2010 Awardee: Andrew Cumming

I have aspired to be a film-maker since I was seventeen years old, and with the excellent support from the School and now your generous contribution to my education I feel better prepared than ever to achieve my goal.

Biography

Brought up in Leven, Fife, Andrew Cumming has wanted to make films since he was a teenager. In 2003, he graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art with a first-class degree. Since then he has self-funded the making of a series of short films. In 2006 he set up a media production company to make promotional films for local and national clients.

His true passion lies with narrative fiction and his own shorts, often made for less than £400, have been nominated for, and won, several awards in Edinburgh, London, Wales and Poland. In 2010 Creative Scotland described him as a “young talent to watch”.

Andrew’s ultimate ambition is to make his first feature film in his native Scotland.

Andrew was offered one of the eight places at NFTS to study directing fiction, fighting off competition from just under 400 aspiring young film directors from all over the world.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help Andrew study for an MA in Directing Fiction at the prestigious NFTS.

After a successful first year, Andrew’s support has been continued into the second year.

I have aspired to be a film-maker since I was seventeen years old, and with the excellent support from the School and now your generous contribution to my education I feel better prepared than ever to achieve my goal.

2010 Awardee: Deborah Hannan

I am overwhelmed by the award and the opportunities and possibilities it presents me with. I cannot overstate my gratitude to the panel, nor the degree to which this award profoundly and richly alters my life.

Biography

Born and brought up in Edinburgh, Deborah graduated in 2009 from Edinburgh University with a first-class degree in English Literature. While still an undergraduate she was actively involved in making theatre, primarily with the unfunded Edinburgh University group Theatre Paradok. Her ambition is to establish herself in Scotland as a theatre director.

After graduation, Deborah joined a two-year programme with the Traverse Young Writers’ Group where she wrote several short scripts and had a piece workshopped as part of their ‘First Bite’ script development. She is considered to be both an exceptionally talented and intelligent dramatist emerging onto the Scottish theatre scene. Her work is seen to be distinctive, with a strong commitment to experiment and risk-taking.

Deborah received an award from the Edinburgh University Department of English Literature to create a large site-specific version of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales in Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall. The panel included Ben Harrison and Douglas Maxwell of Grid Iron. She has had a long-term connection with the circus troupe Te Roaka.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award assists Deborah to study for an MA in Directing at RSAMD, Glasgow.

Since the Award

Deborah graduated with an MA in Directing with a well-deserved distinction. Deborah describes her year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly ‘RSAMD’) as ‘long and fruitful’ which took her from having an ambition to be a director to becoming one. She is considered to be an intelligent, creative and original director who has a bright future ahead of her.

I am overwhelmed by the award and the opportunities and possibilities it presents me with. I cannot overstate my gratitude to the panel, nor the degree to which this award profoundly and richly alters my life.

2010 Awardee: Louis Paxton

I wish to express my thanks and gratitude at such a generous offer

Biography

Budding film-maker Louis Paxton has won a place at the prestigious NFTS. He already has an impressive track record in film, his films having been screened in numerous international film festivals. Amongst the awards his work has garnered are a National Royal Television Society award for Choreomania and the audience award at the Jim Poole Scottish Short Film Award competition in 2010 for his short film Fool Proof.

Louis studied TV Operations at Edinburgh’s Telford College before going on to further training in film at RSAMD where he was considered to be a first-class student. His work has won several awards and accolades and he is seen as an exciting new voice in Scottish film. Louis brings to film both humour and style and is a Scottish talent to watch.

Louis joins a growing group of exciting Scottish talent in film which the trustees have been delighted to support.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will contribute to the substantial costs to pursue an MA in Directing Fiction at the NFTS, Beaconsfield.

After a very successful first year at NFTS, the trustees were pleased to extend their support of Louis into the second and final year.

I wish to express my thanks and gratitude at such a generous offer

2010 Awardee: Ruth Paxton

I am extremely grateful and indebted to the trust for their generosity and for making it possible for me to pursue this opportunity in London.

Biography

Edinburgh born and bred, Ruth Paxton is an impassioned young Scottish filmmaker.

After gaining a degree from Edinburgh College of Art, Ruth graduated in 2007 from the Screen Academy Scotland with a post-graduate diploma in film. Since then she has developed her skills by writing, directing, producing and designing for an eclectic mix of film projects, including fiction, non-fiction, experimental film and music video.

At heart a writer/director, Ruth’s most successful film to date has been ‘She Wanted To Be Burnt’, which has been exhibited and nominated in competition in festivals across the UK and Europe, including screenings in Australia, India and China. In 2009, Ruth was commissioned by DigiCult with her short film ‘PARIS/SEXY’, which was premiered at the 64th EIFF, where it was nominated for the UK Film Council Best British Short film. The cinematographer was fellow Dewar Award Winner David Liddell.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award funded Ruth to attend the Directors’ Series short course at the prestigious NFTS in Beaconsfield.

Since the Award

Ruth writes that the course “not only met with my expectations, but exceeded them….. I have gained knowledge and ‘tools’ with which to approach new projects.” One of her tutors writes that “from the first exercise on camera, Ruth demonstrated she had a strong, individual and unusual cinematic and aesthetic talent … she showed remarkable development of ability and understanding of dramatic narrative.” Shortly after the course, Ruth went to the Toronto Film Festival to participate in a Talent Lab. In 2011, Ruth’s film PARIS/SEXY was winner of the UKFC Best Short Film Award at the 8th London Short Film Festival. Congratulations, Ruth!

I am extremely grateful and indebted to the trust for their generosity and for making it possible for me to pursue this opportunity in London.

2009 Awardee: Alan McKendrick

Thanks very much, I’m delighted… and am already looking forward to being able to embark on my project with support from the Award.

Biography

Freelance stage writer/director/translator Alan McKendrick, from Glasgow, already has a number of stage successes under his belt. His most recent stage work as writer/director includes The James Dean Death Scene, Finished With Engines and The Bad Drive Well. In 2006 he was winner of the Arches Award for stage directors (for The James Dean Death Scene) and the following year reached the final shortlist for the prestigious Meyer-Whitworth Award for the UK-wide best play by a new writer (for Finished With Engines).

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award helped Alan to spend a period of time on a creative attachment with the renowned Schaubuehne Theater, Berlin.

Since the Award

Having spent a period of time in Berlin, Alan writes that his “original intention was to…consolidate upon my already-extant skills as a playwright, director and translator. I believe that …this was ultimately achieved on a personal level.” The fruit of this time in Berlin began to appear some months after his return to Scotland, which includes the possibility of his own work being translated into German and him working with a German director on a German-English stage translation.

Thanks very much, I’m delighted… and am already looking forward to being able to embark on my project with support from the Award.

2009 Awardee: Andrea Harkin

My thanks to the trustees for choosing to grant me a Dewar Arts Award. I am delighted and would like to accept the award.

Biography

Originally from Derry, Northern Ireland, and now based in Edinburgh, Andrea won a 2008 BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award, in the Best First-Time Writer category, for the short film ‘The Flyer’, which she both wrote and directed. The film was premiered subsequently at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, one of just four Scottish Shorts to be screened that year.

Andrea first studied drama at Queen Margaret University. She then joined the Pilton Video’s ‘From Script to Screen’ Shorts programme as a new director, eventually producing a powerful, funny and moving film short ‘Just Like Me’. Andrea is considered to be one of the very best talents to come out of Scotland over the past few years and, in the view of some, the best developing young female director in the country at this time.

Andrea has been offered a coveted place on the NFTS Masters course in Film Directing, where places are hugely competitive and are only offered to those who already have a track record in the film industry.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help Andrea towards the considerable costs of the course. After a successful first year, Andrea’s funding was continued into the second year.

Since the Award

Andrea successfully completed her studies at NFTS in 2011, and according to her tutors, her graduation film, FOR MEGAN, made a powerful impact on the audience. Andrea writes, “I have learned so much about filmmaking, collaboration, and what needs to be done on a practical level to facilitate the creative possibilities. And that is precisely why I came to film school.” For more information about Andrea’s current work, see www.andreaharkin.net.

My thanks to the trustees for choosing to grant me a Dewar Arts Award. I am delighted and would like to accept the award.

2007 Awardee: Paul Wright

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude for this generous support…. I am forever grateful.

Biography

Paul is considered to be one of the most exciting filmmakers of his generation.

Brought up in Fife, Paul moved to Edinburgh to begin studying film and photography, where he quickly developed a passion for filmmaking. He went on to study film at Glasgow’s RSAMD, where his abilities stood out.

His film ‘Hikikomori’ (cinematographer: fellow Dewar Arts awardee David Liddell) received many plaudits, including a BAFTA nomination for Best Short Film, a BAFTA Scotland win for ‘Best New Work’ and a clutch of other Best Drama and Best Fiction Film awards.  It also caught the eye of the NFTS, Beaconsfield, and Paul was offered a place on their MA in Directing Fiction course.

Through the production and post-production of ‘Hikikomori’ Paul demonstrated the essential discipline required to become a great filmmaker and story-teller, knowing how to tell a story well and balance all the elements of the film to serve the central idea. Paul has already impressed as a filmmaker who is sincerely interested in his art and its possibilities as well as in the world around him and in emotional truth. His is a name to remember.

How the Award Helped

Paul received a Dewar Arts Award to help him pursue an MA in Directing Fiction at the NFTS, Beaconsfield.

Since the Award

Paul successfully graduated from NFTS with an MA in Directing Fiction. While there, he made a number of short films, one of which ‘Believe’ (cinematographer: former Dewar Arts awardee, Benjamin Kracun) has already won four prestigious film festival awards as well as a special mention at three further international film festivals. His equally stunning film short ‘Until the River Runs Red’ is tipped for similar success.

Paul has signed to Casarotto Ramsay, one of the UK’s most respected film agents, and is developing his debut feature with Zentropa Films. In an article on the state of the British film industry, Paul was described as simply “the future of the British Film Industry.” He writes, “Quite simply without The Dewar Arts Award I would not financially have been able to take my place on the course and I am eternally grateful for your help during this important time in my career.”

In 2011, Paul’s film ‘Until the River Runs Red’ won the BAFTA Best Short Film. Congratulations, Paul!

In 2013, Paul’s debit feature film ‘For Those in Peril’ received excellent reviews and was screened at Cannes Film Festival. It has since gone on to gain a Scottish BAFTA and a nomination for Outstanding Debut at the UK BAFTAs.

Until the River Runs Red

Interview at the BAFTAs

For Those in Peril

Review in Variety Magazine

Feature in The Independent

Film details on IMDB

Paul Wright Interview: ‘For Those in Peril’ at Cannes Film Festival

Paul Wright Interview: ‘For Those in Peril’ at Edinburgh International Film Festival

Paul Wright Interview: ‘Until the River Runs Red’ at The BAFTAs

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude for this generous support…. I am forever grateful.

2007 Awardee: Joanne Timmins

I am delighted to accept the trustees offer of one of the Dewar Arts Awards.

Biography

Joanne Timmins is considered to be a most original, committed, disciplined and intelligent young theatre director, and a name to watch. She is committed to producing the highest quality theatre for children and young people.

In 2003, Jo graduated from Queen Margaret University College with a first class honours degree in Drama and Theatre Arts. Her specific interest is in children’s theatre, and according to one of the leading drama tutors in Scotland “we have not seen her like in this sector of theatre for many years”.

Jo, now based in Edinburgh, has lived in Scotland for the past 18 years. In 2004 she set up her own theatre company Cat in a Cup to develop and direct original theatre productions for children. One of the productions, Such is Nature, was a hugh success, most recently at Baboro, the largest theatre festival for children in Ireland. The piece was described by the Scottish Playwrights Studio as one of the most acclaimed plays produced in Scotland over the last two years. She is considered by many in the sector to be the outstanding new talent in the area of performing arts for children and young people.

How the Award Helped

Jo is currently Director in Residence with Imaginate. In this role, she will develop a process and aesthetic to inspire future children’s theatre. It is for this work that the Dewar Arts Award is supporting Jo.

Since the Award

After successfully completing her project “Theatre of Possibility”, Jo set up her own company Lyra which will produce ‘Rebecca’s Midnight’ in 2011.  The foundations of the company are rooted in the Theatre of Possibility concept. Jo writes that “the effects of the award have been long-lasting and continue to influence my development.”

I am delighted to accept the trustees offer of one of the Dewar Arts Awards.

2007 Awardee: Jodie Oliver

I am eternally grateful for this award as it will help me complete my course and fulfil a dream.

Biography

Edinburgh-born Jodie Oliver has been passionate about music since the age of five when she first began piano lessons. Her love of musical theatre started when she became involved with the National Youth Musical Theatre as a teenager. Jodie started off at Edinburgh University studying for a law degree, but soon realised she had made a mistake in not following her first love. She switched to music and recently graduated with an honours degree.

Jodie’s interest has always been in directing musical theatre, although this is not an easy path for a female to follow. She directed many productions in Edinburgh before moving to London to try to establish a career for herself and build a name for herself. Shortly after the move, Mountview Academy announced the start of a new postgraduate course in Musical Directing. The course was open to only one student, with the aim of developing them to be able to direct a West End musical on completion. Jodie was selected for that place.

As this achievement testifies, Jodie is considered to be a new and exciting talent in musical theatre, with energy and creative passion to match.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the costs of Jodie’s course.

Since the Award

After successfully completing the course, Jodie was signed up by a London agent. Interesting projects which she began working on immediately include the London run of the musical Mathilde and a European tour of The 12 Tenors.

I am eternally grateful for this award as it will help me complete my course and fulfil a dream.