The judges will select, at their own discretion, pitches they believe are equipped to impact the world through art and film. Further information is available on judging criteria and how the voting works.
Each year The Pitch is judged by a panel of experts, who help select the shortlist and then meet the finalists at Pinewood to hear their pitches in person.
Actors, directors, theologians, composers and journalists have all been part of previous panels and this year we will be announcing one judge a week as we run up to the final closing date of October 22nd.
Our first judge has been a fixture of music and movies for more than thirty years, forever staying relevant and daring, from her early turn in the iconic Quadrophenia to a recent turn in the avante garde feature film Aaaaaaaah! – along with acclaimed stage performances and Top 40 hits.
Our second week’s judge, Justine Hart, honed her expertise in screenwriting and story as she worked with The Script Factory from 2002 until 2013, developing training courses for emerging screenwriters and script developers. She is now a professional screenwriter herself.
Our third week’s judge, Ray Panthaki, is a force on both sides of the lens. A regular in ITV hit Marcella, he’ll next be seen on the big screen opposite Keira Knightley in Colette. He’s also a filmmaker himself, producing – among others – the terrific British comedies One Crazy Thing and Convenience. His feature directorial debut is in the works.
Our fourth judge, Jolyon Mitchell is an esteemed academic, author and former journalist who has served on film festival juries worldwide. He is Professor of Communications, Arts and Religion at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Centre for Theology & Public Issues, having previously been a producer and journalist for BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
Our fifth and final judge, Laurie Hutzler is a story and character consultant, as well as playwright and screenwriter, and has been creative consultant to The Pitch since 2013. She has worked with the BBC, Channel 5 and Aardman Animation, among many others, and is a consultant for Endemol and FremantleMedia. She has taught everywhere from UCLA to the Sorbonne in Paris.
Dr. David Baboulene is a published author of eight books (including The Primary Colours of Story (2018) and The Story Book, 2010), scriptwriter, story consultant and a PhD academic 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 new production company specialising in documentaries about religion, history and the arts. She worked at the BBC for over twenty 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’s just produced and directed her first film for Channel 4 revealing the little known story of Jesus’ female disciples, which is now being broadcast across the world. She is currently developing ideas for various US and UK channels and embarking on writing her first feature film script…
Laurie Hutzler has worked as a story and character consultant for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, talkbackTHAMES, Mersey Television/Lime Pictures and Aardman Animation Studio (UK), Pixar University, Disney and Dreamworks (US), Endemol Netherlands (NL), RTL, Weidemann Berg and Grundy UFA (Germany), GloboMedia (Spain) and TNT (Russia) among others. She has been a consultant for FremantleMedia across a variety of scripted and entertainment formats in the US, UK, Europe and Australia.
Laurie has written television series as a staff writer at NBC and Pax/Ion Cable Network.
She taught screenwriting and content development at the UCLA Film School graduate Screenwriting MFA program for 10 years. She teaches Master Classes for film schools or film commissions in Berlin, Cologne, Milan, Vienna, Stuttgart, Oslo, London, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, and Zurich.
Laurie is currently based in the UK on a three year Tier One Extraordinary Talent Visa.
Tom Jones is a professional musician, conductor, songwriter and arranger.
Tom studied trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to play trumpet professionally for over 10 years, playing in all of the country's major concert venues and broadcasting for BBC Television and Radio.
In 2008 Tom founded Out There Music Bristol, a unique composition of choirs and orchestras. He conducts and accompanies all the groups himself. Tom has trained extensively in the Estill Voice Model at the Royal Academy of Music in London and uses this knowledge to teach how the voice works and the best way to utilise it.
In a lifetime of studying and then working in the music profession, as a facilitator, Tom is able to share through music what he believes can also be valuable lessons in life and business.
John is a pragmatic Change Coach who nurtures the coaching and transformation capability of the teams and individuals he works with. At Optimy, he asks about the most important things a client want to focus on and then helps them shape their action plans for the outcomes they’re looking for. He helps their accountability in reaching desired outcomes and nurtures them to coach themselves and others around them. They very quickly cascade this new culture across teams to optimize their operational performance and free up time for strategic focus on their joint key future aims. He nurtures continuous improvement in the people and cascades a culture of coaching capability across the whole set of teams.
John has a BEng Honours Degree in Manufacturing and is ICF Accredited “Change Leadership and Coaching College” coach methodology from Geo Roberts of The Wilsher Group. He has 10 years experience of coaching change in Blue Chip’s and SME’s across UK and Europe.
Michelle Pascal is a BBC producer/director working on programmes such as Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow. Michelle started her career in television as a documentary editor before moving into the newsroom where she was trained as an on screen journalist for BBC Points West, reporting on daily news. She is Bristol born and bred and went to St George School (now Bristol Academy) and has a BA (Hons) in graphic design from UWE. Michelle’s passion for storytelling motivated her to produce a feature length film ‘Jackals’, a gangster film set on the mud flats of Severn Beach, all done as a personal side project.
Rebecca is known for her various roles in film, TV and theatre. Her TV appearances include The Borrowers, Ordinary Lies, Blackout, Fearless, Call The Midwife and most recently series 3 of Detectorists playing Toni.
Rebecca’s theatre appearances include Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, As You like It, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Loves Labours Lost, Antigone and Winterlong.
Anna Cox has worked at the BBC as a documentary director and producer. Her award winning films have ranged from a fly on the wall documentary for BBC2, about an experiment into prayer in the States, to numerous drama documentaries for BBC1. 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.
Dr Paula Gooder is a freelance writer and lecturer in Biblical Studies. Her research areas are the writings of Paul the Apostle (with a particular focus on 2 Corinthians), New Testament Interpretation and the development of Ministry in the New Testament Period.
She is Canon Theologian of Birmingham and Guildford Cathedrals, Lay Canon at Salisbury Cathedral, a Six preacher of Canterbury Cathedral, Vice president of the Bible Society, Visiting lecturer at King's College, London, and Associate lecturer at St Mellitus College, London. She is a Reader in the Church of England and a member of General Synod. Paula attended the finals for The Pitch in January 2013 and was a judge in January 2014. She is particularly interested in story form and keen to help the theological development of the competition.
Actor David Gyasi was born in Hammersmith, London and has appeared on Stage, TV and Screen. Currently he is filming on Christopher Nolan's Interstellar and previous screen appearances include Cloud Atlas, The Dark Knight Rises, Red Tails (all 2012), and Shooting Dogs. Amongst his many TV appearances are White Heat, Dr Who, Waking the Dead, Murderland and Law and Order, and he has appeared on stage across the UK including War Horse at the National Theatre.
Justine was with The Script Factory from 2002 until 2013, where she developed the company’s training programmes for emerging screenwriters and script developers.
For the last three years Justine has turned to screenwriting herself, working with writing partner Lucy Scher.
They have successfully attracted a producer for their first original screenplay and are currently working on a commission for Footprint Films.
Stuart Hazeldine is one of a select number of UK-based screenwriters who write exclusively for the major Hollywood studios. His first credit was the sci-fi TV movie Riverworld in 2003. In 2007 he rewrote The Day The Earth Stood Still (directed by Scott Derrickson, starring Keanu Reeves & Jennifer Connelly) and the thriller Knowing (directed by Alex Proyas, starring Nicolas Cage).
He recently adapted John Milton's epic religious fantasy poem 'Paradise Lost' to be directed by Alex Proyas in January 2011 starring Bradley Cooper, Benjamin Walker and Casey Affleck, and has just written ‘Gods and Kings', an epic retelling of the story of Moses, for producer Dan Lin (‘Sherlock Holmes') and Warner Bros.
Stuart made his directorial debut with the British psychological thriller Exam, which he also wrote, produced (with Gareth Unwin) and financed. It won the Santa Barbara Film Festival and the Bronze Hitchcock award at the Dinard Film Festival. He was nominated for a 2010 BAFTA for Best Debut.
Distinguished stage, television, and film actor Toby Jones was born on September 7, 1966 in Hammersmith, London. His parents, Freddie Jones and Jennifer Heselwood, are actors as well. Toby has two brothers: Rupert, a director, and Casper, a fellow actor. He studied Drama at the University of Manchester from 1986 to 1989, and at L'École Internationale de Théâtre in Paris under Jacques Lecoq from 1989 to 1991. Naturally, his career began on the stage (and continues there), but film and television roles came soon after his studies. This British character actor has appeared in many films including Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Mist (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and The Hunger Games (2012)
Martin has composed and orchestrated over 200 scores for film and TV. Amongst these were the landmark natural history series Land of the Eagle and Realms of the Russian Bear, in which he pioneered the recording of music samples on film locations. The diversity of Martin’s material also embraces BBC, ITV and C4 dramas including: Black Hearts in Battersea, The Levels, and The Uninvited. His TV signature tunes include: BBC’s Newsround, Food and Drink, Omnibus, Wildlife on Two and The Natural World. Martin Kiszko is an external examiner for the National Film and Television School's MA composers.
With a background in psychology, Peter Nicholas is one of the UK’s leading acting coaches. He taught at the Bristol Old Vic, as well as regularly featuring in television programmes such as Faking It and Would Like to Meet.
Over the last ten years Peter has pioneered the application of theatre and drama to the challenges of corporate life.
This work includes communication skills, motivation, creativity and innovation as well as personal impact coaching. The result is a unique blend of processes which bring about a real transformation in individuals and companies. Client organizations who have benefited include Rosche, BBC Ventures and Unilever.
David has worked in film, TV and Theatre in the UK and the USA. He played Henry VI with the RSC (d: Michael Boyd) and Prometheus in Prometheus Bound, in both London and New York. His work in TV includes Kremlin in No1. Ladies detective Agency, the last work from Anthony Minghella, and Danny in three series of the BBC programme Spooks. Recent film credits include Joe ‘Lightning’ Little in the Lucas Films epic Red Tails. He was nominated for Best Actor in the 2010 Royal Television Society Awards.
David plays the protagonist in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). He is currently in production of One Shot playing opposite Tom Cruise. He is married to the actress Jessica Oyelowo and they are currently living in Los Angeles. Both Jessica and David starred in the winning pitch for 2010: Rahab.
Mention Wallace and Gromit to almost anyone and they’ll automatically smile. The cheese-obsessed inventor and his trusty dog have become part of the national consciousness and, along with the Creature Comforts animated series, have won Nick four Oscars and six BAFTAs.
Debs is a director and writer, whose first feature Africa United was made by Pathé and BBC Films in 2010.
Debs was born in Taiwan, raised in the north of England, did A levels in the south of India and then studied literature at Cambridge. She then presented Total Football (the Match of the Day equivalent) in Singapore for the 2000-01 season, getting a co-producing credit on the show by the end of the year. Knowing that she wanted to direct movies, she moved back to London and spent the next five years working in every aspect of the industry from casting to producing, to corporate promos, charity videos, live and motion graphics and trade unions. She was in a bad car accident late 2003 which put everything on hold, but when she was fully recovered she started making short films again. Her first short in 2007 was We Are All Rwandans, filmed on location with non-professional Rwandan actors. Her second was Home - made for LA's 168 Film Festival, where she won best director. Her third was Supraman and the School of Necessity - commissioned as a finalist film for US-based contest 'The Doorpost Film Project', and shot on 16mm in Bangalore, India. Then in 2009, the idea arrived for Africa United.
Debs was nominated for the Best Debut Director BIFA for Africa United in 2010, and was a BAFTA Brit to Watch in 2011. She is currently developing a slate of new projects and splits her time between London and LA.
A filmmaker and journalist, Pierce has been on the jury of the Pitch since its foundation in 2008. His first short as director, Bricks, was described by David Fincher as a “classy take on a morbid classic”. His other shorts are Ghosted, Lock In and Promise, which he directed from a script by Pitch-finalist Hannah Lee. Never Let Me Go director Mark Romanek described the finished film as “superbly done”.
Pierce is also a journalist who has interviewed A-list actors and filmmakers for 20 years, including Angelina Jolie, Michael Fassbender, Steven Soderbergh and Jack Nicholson. He has written for Esquire and The Sunday Times, among others, and is a contributing editor for Empire magazine. For more information than you could possibly need visit nevpierce.com
Alison Sterling is a producer. Most recently she produced Flying Blind, a feature film starring Helen McCrory, directed by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, and is developing a slate of new features and TV projects.
Alison began her working life as an actress: she trained at RADA and played substantial roles in television, theatre and film. She founded and ran Moving Target Theatre Company, which produced new writing for venues such as the ICA, the Young Vic and the Edinburgh Festival, focusing on work written and directed by women. She moved into TV and film production in 1997. She previously produced eight short films, with support from UK Film Council, Creative England, BBC Films, Film4; including Turning which was BAFTA nominated and Flytopia, adapted from a story by Will Self.
She has been selected for the ACE Producer European co-production training; she sits on the Board of Encounters Short Film Festival. In 2014 she was a juror for the live action shorts competition at Encounters Film Festivals. )
Most famous for his portrayal of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, David is also an internationally acclaimed theatrical performer. He took the lead role in the play Oleanna, directed by Harold Pinter, at the Royal Court Theatre. His other TV credits include: Maxwell and The Way We Live Now. He has won two RTS awards and an Emmy.
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