BFI funds new feature filmmakers through its First Feature Awards

A gripping psychological thriller set in Belfast and a dark fairytale are backed by the BFI Film Fund through its First Feature Awards.


Michael Lennox’s recent short Boogaloo and Graham (2014)

Michael Lennox’s recent short Boogaloo and Graham (2014)

The BFI Film Fund announces today that it is funding two new filmmakers, Michael Lennox with A Patch of Fog and Michael Pearce with Beast through its First Feature Awards. The Film Fund considers features from first-time directors, working with budgets under £2million, at quarterly intervals.

Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund, says:

The number of feature debuts by British filmmakers in selection at international festivals this year is testament to the exciting talent we have breaking through in the UK. Getting new filmmakers off the mark is a priority for the Film Fund, and our first features strand is an open process that allows space for fresh voices to tell unique stories. A Patch of Fog and Beast are excellent examples of original filmmaking that will grip audiences, and we’re looking forward to working with the two Michaels on their first feature projects.

About the filmmakers

Michael Lennox is a Belfast born filmmaker who studied directing at the National Film and Television School (NFTS). His short The Back of Beyond was nominated for best short film at the European Film Awards and won awards at Locarno International Film Festival and at the Royal Society of Television Awards. His latest short Boogaloo and Graham was selected to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival 2014. Chosen as the winner of Northern Ireland Screen’s New Talent Focus scheme, A Patch of Fog is being produced and financed by The Fyzz Facility and supported by Northern Ireland Screen and Goldcrest Post Production. Robert Jones, (The Usual Suspects, Gosford Park, The Constant Gardener), Wayne Marc Godfrey (Silence, Cake, The Survivalist) and David Gilbery (Shelby, Dead Snow: Red vs Dead, X Moor) will produce.

A Patch of Fog is a gripping psychological thriller set in Belfast, which follows the celebrated, one-time published novelist, Sandy Duffy’s, slow entrapment within the clutches of the increasingly obsessive Robert, a lonely security guard.

Jersey born writer and director Michael Pearce was named a Screen International Star of Tomorrow in 2011 and his National Film & Television School graduation film Madrugada film won Best Short Film at the RTS awards. His next short film, Rite, was nominated at the BAFTAs and BIFAs, screened at 40 international film festivals and won Best Film at the Rushes Soho Film Festival, Message2Man and the Almeria Film Festival. His recent short, Keeping Up with the Joneses, was produced through the BFI Shorts scheme and was nominated for a BAFTA this year.

Pearce’s first feature film Beast, produced by Kristian Brodie and Myles Payne of Agile Films, is a love story trapped within a horror film; a dark fairytale about a an emotionally isolated woman who comes under the spotlight of an island community when she falls in love with a man who is suspected of a series of brutal murders.

Supporting developing new and emerging talent is a priority for the BFI and outlined in Film Forever, the BFI’s strategy for UK film. The First Feature Awards editorial process, in which the BFI Film Fund continues to welcome applications throughout the year but considers them collectively at quarterly intervals, is designed to create a level playing field and provide an opportunity for fresh and exciting voices from a diverse range of filmmakers to shine through.   

As is now standard practice for the BFI Film Fund, applicants who receive a positive decision in principle will be issued with a Letter of Intent, enabling some of the projects to secure the final stage of their funding by demonstrating the Film Fund’s commitment and endorsement.

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