Ben Roberts, Director of Lottery Film Fund
Ben Roberts is the Director of the BFI Film Fund and is responsible for overseeing the BFI’s Lottery investments in film development, production and distribution, along with the BFI’s international activities.
He has 15 years’ experience in the film industry, across international sales, studio acquisitions, UK distribution and film finance, gained during his time as CEO of Protagonist Pictures, and before that at Universal Pictures International and independent UK distributor Metrodome. His first job in film was as a part-time usher at Showcase Cinemas in Coventry.
Development and Production
Mary Burke, Senior Production and Development Executive
Mary Burke was appointed as Senior Production and Development Executive at the BFI Film Fund in Sept 2015. With 16 years of experience in production and development, Mary joined from Warp Films, where she was Producer and board member.
Burke identifies and supports a diverse range of British feature film projects, working closely with writers, directors and producers across development and production.
While at the BFI, she has executive produced several outstanding British films including God’s Own Country written and directed by Francis Lee and BAFTA-winning I Am Not a Witchwritten and directed by Rungano Nyoni. Burke also executive produced Sundance hit Colette directed by Wash Westmoreland and written by Rebecca Lenkiweicz as well as Idris Elba’s debut Yardie.
Burke’s producer credits at Warp Films include Bunny and the Bull, the 2009 feature debut from Paul King, who went on to direct Paddington in 2014; Submarine the feature BAFTA and BIFA-winning debut of Richard Ayoade; Paul Wright’s For Those In Peril, which premiered in Critics’ Week at Cannes in 2013 and won two BAFTAs; Berberian Sound Studio, the critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning second feature from Peter Strickland; and Chris Waitt’s feature documentary A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Lizzie Francke, Senior Development and Production Executive
Lizzie Francke is a Senior Production and Development Executive at the BFI’s Film Fund. She was formerly a Development Producer for the UK Film Council’s Development Fund where she oversaw the First Feature programme, out of which was developed such projects as The Arbor and Gone Too Far. Projects that she has exec produced while she has been at the BFI include ’71, Exhibition, The Selfish Giant, X+Y, The Duke of Burgundy and The Riot Club.
She started her career as a film critic in the early 1990s contributing to the Guardian, The Observer, Sight and Sound and Screen International amongst others. During this period she also wrote the book Script Girls: The History of Women Screenwriters in Hollywood (1994, BFI Publishing). In 1997 she was appointed Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and in her five years there re-established the festival as a key showcase for British cinema.
She moved into production in 2001, first for Little Bird where she co-produced Marc Evan’s thriller Trauma, then as Executive Producer for EM Media where her credits include Control, And When Did You Last See Your Father, Magicians, Complete History of My Sexual Failures and Better Things. She also acted as the British co-producer on Vinyan, the second film from the cult Belgian director Fabrice du Welz which was released in 2009.
Kristin Irving, Development Executive
Kristin Irving is a Development Executive at the BFI Film Fund. Prior to joining the BFI she worked in development for production company Portobello Pictures on films such as Pawel Pawlikowski’s Oscar-winning film IDA. After leaving Portobello she ran the development slate for film development financier Cascade Pictures, and also worked as a freelance script consultant.
Matimba Kabalika, Talent Development Manager, BFI NETWORK
Matimba looks after the talent development programme BFI NETWORK and manages the accompanying website. She originally joined the BFI in June 2012 as Assistant to Ben Roberts. Before joining the BFI she spent four years at Partizan, where she worked in production on commercials, music videos and short films, working with an array of emerging and established directing talent.
Caragh Davison, BFI NETWORK Coordinator
Caragh works across all of BFI NETWORK’s emerging talent and professional development activity across the UK as well as looking after the website. She first joined the BFI Film Fund in March 2017 as Executive Assistant to Ben Roberts and the Senior Production & Development Execs. Previously, she was working as an assistant at Creative England and before that spent two years as a Content Producer at a production company, working across short film and web content.
David Kimbangi, Development Co-ordinator
David transferred to the Film Fund in August 2015 after working at the BFI Southbank as a visitor services assistant since 2012. Alongside this he has worked as a programme and guest assistant for the 2014 London Film Festival, a freelance administration assistant for BAFTA and a workshop teacher for Studio Film School.
Marilyn Milgrom, Script Consultant
Marilyn is a freelance script consultant. In addition to the work she does for the Film Fund she is also a regular consultant to the European Producers’ Network ACE and to EKRAN, a feature development workshop based in Warsaw. She was Head of Development at the New Zealand Film Commission for four years (2007-2011), before which she was senior tutor with the Script Factory. In a previous life Marilyn worked as an actor, in casting and as a TV director and producer.
Fiona Morham, Head of Physical Production
After graduating from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Fiona moved to the UK. She began working in the film industry as a production runner on Wish You Were Here, directed by David Leland and produced by Sarah Radclyffe. She then joined Working Title Films in various production positions on films such as Chris Menge’s A World Apart, Stephen Frears’ The Grifters and Vincent Ward’s Map of the Human Heart. She freelanced as a line producer for Working Title’s award-winning TV series The Borrowers and The Return of The Borrowers before working briefly at the BFI as a production executive and then as a freelance producer with the BBC with directors such as Pawel Pawlikowski, John Akomfrah and John Mackay. In 2002 she joined the UK Film Council as Head of Production.
David Segal-Hamilton, Development Executive
Prior to joining the Film Fund, David worked in development for Stephen Fry’s Sprout Pictures and as a freelance script consultant and assessor for companies such as BBC Films, Film4 and Film London’s Microwave programme.
Natascha Wharton, Senior Development and Production Executive
Natascha was born in Trinidad, to a Trinidadian father and German mother, and her introduction to cinema was at the local drive-in. Before joining the Film Fund in 2010, she worked at Working Title Films, initially in the development department. While working across Working Title’s slate on projects such as Elisabeth, The Borrowers and Bridget Jones’s Diary, Wharton created a New Writers Scheme supporting early screenplays from a diverse group of writers, including Rowan Joffe, James Watkins, Nick Love and John McDonagh.
In 1999 Wharton set up WT2, Working Title’s low-budget-film division, with producer Jon Finn. The first film to be made through the label and executive produced by Wharton, was Stephen Daldry’s Billy Elliot. Ten films from emerging filmmakers followed, including Shaun of the Dead, Ali G Indahouse, My Little Eye and Hot Fuzz. Wharton continued to work on Working Title’s slate developing projects with a broad range of writers and directors including Richard Curtis, Dan Mazer, Susanne Bier and Kevin Macdonald and in 2010 served as Executive Producer on Greg Mottola’s alien comedy Paul.
Isabel Davis, Head of International
Isabel Davis transferred to the BFI in April 2011 after joining the UK Film Council in late 2006. She combines an editorial role in the Film Fund with responsibility for the BFI’s international strategy, coordinating the full range of the organisation’s activity. She plays a key role in the negotiation of co-production treaties and maintains and fosters co-production relationships with all of the UK’s partner countries. Prior to joining the UK Film Council, Isabel was Head of Development at HomeRun, during which time she developed a slate of film and TV projects. Before working in film, Isabel worked in various roles in theatre and the performing arts, including press, fundraising and general management.
Katie Ellen, Senior Manager, International Distribution and Commercial Strategy
Katie joined the BFI in 2011. Her role includes looking after the distribution of lottery funding for specialised and British films, with particular focus on New Models awards for films with alternative approaches to distribution, cross-media and creative marketing strategies. Katie also manages the Film Export Fund. Prior to working at the BFI, Katie worked at the UK Film Council in distribution and exhibition and production, and in production at Myriad Pictures, with previous roles in PR and finance.
Laura Glanville, UK Wide Audiences Manager
Laura joined the BFI at the end of 2012 after several years working for Ipso Facto Films as Production Assistant and then Producer’s Assistant. Prior to Ipso Facto Films Laura interned and volunteered with a number of film festivals whilst completing a Masters in International Cinema at Newcastle University.
Ann Griffiths, Senior Manager, UK Audience Development
Ann is Senior Manager for UK Audience Development within the BFI Film Fund Audiences team and is responsible for the BFI Film Audience Network and the BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Fund. She has had an extensive and varied career at the BFI with a focus on audience facing activity outside London. As part of this she has overseen a number of initiatives including the first BFI Film Festivals Fund (in 1999) the roll out of the BFI Mediatheque to locations across the UK and the setting up of the BFI Audience Fund following the publication of Film Forever. Her particular area of specialism is supporting independent exhibition across the UK through funding, advice and advocacy.
Clare Harwood, UK Wide Audiences Manager
Prior to the BFI, Clare managed a small cinema in Central Scotland for nine years, where she was responsible for everything from programming and booking films, through film education projects to running the box office and even projecting the films on occasion. Taking a year out, Clare spent time travelling in South East Asia and South America. She then joined the BFI in 2007, making up one half of the small but perfectly formed Partnerships Department. Working with exhibitors and other organisations across the UK, her main role was to manage the creation and development of a series of BFI Mediatheques across the country.
She is now the lead officer for the Programming Development Fund, though also works closely with the BFI Film Audience Network, and the Distribution fund.
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences
Ben Luxford is of Head of UK Audiences, responsible for a range of funds designed to bring great films to audiences across the UK. Ben worked in the UK Independent distribution sector for 10 years, releasing commercial, crossover and specialised titles (all of them great) into the UK market for companies such as Optimum Releasing (now Studiocanal UK), Artificial Eye and Koch Media. He has worked on over 200 titles including selling films such as This is England, Son of Rambow, Pan’s Labyrinth and We Need to Talk About Kevin into UK cinemas as well as overseeing all aspects of distribution for films including All This Mayhem, Amour, The Selfish Giant, The Great Beauty, Blue is the Warmest Colour and Le Week-end.
Sarah-Jane Meredith, UK Wide Audiences Manager
Sarah-Jane is one of two managers in the Audience Fund. She has specific responsibility for the Film Festival Fund and the BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Fund whilst also supporting the Film Audience Network. She is also leading on the cultural cinema exhibition strategies in Hull and Belfast. Before joining the BFI, she worked at Creative England. She is based in the south west of England.
Operations and Partnerships
Liane Gillett, Senior Manager, Operations, Partners and Projects
Liane is the Senior Manager for Film Fund Operations, Partners and Projects. Her role includes oversight of all Film Fund processes as well as relationship management of BFI delegate partners which include Creative England, Film Cymru, Film London and Northern Ireland Screen. She transferred to the BFI in 2011 after joining the UK Film Council in 2009. Previously to that she spent 14 years at Feelgood Fiction Ltd, an award-winning independent film and television company, as both Company Manager and in-house script editor.
James Weddup, Project Partnerships Manager
James joined the Film Fund in December 2014, coming from the role of Grants Manager at the British Museum. He previously spent two years teaching undergraduate seminars in English Literature at the University of Virginia, and between 2008-10 worked for the National Theatre in their fund-raising team.