Jackie Edwards, head of fund

Jackie Edwards

Jackie is head of the BFI Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF), and is responsible for the successful implementation of this game changing UK government initiative to stimulate the provision of public service content for audiences of 0 to 18. Jackie joined the BFI from BBC Children’s where she had been the head of acquisitions and independent animation, responsible for pre-buying and acquiring live-action and animated programming for CBeebies, CBBC and iPlayer. She joined the BBC in 2008 as content manager and executive producer. Prior to the BBC Jackie was an award-winning producer in the independent sector. A passionate advocate for public service content, Jackie is currently living her dream job.

Elaine McElroy, production executive

Elaine McElroy

Elaine is production executive for the YACF, working across assessment and oversight of fund awards to the production fund. Elaine has worked in children’s television since 1999, primarily in animation production. She was script editor on Series 3 of Go Jetters for CBeebies, on Emmy-nominated comedy education series Ask Lara, and on Toot the Tiny Tugboat; and was a development and animation producer at Red Kite Animation, Super Umami and Once Were Farmers in Scotland, before moving to Manchester in 2018, where she has worked for BBC Children’s and Kilogramme Animation. Elaine has also been an external assessor for a variety of funds and film schemes, reviewing TV series and feature film proposals for animation and live action productions.

Harriet Williams, development executive

Harriet Williams

Harriet is the development executive of the YACF, responsible for assessing applications to the development fund and overseeing the development of awarded programmes. Harriet started working in children’s television in 2012 at Disney EMEA, originally as part of the standards & practices team. Building on her degree in scriptwriting for film & television, Harriet moved into original programming to work on the development of scripted live action series for Disney Channels and Disney+.

Hesham Sabry, business affairs executive

Hesham Sabry

Hesham handles all legal and business affairs matters relating to the YACF. Prior to joining the BFI, he spent six years at the BBC as an in-house lawyer in the BBC Children’s commercial, rights and business affairs team working across its full range of output. Hesham headed the teams handling acquisition and independent commissioned titles and also provided legal support to high profile in-house titles including Blue Peter and Something Special. Before working at the BBC, Hesham spent over thirteen years as a solicitor in private practice, including running his own law firm, Sabry Doyle.

Gill Biddle, project manager

Gill Biddie

Gill is the project manager of the YACF, responsible for assessing the finance, schedule and budgets of applications to both the production and development funds. Gill graduated in 2008 with a degree in animation and design from the University of Sunderland during which she discovered her penchant for all things organisational and logistical related to content making. Gill has since gone on to work across various independent productions in a project and production management capacity including titles for the BBC, ITV, the Smithsonian Channel and National Geographic. Since 2012, Gill has gained extensive experience of the children’s broadcasting landscape and the varying factors that have affected its output over the years. Gill brings to her role at BFI for the YACF a keen eye for detail, a dedication to tidiness and a love of all things spreadsheet shaped but with a compassionate understanding of how programmes come to be and what a quality programme for a young audience looks like.

Chandan Shergill, coordinator

Chandan Shergill

Chandan is the coordinator for the YACF, which includes managing and supporting the application and finance processes, as well as coordinating external stakeholder meetings and events. Chandan is also currently working with New Writing North and Sky Studios on a project to find new under-represented writers, and with BFI NETWORK in the reader pool for the Short Film Fund, as well as a trustee role at Manchester City of Literature. Chandan studied French and German and then spent several years working in a talent agency representing television presenters in London, working across numerous factual shows along with children’s and live events. More recently she has worked in the charity sector and the public sector.

Becky Oates, fund coordinator

Becky Oates

Becky has joined YACF as coordinator while Chandan is on maternity leave, which involves managing and supporting the application and finance processes, as well as coordinating external stakeholder meetings and events. Becky got her start in the film and television industry with a script reading internship at Hurricane Films and was mentored in the Creative Access x Guy Ritchie ‘Set Access’ talent development programme. She has since worked as a script consultant for Industrial Scripts, and as a script editor for the BFI Short Film Fund.

Aisha Jan, administrator

Aisha Jan

Aisha is the administrator for the YACF, tasked with ensuring all applications meet the Fund’s eligibility criteria and is allowed passage through to the next stage. She aids in administering tasks along an application’s progression, supports development award processes, and assists the rest of the team in their roles. Entering the industry through the Independent Cinema Office’s invaluable Film Exhibition, Distribution & Sales Trainee Scheme with training and employment at Sheffield Doc/Fest, marked a path of cultural and career development that led to the BFI YACF.

Gwyn Roberts, fund assistant

Gwyn Roberts

Gwyn is the fund assistant for the YACF, providing general support and assistance to the team. A graduate in fine art led to 15 years as archive assistant to the London borough of Greenwich, then relocating to Manchester and moving to children’s television and animation. He has worked across both the production and broadcasting aspects of the genre for companies that include Cosgrove Hall Films, Firestep, Impossible Pictures/Impossible Kids, CBeebies for BBC Children’s and Brown Bag Films Manchester before joining the YACF team in March 2020.