and whom I will be collaborating with in the near future. I can't thank BAFTA and Rocliffe enough for the opportunities that have come my way since winning the competition."

BAFTA Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Price, said:

“This event will once again allow BAFTA to offer emerging talent the opportunity to progress on the international stage and we encourage any budding comedy writer, whatever their background, to apply. Participants will continue the legacy of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum which, for over 12 years now, has helped launch the careers of new writing talent.”

Founder and Executive Director of the NYTVF, Terence Gray, said:

"In recent years, the NYTVF has made a concerted effort to partner with organizations on both sides of the Atlantic in order to expand our outreach to the best creative minds in independent television. The UK continues to be a great source of talent that American programming executives look to for breakthrough ideas and our relationship with BAFTA and Rocliffe has proven to be one of our strengths as we look to match top writers and producers with new industry access and opportunities. We're honoured to continue this terrific partnership and look forward to welcoming the selected writers to the Festival in October."

Farah Abushwesha co-founder of Rocliffe said:

“We’re delighted to make this call again and we want it to be bigger and brighter than before. We’ve proved that UK comedy writing can walk across water. For those considering not applying, even if you feel your work is a diamond in the rough, this is all about uncovering hidden writing gems and giving them the polish and support they deserve – all the way to New York TV Festival.”

Entrants must not have had a TV series commissioned, but may have broadcast writing credits. Full application details and terms and conditions can be found on

For further information, please contact:
Elizabeth Porter
Tel: 020 7010 0851
Email: [email protected]

Hollie Rendall
Tel: 020 7010 0829
Email: [email protected]

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 Learning & Events programme that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.

For further information, visit and to access the best creative minds in film, TV and games production visit

The Academy Circle consists of a group of philanthropic individuals who contribute to BAFTA’s mission to support the art forms of the moving image.

BAFTA in New York, formerly known as BAFTA East Coast, was founded in February 1996. Its goal is to recognise excellence in British film and television and promote it in New York. For further information, visit

Established in 2005, the NYTVF is a pioneer of the independent television movement, constructing new and innovative paths of development and talent identification, while simultaneously complementing the traditional television development model. Its annual New York Television Festival – held each fall in New York City – is recognized as the industry’s first independent television festival, which provides a platform to elevate the work of artists creating for the small screen. Through the Festival and other year-round activities – including NYTVF London, which launched in 2011 – the NYTVF’s mission is to connect its community of over 10,000 independent creative artists with leading networks, studios and brands by cultivating relationships that lead to new opportunities. For more information on the NYTVF, the annual Festival and these initiatives, visit

About Rocliffe
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 team of dedicated volunteers 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.