There are three stages of judging for The Pitch, before the finals weekend.
The 40 pitches showcased on this site ‘In Consideration’ are chosen by the Pitch team, handpicked film professionals and theologians.
The top 20 selected for the Shortlist are voted on by a panel of peers, made up of filmmakers including previous winners of The Pitch.
The top ten are chosen by the judges, who will then hear their pitches in person at the Finalists’ Weekend at the National Film and Television School. Story and personal development coaches will help finalists with their entries.
Dr Jon Wardle, director of The National Film and Television School, said it was 'a great experience and a great privilege' to be part of the 2019–20 jury.
The quality of projects we were asked to review was incredibly high, so it was great fun chatting to the filmmakers about their intentions and why the work mattered to them. Roll on 2021.
Dr Jon Wardle
Fellow judge Justine Hart echoed how positive and enjoyable The Pitch proved for judges and entrants.
It’s surely the most supportive, generous scheme out there for filmmakers. The participants who reached the final judging weekend were staggeringly impressive and all ten had so clearly taken advantage of the training days, feedback and support already offered to them by the programme that, whether they won or not, their careers and confidence would have had an almighty boost. I love the Pitch for its passion for genuine storytellers, its determination to back bold and interesting voices and the sheer breadth of ideas and stories it inspires from the filmmaking community. Everyone should apply!
The judges for the 2020–21 Pitch will be announced later this year. Here’s a bit more info on the 2019–20 judges:
Director of the National Film and Television School, Britain’s leading film school, Jon is also co-director of the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling (Storyfutures Academy) and annually leads the BFI Film Academy Talent Campus Residential. He is a BAFTA member, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the National Association of Television Production Executives (NATPE), and is on the Royal Television Society Education Committee.
Francis is writer/director of the acclaimed Daniel Radcliffe thriller Escape From Pretoria, made with Pitch production consultants Footprint Films. He has won awards for his short films and directed one-hour drama for BBC1. Francis has several feature films in development as director and/or screenwriter.
A script developer, lecturer and screenwriter, as a director of The Script Factory (2002–2013) she was responsible for devising and delivering a comprehensive syllabus of training courses in both development and the craft of screenwriting. In 2013, Justine – together with fellow Script Factory director Lucy Scher – took the brave (insane?) decision to develop their own projects as screenwriters and were quickly commissioned. Lucy sadly passed away in August 2018. Justine is continuing to work on their comedy drama feature film Sumo Girls and developing other original TV and film ideas.
Linda Marric is a freelance film critic and editor. After graduating with a degree in Film Studies from King’s College London, she worked in post-production on a number of films. Presently Linda is the main film critic for The Jewish Chronicle. She also reviews films for The Daily Mirror, The London Economic, The Sun and Empire. She is also reviews editor at HeyUGuys and has appeared frequently on acclaimed culture podcast BigMouth.
Rob McLellan is an award-winning writer and VFX director. His career in film really began when he won The Pitch in 2010 and made the short film Rahab, which landed him a Hollywood agent and manager. Rob's short film ABE, which went viral upon its internet release, was optioned by MGM to be developed as a feature film. The original short film went on to tour the festival circuit and won multiple awards. Rob also works as a creative director and has worked on several award-winning VR experiences and games, such as the VR horror game Syren and the upcoming ABE: The Game.
Previous judges include Oscar-winning Aardman icon Nick Park and one of Britain’s leading actors, David Oyelowo, alongside David Gyasi, Paula Gooder, Stuart Hazeldine, Martin Kiszko, Jolyon Mitchell, Toby Jones, Ray Panthaki, Debs Paterson, Nev Pierce, Alison Sterling, David Suchet and Toyah Willcox.
The Pitch coaches, who help with story development and/or personal presentation, are:
Dr David Baboulene is a published author of eight books (including The Primary Colours of Story and The Story Book), a scriptwriter, story consultant and an academic student of story theory whose research is changing the way contemporary media industries create and evaluate stories.
Anna Cox is Creative Director at Minerva Media, a production company specialising in documentaries about religion, history and the arts. She worked at the BBC for more than 20 years as a documentary director and producer and her award-winning films have ranged from a fly-on-the-wall documentary for BBC2 about an experiment into prayer; to a BBC1 film uncovering the brutal treatment of Yazidi women in Iraq enslaved by ISIS; to numerous drama documentaries for both UK and US channels. Her work has taken her from the deserts of Egypt to the suburbs of New Zealand, via the 'Hollywood' sets in remote parts of Morocco. She is currently developing ideas for various US and UK channels.