Creative England launches ‘iShorts+: Funny Girls’

Sweetheart· Launched in partnership with Big Talk and Baby Cow
· iShorts+ will make a £10,000 production award to up to 5 comedy narrative shorts
· Aimed at female directors and writer/directors working in film comedy across England, including London
· For more information and/or interviews please contact
Jenny Walford jenny.walford@creativeengland.co.uk /07885 969 634
or Amy Wilkinson amy.wilkinson@creativeengland.co.uk / 07788 155 142

Creative England launches ‘iShorts+: Funny Girls’
15 July, 2014: Female filmmakers with a funny bone can now apply for iShorts+: Funny Girls, a new programme launched today by Creative England in partnership with Big Talk and Baby Cow.

iShorts+ will make a £10,000 production award to up to 5 comedy narrative shorts, provide intensive development support through a two-day comedy residential workshop in Brighton and offer access to mentors from the UK’s leading film and TV comedy production companies.

Aimed at female directors and writer/directors working in film comedy across England (including London), this round ofiShorts+ is the first in an annual series that will focus on a different brief each time. Both the original iShorts and the newiShorts+ programmes are delivered through Creative England’s Sheffield and Brighton Talent Centres as part of the BFI.NETWORK.

Celine Haddad, Senior Film Executive for Talent Development at Creative England said: “We know that there is a wealth of female filmmaking talent out there but we also know that we need to see more of this diverse talent and their projects making it onto our screens. We want to help nurture aspiring female filmmakers, help them hone their craft in the short film medium and use that as a springboard to sustain a lifelong career in a feature film genre that is proven to entertain cinema audiences worldwide, time and time again. We don’t believe the difficulties achieving this in the wider UK film landscape speaks to an inherent lack of comedic talent, so much as a lack of opportunity.

“This progressive approach to talent, from the moment of their discovery to the making of their first feature, forms an essential part of Creative England’s longer term philosophy as part of the BFI.NETWORK – and nobody told us you couldn’t have a little fun along the way.”

The programme hopes to reach aspiring female filmmakers from all cultural comedic corners; narrative short film; TV sketch and sitcom; comedic theatre productions and radio plays; web series and viral promos; commercials and music videos.

On board as official partners for the programme are Big Talk Pictures (Cuban Fury, The Cornetto Trilogy, Attack The Block, Scott Pilgrim, Rev, Youngers, Friday Night Dinner, Mr. Sloane, Him & Her) and Baby Cow Productions  (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Philomena, A Cock And Bull Story, The Trip, Moone Boy, Gavin & Stacey, The Mighty Boosh), who will provide expertise at key stages of the initiative as mentors and key note speakers, granting awardees privileged access to their own produced talent.

Rachael Prior, Producer and Head of Development at Big Talk Pictures, said “We’re thrilled to be part of this scheme. It could not have come soon enough.  Unearthing exciting new comedy voices for British film is in our DNA but can also represent the most challenging part of our work. The lack of visibility of women in this genre is particularly alarming and as female producers, we’ve had enough of the status quo.

“We believe the talent is out there and it needs nurturing and encouraging to embrace this most diverse of genres. Comedy has the capacity to uplift, transport and carry social message more directly than any other genre.  We can’t wait to see who we discover.”

Henry Normal, Producer and Co-Founder of Baby Cow, said: “At Baby Cow we believe everyone has a story to tell. The more we hear stories from new perspectives the more our enjoyment and understanding of the world is enhanced.”

Filmmakers can download the full set of Guidelines and FAQ’s on the Creative England websitehttp://www.creativeengland.co.uk/film/ishorts–funny-girls. The deadline is Friday 29th August at 5pm.

The first iShorts programme, the inaugural entry level shorts scheme for all new filmmaking talent based in the English regions (outside of London), offered applicants a chance to receive a £5,000 production award. The second round is due to launch in September 2014.

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Notes to Editors
For media enquiries please contact Jenny Walford jenny.walford@creativeengland.co.uk / 07885 969 634 or Amy Wilkinsonamy.wilkinson@creativeengland.co.uk / 07788 155 142

iShorts
Delivered through Creative England’s Sheffield and Brighton Talent Centres as part of the BFI.NETWORK, iShorts is an entry level shorts initiative, for filmmakers outside of London who have some experience in self-funded short films or student films, have written an unproduced screenplay, or have produced work that has not yet attracted financial support from within the industry. iShorts+ shines a light on areas of under-representation in England’s filmmaking community (including London) across genres that the Talent Centres believe warrant additional funding, awareness, promotion, mentoring and holistic support.

Creative England
Creative England invests in and supports creative ideas, talent and businesses in film, TV, games and digital media. We aim to grow the brightest, the best, and those with the most promise so that individuals and businesses can achieve their full creative and commercial potential. We help identify future opportunities to grow the economy and generate jobs. www.creativeengland.co.uk

BFI.NET.WORK
BFI NET.WORK is a key initiative to support promising writers, directors and producers from the nations and regions of the UK and is central to the BFI’s strategy, detailed in its Film Forever five year plan, to discover and support the next generation of UK feature filmmaking talent, no matter where they live. Find out more about BFI NET.WORK at www.bfi.org.uk/network

Big Talk Pictures
Comedy is, and always has been, the beating heart of Big Talk, often overlapping and conspiring with other genres. Over the last four years, the company has expanded significantly and, alongside it, so has the breadth and scope of the material being developed and produced.

Following the success of Spaced, Nira Park’s relationship as Edgar Wright’s producing partner was cemented with the 2003 release of cult-comedy, Shaun of the Dead – the first installment of Wright’s iconic Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. ‘Shaun’ was followed by 2007 box office hit Hot Fuzz, and 2013’s The World’s End. The three films combined have amassed a box office of over $150 million and the Hot Fuzz DVD is owned by 1 in 3 homes in the UK.

To date, Big Talk’s credits also include: Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, starring Michael Cera; Greg Mottola’s Paul, written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost with Kristen Wiig; Joe Cornish’s critically acclaimed Attack the Block; the multi-award winningSightseers, directed by Ben Wheatley and written by / starring Alice Lowe and Steve Oram; and Jeremy Lovering’s In Fear, which debuted internationally to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.

2014 has already seen the release of salsa rom-com Cuban Fury, written by BAFTA winning newcomer Jon Brown, directed by James Griffiths and starring Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, Rashida Jones, Ian McShane and Olivia Colman. BritListed romantic comedy Man Upcommenced and completed shooting in the spring and is now in post-production. It was penned by Tess Morris, directed by Ben Palmer, and stars Lake Bell and Simon Pegg.

As well as developing new projects with both Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish throughout 2014 and beyond, Nira Park and Big Talk are currently producing Grimsby – Sacha Baron Cohen’s new action-comedy, directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Baron Cohen and Mark Strong.

Big Talk continues to work with some of the most exciting voices in both the UK and the US to bring fresh, dynamic, authored stories to the big screen.

Baby Cow Productions
Established in 1999 by award winning comedy creators Steve Coogan and Henry Normal, Baby Cow Productions Ltd has gained an enviable reputation for nurturing new British comedy talent, whilst teaming up with the best of the UK’s established writers, directors and producers.

Baby Cow has produced over 200 hours of award winning and highly acclaimed TV programmes for the BBC, ITV, UK digital channels, world sales, iTunes and DVD sales.

Specialising in cutting edge comedy Baby Cow are working with some of the hottest names in this field both in front and behind camera over a wide range of bold and innovative programmes for both national and international television.

Baby Cow’s productions include award winning Gavin and Stacey, The Mighty Boosh, Nighty Night, Mid Morning Matters, Hunderby, Moone Boy, Hebburn and the Alan Partridge specials resulting in an array of nominations and awards including Bafta, RTS, Rose d’Or, Southbank Awards and International Emmys.

Baby Cow’s most recent television shows and films include Uncle for BBC 3, The Trip to Italy, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and Philomena which received four Oscar nominations including Best Picture and won a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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