The Pitch is judged each year by a panel of prestigious film industry figures.
The jury of judges is made up of experts from disciplines across the field – producing, directing and acting.
Lebanese filmmaker Nour Wazzi’s feature directorial debut Locked In reached number one worldwide on Netflix in November this year. Written by Rowan Joffe (28 Weeks Later), and produced by Nicky Bentham (Moon) and Alison Jackson (Tin Star), it stars Famke Janssen (X-Men), Rose Williams (The Power) and Anna Friel (‘Marcella’).
Following a number of award-winning shorts and BBC3’s ‘The Break’, Nour directed on the Netflix sci-fi adventure show The Last Bus, which aired in April 2022, making her the first Arab in the UK to break into high-end TV. She is repped by Independent Talent (UK) and Lit Entertainment Group (U.S).
Jassa Ahluwalia is a British actor, writer and filmmaker. Born in Coventry, raised in Leicester, he came to prominence as loveable badboy Rocky in the hit BBC Three series Some Girls, followed by starring roles in Unforgotten, Ripper Street, and Peaky Blinders. Jassa is the creator of the hashtag #BothNotHalf, which he uses to explore mixed identity and his own British-Indian heritage. His TEDx talk has clocked up over 150k views and his BBC One documentary, Am I English?, aired in April 2022. He is currently writing his first book - Both Not Half - to be published in 2024 by Bonnier Books UK. He has also directed the shorts Heart's Ease (2018) and Near (2022).
Matthew Page has been studying Cinema and the Bible for over 20 years. His book 100 Bible Films was published by the British Film Institute in May 2022. He has written for numerous academic publications on the subject of film adaptations of the Bible as well as running his well-known Bible Films Blog since 2006. He's also spoken about film and the Bible on Channel 4, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Leicester and frequently appears as a guest on podcasts discussing the subject.
Karol is a development consultant, producer, script editor, writing coach and mentor with 20+ years of industry experience, including working with the Coen Brothers, Steven Spielberg, Seth Macfarlane, Pamela Fryman, Lynda La Plante and many of the major studios and Indie production companies. writing and film programs and Universities around the world.
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!
Previous judges include Oscar-winning Aardman icon Nick Park and one of Britain’s leading actors, David Oyelowo, alongside BAFTA winner Gbemisola Ikumelo, HIS HOUSE producer Martin Gentles, Film4 Development Executive Amy O'Hara and Script Factory co-founder Charlotte Bogard Macleod. Other previous judges have included Francis Annan, David Gyasi, Paula Gooder, Stuart Hazeldine, Martin Kiszko, Rob McLellan, Linda Marric, Jolyon Mitchell, Toby Jones, Ray Panthaki, Debs Paterson, Nev Pierce, Alison Sterling, David Suchet and Toyah Willcox.
Prior to the Final itself there are two stages of selection. 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 Finalists are chosen from this group by the Finals jury.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The Pitch coaches, who help with story development and/or personal presentation, are:
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.