Wright, Murdoch among WFTV winners


LONDON -- Women in Film and Television organizers announced Friday the winners of its 17th annual awards at a ceremony held at the Hilton, Park Lane.

Award winners -- the plaudits aim to recognize outstanding contribution of women in the film and television industries here -- included BBC Films biz whiz Jane Wright and Elizabeth Murdoch, who runs television production empire Shine.

The 750-strong lively luncheon awards bash, hosted by stand-up comic Jenny Eclair, saw Wright stride off with this year's project management award for her role in the restructuring of BBC Films and the biz direction film production at the corporation has taken.

Murdoch took home the afternoon's business award category for overseeing Shine as it developed from humble beginnings into one of the players on the U.K. indie scene.

But this year's shindig was overshadowed by the death of veteran television producer Verity Lambert, who was scheduled to pick up this year's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lambert died two weeks ago. WFTV chair Sophie Balhetchet said there was great sadness at Lambert's death.

"She was a passionate professional, a mentor, an inspiration -- a truly exemplary woman in the work she produced and the life she lived," Balhetchet said.

Other plaudits went to Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, who picked up this year's script award for her work on the franchise she created and British film producer Alison Owen, who worked the room after picking up the Contribution to the Medium Award. Owen's credits include "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," "Roseanna's Grave," "Silvia," "Shaun of the Dead," and the upcoming "The Other Boleyn Girl."

Comedy writer and performer Julia Davis took home the ceremony's Originality Award for her work on television, including "Nighty Night" -- which she wrote and starred in -- and her comedy turns in "Fear of Fanny" and "For the Love of God."

Director of photography Natasha Braier walked off with the newcomer of the year award.

A complete list of winners follows:

Project Management Award (sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland)
Jane Wright

New Talent Award (sponsored by Talkback Thames)
Natasha Braier

Script Award (sponsored by the U.K. Film Council)
J.K. Rowling

Business Award (sponsored by Olswang)
Elizabeth Murdoch

News and Factual Award (sponsored by the BBC)
Lyse Doucet

Craft Award (sponsored by Panalux)
Jet Omoshebi

Creative Originality Award (sponsored by Five)
Julia Davis

Outstanding Achievement of the Year Award (sponsored by ITV)
Tess Alps

Contribution to the Medium Award (sponsored by Ecosse Films)
Alison Owen

Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Working Title Films)
Verity Lambert