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Cate Blanchett presents £50K Bursary Award

The first ever IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI was awarded tonight to Hope Dickson-Leach, writer and director of The Levelling, who will receive £50k, the most significant bursary of its kind in the UK film industry.

The award was presented by Cate Blanchett at a star-studded gala dinner at London’s Rosewood hotel, hosted by Rob Brydon and accompanied by the sounds of the London Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

Luminaries from the worlds of film, music, fashion and culture joined forces to celebrate this unique bursary held on the eve of the opening of the BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express®. The Levelling will screen in LFF’s Official Competition strand (European Premiere) at Picturehouse Central on Friday 7th October at 6.30pm.

Award winning actress and BFI Fellow Cate Blanchett said “I am so pleased to be here to celebrate four remarkable and unique film-makers being supported at the beginning of their career by the BFI and IWC.  I wish all the filmmakers involved great future success.”

 Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen and bursary final judge said: “We are so pleased to have awarded this first bursary award in the UK to a filmmaker who shows so much promise and such clear talent. We are very proud of our collaboration with the BFI to be a part of Hope’s journey as she continues to create exciting and ground-breaking work.”

Hope Dickson-Leach, winner of the IWC Bursary Award in association with the BFI, said “Winning this means everything - my life has just changed in two minutes. Being a mother of two children and a filmmaker is really tricky and I’ve now been given the gift of time.
This generous bursary from IWC Shaffhausen and the BFI means that I can now develop my second feature. Being awarded this, having been judged by my peers, is doubly fantastic. Thank you to IWC Shaffhausen, the BFI and the judges for celebrating all of our work and for choosing me!”

The Bursary Award is presented in recognition of outstanding British talent and is designed to support a writer and/or director at the beginning of their career, bringing them the financial stability and time needed to develop their creativity and focus on future projects without the pressure of deadlines or the distraction of taking paid work – a precious and extremely rare opportunity for a filmmaker.

The other three finalists in contention for the award were:

•             Joseph a. Adesunloye – Writer, Director of WHITE COLOUR BLACK screening in LFF’s Journey strand (World Premiere)

•             Alice Lowe – Writer, Director of PREVENGE, screening in LFF’s Laugh strand (UK Premiere)

•             Paul Anton Smith – Director of HAVE YOU SEEN MY MOVIE? Screening in LFF’s Experimenta strand (World Premiere)

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