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BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the New York Television Festival

1 June 2011
Pic: Jim CorrBAFTA/ Jim Corr

Top Writers Will Participate in a BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the 7th Annual New York Television Festival.

London, Wednesday 1 June 2011: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will jet three unknown screenwriters across the pond to the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) in September 2011 and showcase their work in front of the cream of the US television industry.

BAFTA invites UK-resident new comedy screenwriters who haven’t yet had a full television series broadcast to submit a ten minute extract from their TV sit-com or sketch show to BAFTA for consideration for the scheme.

The Academy, working alongside its colleagues in BAFTA in New York, its key partners Rocliffe – the London organisation that founded the new writing forums – and British Airways, Official Airline to the Academy, has teamed up with the NYTVF, the industry’s first independent television festival to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not only will the writers receive a festival pass, British Airways World Traveller return flights and accommodation, they will also have their work performed by professional actors at a special BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum 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 FOX, FX and IFC amongst others. The writers will also be given ‘Official Artist’ status at the festival, allowing them comprehensive access to all festival premieres, hospitality events, panels, screenings and special one-on-one meetings with US TV development executives.

The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum is a phenomenally successful event which has been running for over 10 years and has had huge significance for lots of career starters in the film and television industries. Previous guests and patrons include BAFTA-winning and nominated directors Mike Newell and John Madden and screenwriter Julian Fellowes.

BAFTA Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Price, said:

“This is a unique opportunity for emerging talent to make their mark on a global stage, which is an ideal way for the Academy to utilise its international presence to celebrate excellence in the screen industries. The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum has a fantastic legacy for discovering new writing talent and we’re very excited about taking this event format to our colleagues in New York.”

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

“The NYTVF was founded to provide a platform for independent artists to showcase their work and gain access to television industry decision makers, and the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum provides a terrific opportunity for UK-based artists to do just that. We are honoured to partner with BAFTA on this initiative and welcome the chance to shine a light on these artists as well as emerging talent from around the world."

Farah Abushwesha co-founder of Rocliffe said:

“Since the Forum’s inception in 2000, participants have gone on to award-winning success, including Jack Thorne, James Dormer, Claire Wilson and Josh Appignanesi. Now, as the forum moves across the pond, three undiscovered British comedy writers will have the rare and potentially career-changing opportunity to have their work performed in front of prominent US television industry executives. It’s a golden ticket for three lucky yet to-be-known writers.”

Luisa Fernandez British Airways Global Sponsorship Manager said:

“As a proud BAFTA partner, British Airways is very excited to be supporting the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum. As part of our Olympic sponsorship and our commitment to showcasing the very best in British creativity, we have launched the Great Britons programme – helping British talent to take off. Supporting Rocliffe is an extension of this program and provides up and coming British script writers with a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The closing date for entries is 6 July 2011.

Click here for full application details and terms and conditions

The search is on!

For further information, please contact:

Olivia Jarvis at EMFoundation

T: +44 (0) 20 7247 4171
E: [email protected]

Alex Cook at BAFTA
T: 020 7292 5806
E: [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

About BAFTA in New York

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.

Each year BAFTA in New York hosts an extensive roster of feature film screenings and television events for its membership. There are panel discussions, interviews and network activities as well as events co-produced with other established organisations in the film and television industry.

There are nearly 700 members of BAFTA in New York. These include full members who vote in the Awards as well as associate and student members.

BAFTA in New York continues to forge alliances with local corporate and diplomatic communities as well as working with under served youth groups through its outreach and educational initiatives. Its most recent initiative is to make screenings available on all BAFTA-eligible film titles, even those without US distribution.

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, NYTVF's mission is to connect its community of over 8,500 independent creative artists with leading networks, studios and brands by cultivating relationships that lead to new opportunities.

Thus far in 2011, NYTVF has announced a new partnership with FX, as well as the continuation of partnerships with IFC and MTV, with each of the three networks committing to award development deals to winners of NYTVF's annual Independent Pilot Competition. Additionally, NYTVF and FOX have partnered for the fourth consecutive year to create a Comedy Script Contest, providing aspiring writers the opportunity to win $25,000 and a development deal with FOX. For more information on NYTVF, the annual Festival and these competitions, visit

About Rocliffe

Rocliffe is an organisation that 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, it is now run by Pippa Mitchell and Farah 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 backdrops. The event promises 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.

About British Airways

British Airways is proud to be the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In the run up to the London 2012 Games, British Airways is offering career defining opportunities to three talented Brits in the fields of film, art and food as part of British Airways’ Great Britons programme. The Great Britons programme was launched in 2009 as a travel bursary to support the airline’s commitment to the London 2012 Games. It has since rewarded a number of individuals and groups and continues to support talent with free flights. Richard E. Grant, Heston Blumenthal and Tracey Emin are heading up the three fields and will offer up to five mentoring sessions to their chosen Great Briton. The winning entrant in each category will see their ideas come to life and become part of the games itself as they develop a unique idea that will be used during the Olympic Games by the official airline partner.

With film playing an integral part of the Great Britons programme, British Airways is also a key partner to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and is supporting Rocliffe by providing a further set of flights for three fledgling script writers so that they can travel to New York to pursue their dreams. As an extension of the Great Britons programme, this demonstrates the on-going support that British Airways has for emerging British talent within the industry.

The winner of the film prize will have their script produced by a leading London production company. Their film will then be shown on BA flights in the run up to, and during the London 2012 Games, while an edited version will be shown as a pre landing film. It will also feature in the official London 2012 Sports Presentation Programme and be part of the pre-show to the Opening Ceremony. Winners will receive an annual financial support salary to aid them during the course of the programme.

Winners of the Great Britons programme will also receive an annual financial support salary to aid them through the course of their project.

For entry details, visit

To apply you must be a UK passport holder aged 16 years or over. Applicants do not need to be of a professional standard and can apply more than once. A full list of terms and conditions can be found at

Entry is open from May 5, 2011 until July 27, 2011, followed by judging. Winners will be announced on August 19, 2011. Applicants are encouraged to support their entries with blogs, images and videos.

BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the New York Television Festival (83.5 KB)