2012 Awardee: Jessica Ashman

It excites me to be part of an industry which makes the impossible possible, and reaches out to the hearts and minds of audiences from all walks of life

Biography

Jessica moved to Edinburgh from the Midlands in 2008, after gaining a coveted place on the Animator Apprenticeship Scheme run by what was then Scottish Screen. She proved herself to be a commited and passionate young animator, with the necessary patience and core skills required to make a career in the artform.

After her apprenticeship, Jessica lived and worked in Glasgow.  She made a name for herself as a freelance director and animator in the film and TV industries.

Jessica’s passion for directing comes from the ability to share stories, experiences and emotions through work on screen.  Her short film Fixing Luka is a stop motion animaton that explores her personal experience of growing up with a younger brother who has autism.  The film went on to win a New Talent BAFTA for Original Score and a Scottish BAFTA for Best Animation in 2011.

Also in 2011, Jessica was commissioned as a writer/director on B3 Media’s Talentlab Programme;  a creative development programme produced in partnership with Skillset and BBC Films.  She received mentor support from top industry professionals and on completion was accepted onto the prestigious MA in Animation at the Royal College of Art.

How the Award Helped

Studying for a masters degree provided a crucial tipping point for Jessica, taking her to the next level of her career.  She received a Dewar Award to enable her to benefit from this opportunity to the full.

Trailer: Fixing Luka

Trailer: Tenderfoot (MA final year film from RCA) 

It excites me to be part of an industry which makes the impossible possible, and reaches out to the hearts and minds of audiences from all walks of life

2012 Awardee: Gillian Park

Completing my Masters degree at the National Film and Television School is my number one priority

Biography

Gillian Park is a young screenwriter of exceptional talent and great promise.  She is a natural storyteller with a flair for comedy and a powerful, original voice.  Her work reflects her Scottish background with a warmth, vigour and authenticity, but she is equally able to push outside the confines of her own experience to explore different genres and areas of writing.

Born in Irvine, Gillian left school at 17 to do a HNC in TV Production at Glasgow Metropolitan College.  Whilst there she discovered a passion for writing, and after finishing her course she was accepted on a course of study at the RSAMD (now the RCS).  The short film she wrote and directed there was screened internationally at a number of festivals and went on to win several awards.  She graduated from her degree with first class honours.

After graduating, Gillian began working with a variety of production companies, but her dream was to study screenwriting at the National Film and Television School.  In 2012 she applied with a script set in Scotland and was successful, gaining an outstanding opportunity to hone her craft.  The fees and living costs in London proved challenging, however, and Gillian was awarded a Dewar Arts Award to support her in completing her MA and making the most of the opportunity she had strived for.

Agent: http://www.casarotto.co.uk/client/gillian-park–18650

How the Award Helped

Gillian received a Dewar Arts Award to enable her to complete her masters degree at the National Film and Television School, London.

Since the Award

March 2015 – Nominated for a BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award: Writer, Flotsam

Trailer: The Last Resort written by Gillian Park (c) NFTS 2014

Completing my Masters degree at the National Film and Television School is my number one priority

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: Asif Ali

This is more than I could have expected and more than I anticipated and I am thankful and grateful for all your assistance that I have received towards me achieving my goals.

Biography

Born in Halifax and brought up in Paisley from the age of ten, Asif was selected to participate in the national Second Light Initiative, a film production-based training scheme for young people from diverse backgrounds, where his talent and creative eye stood out.

As a result of this participation, Asif subsequently worked on the BBC’s How Not to Live Your Life, Shed Media’s innovative online drama Being Victor (subsequently picked up by STV) and was location marshall for the up-coming comedy Captain America. His adaptation of Edwin Morgan’s poem In the Snack Bar will be premiered at the 2011 Glasgow Film Festival.

Asif is conscious of being the first Scottish Asian to be accepted by the prestigious NFTS in London. One of his long-term ambitions is to encourage more British young people from ethnic backgrounds to enter the film industry. He is to date the most successful apprentice on Second Light Initiative and his mentors point to his passion, talent and commitment as the reasons for his success in beating off the considerable competition.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help Asif to pursue an MA in Film Production at NFTS.

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

This is more than I could have expected and more than I anticipated and I am thankful and grateful for all your assistance that I have received towards me achieving my goals.

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: Ania Winiarska

It is a wonderful opportunity for me to study at the NFTS where I can improve my skills and develop [a] personal voice and style in film-making.

Biography

Polish-born Ania became passionate about film through her initial studies in journalism. Her early fascination with ordinary people’s lives grew into a desire to tell more in-depth human interest stories through the medium of film documentary.

Ania’s first contact with the film-set was behind the scenes as an independent photographer working on, amongst others, the set of ‘Rebus’. She moved into theatre and got involved with the Citizens Community Theatre in Glasgow.

Whilst in Glasgow, Ania made the well-received documentary ‘Shooting Horses’ chronicling the story of a community performance project based on the film “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”. This was selected for submission to the Golden Gate Film Festival in San Francisco. She later made ‘Blackout’, a documentary about Glasgow teenagers who performed at the National Theatre in London.

Ania worked as a film-maker for a number of Scottish charities, often for no fee, to help them raise their profile and funds. ‘Passionate’ is a word often used in connection with Ania, and in her work she manages to find engaging and honest stories that touch the hearts of her audience.

Ania won a place at the highly-competitive NFTS, Beaconsfield to study for a Master in Documentary Directing.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will help towards the substantial costs for Ania to take up a place.

Since the Award

Ania has continued to build on her success and skills as a film-maker. She received the Christie Award for out-standing contribution to the NFTS and her film ‘Dylan’ has been screened at numerous international film festivals. ‘Dylan’ won 2nd prize at San Sebastian International Film Festival and was shortlisted for Grierson Awards for best student film. Ania continues to work on documentaries for British TV, including ‘Britain in a Day’ for BBC2.

‘Dylan’ Official Trailer from Ania Winiarska on Vimeo.

It is a wonderful opportunity for me to study at the NFTS where I can improve my skills and develop [a] personal voice and style in film-making.

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.

2009 Awardee: Krysty Wilson

Please accept my sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone on the board.

Biography

Glasgow-born Krysty Wilson is a graduate of RSAMD where she studied screenwriting and graduated with a first-class degree in digital film and television. She stood out amongst her peers as a natural-born talent and developed into one of the brightest students.

Krysty has a gift for storytelling and displayed invention, imagination and creativity during her undergraduate studies. She has been accepted onto the MA in Screenwriting course at NFTS, Beaconsfield. She writes that this course would “give the best possible chance to hone the skills to become an excellent screenwriter”.

Her tutors at RSAMD have no doubt that as a talented screenwriter already she has the potential to develop into a significant voice in British cinema. Krysty’s ambition is to return to Scotland after her training and work to develop the local film industry.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Award will help towards the substantial costs for the first year at NFTS.

Since the Award

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

Please accept my sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone on the board.

2008 Awardee: Ben McNeill

I am writing to accept the Dewar Award which I have been awarded for courses at Beaconsfield - I am delighted to have been selected.

Biography

Edinburgh-born Ben was forced to leave school at 18 due to family circumstances. Unable to complete his further education, however, has not thwarted Ben’s ambition nor dampened his enthusiasm.

In 2005 Ben applied for a course on film-making offered by the Prince’s Trust and since then has set his sights on making a career in film production. Immediately after the course, he went on to complete an HNC in Communication with Media and later set up his own business in Film Production & Photography, thanks to a starter grant from the Prince’s Trust.

Ben has continued his association with the Prince’s Trust, producing a number of documentary projects, and representing the Trust as a Young Ambassador. In 2008 he won the Princes Trust Stills for Enterprise and Community Impact Award.

One of Ben’s long-term project is to set up an Internet Television Studio in Scotland. To enhance his skills in order to achieve this ambition, Ben applied for and was offered a place on the residential programme Summerdocs at the prestigious NFTS, Beaconsfield.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award was given to help finance Ben’s study at the NFTS.

I am writing to accept the Dewar Award which I have been awarded for courses at Beaconsfield - I am delighted to have been selected.