2020 through the lens of the UK’s most talented filmmakers

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Creativity and streaming film and TV shows have both been a constant source of comfort during, what many would call, a difficult year for the creative industries, and without the talent driving that content, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the films, tv, games, immersive media and many other creative outlets that have kept us going through the pandemic.

Throughout the years, we’ve had the honour of supporting a lot of creative talent who have been responsible for award winning, ground-breaking films, and have kept many entertained and positively impacted. This year hasn’t been any different, despite more obstacles being in the way of the individuals in our industry.

To end the year on a positive note, we’re spotlighting a few of the many successes we’ve seen this year from the films and TV we’ve been supporting.

Small Axe

A series of five films by Sir Steve McQueen aired on BBC One from November, set between the late-60s and mid-80s, all focused on lives and communities in West London that followed the Windrush generation.

We supported the series through our West Midlands Production Fund, which was set up with the support of ERDF to encourage and invest in the sustainable production of feature films and TV dramas in the region.

You can watch all five films on BBC iPlayer, or if you’d like to learn more about how the production shot, you can read about it in our Filming in England article.

BIFA Nominations

We were chuffed to see that two Creative England supported films made the BIFA nominations list in December. Well done to Perfect 10 for being nominated for three awards – Most Promising Newcomer, Raindance Discovery Award and Debut Director.

And congratulations to White Riot for being nominated for Best Documentary. We can’t wait to find out the results in the new year!

Make Up release

Make Up, by iFeatures alumni Claire Oakley was released in July, and has already received a lot of praise from critics following its festival run from LFF to Rotterdam and SXSW.

The film surrounds reserved teenager Ruth (Molly Windsor), who finds a smeared lipstick stain on her boyfriend Tom’s (Joseph Quinn) mirror and a strand of red hair on his T-shirt. Setting out to find the red head, Ruth is drawn to Jade (Stefanie Martini), her fascination soon becoming an obsession.

You can watch Make Up on Curzon Home Cinema.

Perfect 10 release

Another of our iFeatures productions Perfect 10 saw its cinematic release in August. The debut feature film from writer/director Eva Riley stars newcomers Frankie Box and Alfie Deegan and is a warming film about the complexities of family and childhood in and around Brighton.

Find out more and watch the trailer here.

White Riot success

This year has seen huge success for White Riot, a documentary on Rock Against Racism that we supported from very early development through our Emerging Talent Fund and then in production through our Lottery Production Fund – including a win at Berlin, LFF and Krakow film festivals. Amongst the rave reviews was a star one from the New York Times, praising the film for its “compelling depiction of political organizing in the 1970s”.

You can watch White Riot on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play.

Fanny Lye Delivr’d now available on BFI Player

Another West Midlands Production Fund supported production Fanny Lye Deliver’d, starring Maxine Peak, was released onto BFI Player in April.

The storyline follows the wife of a 17th century puritanical farmer, who seems resigned to her lot, until she has her head turned by the arrival of a young couple.

Days of the Bagnold Summer digital release

Simon Bird’s feature directorial debut Days of the Bagnold Summer was digitally released in June, and was supported in development through our Emerging Talent fund, alongside funding Simon’s debut short film Ernestine and Kit.

This heart-warming comedy boasts an impressive cast, including BAFTA-winning actress Monica Dolan, Earl Cave, Rob Brydon, Alice Lowe, Tamsin Greig, Tim Key and Elliot Speller-Gillot.

Find out more about where you can watch the film here.

After Love selected for Cannes Film Festival

Set in the port town of Dover in the South-East of England, Mary Hussain suddenly finds herself a widow following the unexpected death of her husband. A day after the burial, she discovers he has a secret just twenty-one miles across the English Channel in Calais…

After Love, supported by our Emerging Talent Fund Was selected for the Cannes Film Festival this year. Find out more about the production here.

Benediction filming wraps

Benediction, starring Jack Lowden and supported through our West Midlands Production Fund, wrapped filming in November of this year, despite facing challenges in production facilitation earlier on in 2020.

Lowden stars as WWI poet and soldier Sassoon, with Peter Capaldi playing Sassoon in his later years.

Censor

And just as we drafted this blog, we found out that Prano Bailey-Bond’s debut feature Censor, which we supported in development through our Emerging Talent fund, will have its world premiere at Sundance in January 2021 in the Midnight strand!

So there you have it, a year of many releases and awards for Creative England supported productions. Stay tuned to hear about more successes in 2021.

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