'Blue Story,' 'Bait' Producers Among BFI's 2020 Vision Awards Winners

Blue Story - Publicity Still - H 2020
Paramount Pictures

The British Film Institute has unveiled the latest crop of recipients for its annual producer funding program.

The British Film Institute on Wednesday unveiled the recipients of its 2020 Vision Awards, its funding program for rising British producers.

The awards, which grant up to 2 million pounds ($2.5 million) over two years to 20 producers and producer teams, provides a maximum of 50,000 pounds ($62,000) per year to each recipient, giving them financial autonomy and empowering them to develop their ambitious and diverse film slates and build their businesses. For this year's crop of recipients, the BFI says it targeted more experienced producers, those who have made between one and three distributed projects (features, television or immersive content).

Among the 2020 list of winners are Kate Byers and Linn Waite of Early Day Films, producers on Mark Jenkins' critically acclaimed BAFTA-winning debut Bait; Oliver Kassman's Escape Plan Productions, whose first production was Rose Glass' TIFF-bowing first feature Saint Maud; and Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, who produced Rapman's debut Blue Story for Paramount/BBC and recently set up Joi Productions to focus on queer, black and female-led work.    

Elsewhere, fellow BFI Vision Award recipients include Sarah Brocklehurst, nominated for a BAFTA for outstanding debut for Black Pond, but more recently the producer of the BIFA-winning and Sundance-premiering Animals; Ardimages, the company set up by God's Own Country producer Manon Ardisson and Chiara Ventura, who produced the feature documentary Romantic Comedy; and Sixty Six Pictures, the company set up by Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly, whose first production credit was the award-winning Lady Macbeth, which gave Florence Pugh her first major break. 

Other winners include James Watson of Betes Sauvages, Emily Precious and Lizzie Brown of Bird Flight Films, Chris Patterson of Causeway Pictures, Stephanie Aspin and Helen Simmons of Erebus Pictures, Fiona Lamptey of Fruit Tree Media, Anna Griffin of Griffin Pictures, Chi Thai of Hot Knife, Lindsey Dryden of Little by Little Films, Pietro Greppi of Lunapark Pictures, Jennifer Monks of Pencil Trick Productions, Farah Abushwesha of Rocliffe, Camila Wren and Shirine Best of Other Productions, Hannah Thomas and Ed Talfan of Severn Screen and Rebecca Mark-Lawson of Tyke Films. 

"When all parts of our industry are feeling the impacts of this shutdown, investment in our independent producers is more important than ever," says BFI CEO Ben Robertson. "They are the cornerstone of our industry, and these early-career producers will be central to bringing exciting talent together to create powerful and culturally diverse stories. It is the strength of these stories and their ability to connect with audiences, which will play a central role in our industry's continued cultural and economic success, as well as its recovery."