BAFTA selected three writers of children’s media for special industry showcase

BAFTA selected three writers of children’s media for special industry showcase

The emerging writers will showcase their scripts at the BAFTA Rocliffe Children’s Media Showcase on 24 September

One writer will be chosen to attend MIP Junior, supported by The London Book Fair

London, Monday 5 September: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), in partnership with Rocliffe, and supported by The London Book Fair, has announced today the names of three writers of children’s media who will showcase their work to influential members of the film and television industries.

The showcase, now in its third year, is a special iteration of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition, a long-running initiative which aims to give a platform to undiscovered screenwriters and help them to develop their careers. This is the third year that BAFTA and Rocliffe have worked with The London Book Fair to support writers for children.

Andy Gilchrist, Ben Weiner and Stephen Sunderland – who were selected by an industry jury of writers, commissioners, programmers, producers and development executives – will see extracts from their scripts performed live by professional actors at a public showcase at BAFTA headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London, on Saturday 24 September.

In addition to the showcased writers, the details of three additional shortlisted entrants, endorsed by more than four jurors, will be published in the BAFTA Rocliffe Forum List, a new spotlight for screenwriting talent. This year’s Forum List includes Diane Taylor-Karger’s Ana’s Holiday, Katie Lee and Alex Milway’s Darke Times and Robert Brimstone’s Not Bad Beth.

This year’s showcase will be chaired by BAFTA-winning writer Ben Ward (Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Gigglebiz) and executive producer Sarah Muller (Danger Mouse), who will critique and provide feedback on the three winning scripts, as well as sharing insights into their own working process. The finalists will also receive a full year’s access to BAFTA events and workshops, industry introductions and a bespoke career planning and profile building session to provide support in navigating the industry.

One of the writers will then be selected to receive an expenses-paid trip and full delegate pass to the MIP Junior international children’s programming market in Cannes in October, where they will receive extensive industry introductions and networking opportunities, organised by The London Book Fair.

Helen Blakeman, BAFTA-winning writer (Dustbin Baby) and Chair of the BAFTA Children’s Committee, said: “We are delighted to be showcasing such outstanding new talent for children’s media, and are proud to be providing these emerging writers with a fantastic introduction to the wider industry. We hope that they all gain valuable insights and feedback from our industry experts and look forward to seeing this year’s new voices for children’s media go on to make the same successful progress within the industry as our past participants.”

Farah Abushwesha, Founder of Rocliffe, said: “It’s wonderful to see this third incarnation and the paths that those writers who have gone before have forged. To know the industry has come together to select these three new voices and the potentially career changing doors that may now open for them is hugely exciting.”

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “We’re delighted to have joined together with BAFTA and Rocliffe again this year to support emerging talent in screen writing for children; it is endlessly interesting to see how writing books and scripts for this market coalesce. The standard of entries has been exceptionally high, and we’re hugely excited to see what the future holds for Andy, Ben and Stephen. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming one writer as part of our MIP Junior delegation in October.”

Public tickets for BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum: Children’s Film and Television are on sale now. To book tickets, go to

Event details:

‘BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Showcase: Children’s Media’

Saturday 24 September 2016, 16:30 at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, London

Biographies and project synopses of the writers:

Andy Gilchrist – Undead Synopsis: Lost soul, Malcolm, joins forces with a motley crew of undead detectives to solve the mystery of his own death.

Andy Gilchrist was raised in Worcestershire, and now lives in London. Andy had his work first published at the age of 14 as part of a collection of short stories showcasing new writing talent, selected by the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. He now works as a full time intellectual property lawyer, but continues to write whenever he can. He has won various international screenwriting competitions, including being awarded the Empire Award in the New York Screenplay Contest in 2015. In that year, he also wrote an episode for the web series All Good Things produced by Box Room Films.

Ben Weiner – Mirror Worlds

Synopsis: After opening and travelling through a gateway between worlds, mother and son team, Penny and Albie navigate the fantastical Mirror Worlds trying to get back home.

Ben grew up and lives in London, but has travelled in China, Taiwan, France and India. As a writer, he has benefited from training courses at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) and the Script Factory and developed a feature script as part of the NFTS development diploma. Current projects include a feature script based in the Scottish Highlands, a children’s TV fantasy adventure series, a TV comedy series about the colourful characters of the 1970s Tennis Tour, and a spoken word piece to be broadcast as part of a series of monologues by up‐and‐coming writers.

Stephen Sunderland – The Fifth Dimension

Synopsis: Youngsters mastering time travel through DIY TV get stranded with the inventor of a 1950s fantasy show wanting to alter the future – their present….

Stephen lives in Manchester and studied English at Sidney Sussex College. He went on to teach English Literature and more recently ran a Film Studies department. He is the writer of three dramas – Ice Dreams, Paradise Hazard, and Phonebreaker – broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He is currently working on a number of original projects for TV and film including a sitcom, (The Booze Ambulance), two feature films (Black Sun and Fever) and a ten part drama series (The Undiscovered Country). The Fifth Dimension is his first project for children.

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:

Eleanor Pickering at BAFTA T (0) 20 7292 5863 E

Niyi Akeju at BAFTA T (0) 20 7292 5865 E


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – featuring workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes – in the UK, USA and Asia; it offers unique access to the world’s most inspiring talent and connects with a global audience of all ages and backgrounds. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. To access the best creative minds in film, television and games production, visit For more, visit

About Rocliffe

Rocliffe created a series of events, notably the New Writing Forums, now held at BAFTA and renamed the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition. Its popular blog Farah’s Rocliffe Notes is now the Amazon best seller Rocliffe Notes – A Professional Approach for Screenwriters & Writer-Directors. Rocliffe is run by film producer Farah Abushwesha and a dedicated team of directors, composers, actors and casting directors Past featured writers include James Dormer, Jack Thorne, Josh Appignanesi and Claire Wilson. Rocliffe productions has produced a range of feature and short form content.

About The London Book Fair (LBF)

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Taking place every spring in the world’s publishing and cultural capital, it is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. LBF brings you direct access to customers, content and emerging markets. LBF 2017, will take place from Tuesday 14-Thursday 16 March 2017, Olympia London. LBF’s London Book & Screen Week will run for the third year, with the book fair as the pivotal three day event within a seven day programme. For further information, please visit:

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