Judges

There are three stages of judging for The Pitch, before the finals weekend.

The 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 a panel of industry judges, who will then hear their pitches in person at the Finals’ Weekend at the National Film and Television School. Story and personal development coaches will help finalists with their entries.

Industry Judges

Martin Gentles

Producer of BAFTA-winning British horror His House, Gentles started his career as Sir Alan Parker’s assistant at Dirty Hands Productions during the making of Angela’s Ashes and has a wealth of experience in music videos, promos and commercials during his time spent as a producer and production co-ordinator at Harry Nash, Propaganda Films and Science Films. He set up Starchild Pictures where he developed a slate of British films, including His House, directed by Remi Weekes, starring Wunmi Mosuku, Sope Dirisu and Matt Smith. He previously produced Howl, directed by Paul Hyett and starring Ed Speleers, and The Liability starring Tim Roth and Jack O’Connell.

Charlotte Bogard Macleod

Charlotte writes drama for stage, screen, radio and online. Her work has been performed on the London stage, from The Criterion Theatre to The Roundhouse. Many of her projects champion those fighting injustice, the ordinary person driven to achieve extraordinary things.

In the past, Charlotte co-founded and ran The Script Factory with Lucy Scher, Briony Hanson and Justine Hart. She has served on the film Board of The British Council, Scottish Screen and BAFTA, chairing several of the juries for their annual awards. Alongside Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille, Charlotte runs the online club DISTRACTION TACTICS, where she is The Resident Film Expert. Charlotte combines her writing career, with that of a public speaker, regularly hosting panel discussions, talks and workshops.

charlottemacleod.co.uk

Amy O’Hara

Amy O’Hara joined Film4 in October 2021 as a Development and Production Executive. Previous to that she was the BFI NETWORK Talent Executive at Film Hub North, working closely with new and emerging writers, directors and producers across a slate of short films and features. She has also worked at International Distribution company STX as a Marketing Executive across UK Productions.

Gbemisola Ikumelo

Photo credit: Rachel Sherlock

A BAFTA-winning writer, actor and director, Ikumelo is the founder and Artistic Director of FAITH Drama Productions. She has created plays such the award-winning The Den, as well as directing short film One Way before co-writing and starring in Famalam, for which she won the Royal Television Society award for Female Comedy Performance. She has appeared in more than 30 radio plays – including Radio 4’s adaptation of the classic novel Half Of A Yellow Sun – and starred in BIFA-winning film The Last Tree. Her other acting credits include Death In Paradise, Broadchurch and Sex Education, while she has recently been cast in Amazon’s TV adaptation of Penny Marshall’s film A League Of Their Own, for which she has also been a staff writer. In 2020 she won a BAFTA for her comedy short Brain In Gear, which has since been greenlit for a full BBC2 series.

Jon Wardle

In his third year of judging for The Pitch, Dr Wardle is 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.

Judging

The Pitch want to see rich adaptations, with compelling stories, told by unique candidates. To help you understand what we want here are three elements the Judges will consider:  

STORY

Here are the questions the judges will be asking of the story element of your pitch: 

Is the story clear? 
Will it make a convincing and satisfying short narrative? Will this work as a short (as opposed to a feature)? 
What is the genre? 
Who is the audience?  
Is there a central character with a satisfying journey? 

NB. This doesn’t mean the film can’t be art house or poetic – it just needs to be clear on its intent. Ambiguity, if that is the aim, is fine, confusion is not. 

ADAPTATION

This is specifically to assess the extent to which the entry engages with the biblical text and its context. Any profound engagement with a source text should help fire the imagination. 

Helpful research might include questions such as: Who wrote it?  Why? When? Where? To whom? The filmmaker may also be exploring historic understandings of the passage. So: how well do they handle the source material? Is it a reasonable transposition of the story, or an appropriate allegory or/and a sincere engagement with the meaning or theme of the source material? Does it capture the spirit of the source story/verse/theme? If an adaptation completely reverses the meaning of the original story, it is not an effective adaptation (ie, you can’t make Romeo & Juliet and – spoiler alert – have Romeo & Juliet live). We’re looking for you to genuinely engage with the text. 

CANDIDATE

Have you expressed your personality and voice in the text and video pitch? Have you expressed your filmmaking experience? You may be a less experienced candidate, but have a unique voice. However your voice and experience will both be taken into consideration. We work to champion fresh, distinct voices and not exclude people who haven’t previously made films.

What Judges Say

 

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!
Justine Hart


Previous judges

Previous judges include Oscar-winning Aardman icon Nick Park and one of Britain’s leading actors, David Oyelowo, alongside Francis Annan, David Gyasi, Paula Gooder, Stuart Hazeldine, Martin Kiszko, Rob McLellan, Linda Merric, Jolyon Mitchell, Toby Jones, Ray Panthaki, Debs Paterson, Nev Pierce, Alison Sterling, David Suchet and Toyah Willcox.


Coaches

The Pitch coaches, who help with story development and/or personal presentation, are:

David Baboulene

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

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.