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LONDON – Tessa Ross, Film4 chief and controller of film and drama for the U.K.’s Channel 4, is to pick up a top honor from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Ross, who heads up the broadcaster’s standalone movie unit in addition to the channel’s drama interests, will receive BAFTA’s outstanding British contribution to cinema award during the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House on Feb. 10.
The nod is presented annually in honor of Michael Balcon, with previous honorees including Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman, Mary Selway, Ridley and Tony Scott, Working Title Films, Lewis Gilbert and the Harry Potter series of films.
Last year’s recipient was John Hurt.
BAFTA chairman John Willis said: “Tessa Ross has made an immense contribution to British cinema during her time at Channel 4. Tessa’s impeccable taste, and her passion for great writing and directing has shone through every film she has been involved with; she is an extremely worthy recipient of this important award.”
Ross described being surprised and honored to be chosen for the nod.
“I owe it of course to the wonderful filmmakers I’ve had the privilege of working with – and to my team at Film4, with whom I share it. We’re very lucky to be so supported by Channel 4 and by [Channel 4 CEO] David Abraham who continues to champion our work,” Ross said.
Feature film division Film4 celebrated its 30th anniversary in November last year.
Ross’s Channel 4 duties have lead her to have a hand in nurturing filmmakers in their debut moviemaking efforts, including Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Steve McQueen’s Hunger, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block, Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy and Richard Ayoade’s Submarine.
She also has developed longstanding working relationships with established British filmmakers such as Danny Boyle, Shane Meadows, Mike Leigh, Michael Winterbottom, Roger Michell and Kevin Macdonald.
Forthcoming releases feature Ross working with Boyle on Trance, Ayoade on The Double, Winterbottom on The Look of Love and Macdonald on How I Live Now.
Channel 4 Drama on Ross’s watch has also commissioned shows including Shameless, White Teeth, The Devil’s Whore, Sex Traffic, Omagh and Elizabeth I.
Ross arrived at Channel 4 from the BBC’s independent commissioning group where as head of drama her commissions included Paul Abbott’s Clocking Off and Stephen Daldry’s Billy Elliot.
Ross is scheduled to pick up the accolade during this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry.
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