VIP Jury 2019

Roland Moore, award winning TV and film writer

Roland Moore is an award-winning series creator and scriptwriter working in a wide range of genres for film and television in the UK, America, and China.

He created the BBC1 returning period drama series, LAND GIRLS, and he is currently the Head Writer on HUMANS for Endemol Shine China and Croton Media.

His children’s feature film 2:HRS recently received its theatrical premiere in the UK. He has also been commissioned to write a wartime spy drama for Jack Huston and his dystopian police series, THE LAST COP, has been optioned by Black Box Media.

He has written extensively for Big Finish writing original audio dramas for their DOCTOR WHO and SURVIVORS ranges. Other credits include WHITE OAK (feature), RASTAMOUSE, SMACK THE PONY, DOCTORS, MAN STROKE WOMAN and PETER RABBIT.

Twitter: @RolandMooreTV

Zara Ballantyne-Grove, producer

Zara Ballantyne-Grove, a member of the advisory committee of the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), is currently the COO of Upbeat Productions, a video production and software development company that creates engaging content and bespoke technology, where she has produced award winning short films which have screened at festivals around the world. Major festival screenings include Raindance Film Festival and London Short Film Festival.

Previous shorts HYPER JUMP won Best Sound at the Nottingham based International Short Film Show Awards, and I SEEK ASYLUM starring Emma Thompson won the Women Film Critics Circle Award at the Socially Relevant Film Festival in New York. Additional short film producer credits include TEETH and period drama Somatic. Zara is in production on her first documentary. THE EASY BIT is a feature length documentary about fertility treatment from the male perspective currently being entered into film festivals around the world.

Fizz and Ginger Films

Fizz and Ginger Films was established in 2009 by husband and wife team Matthew and Tori Butler Hart to produce high quality British films with both established and emerging talent. Their two most recent films, THE ISLE and TWO DOWN, have had incredible critical acclaim in the film festival circuit runs including Best Cinematography at Manchester International Film Festival, Best Horror Film at the London Independent Film Festival, Best Actor for Alex Hassell at the Artemis Women in Action Film Festival in Los Angeles, The Grand Jury Prize at the Amsterdam International Film Festival, and Manchester International Film Festival for Best UK Film, to name a few.

Tori trained at Central School of Speech and Drama on the 3 year BA Hons Acting course. After graduating she co-founded and continues to run Mr. Hart’s Productions, specialising in work with an historical element. She continues to work professionally as an actress, and to produce and write films with Fizz and Ginger Films. Matthew trained at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance on the BA Hons Acting course. Over the past fourteen years he has been working professionally as an actor, writer and director. Through his experience and varied work within the industry, he has cemented his passion for film making which has been realised in Fizz and Ginger Films.

Twitter: @fizzandginger

John Byrne, Writer for The Stage, Author and Acting coach 

John Byrne

John Byrne is the Entertainment Industry Career Advisor to The Stage newspaper and Young Performer magazine and has over 30 years of experience as a writer, broadcaster and performer in his own right. He has lectured extensively at institutions ranging from LAMDA to Fourth Monkey, has hosted special events for Spotlight, and been a guest expert for Equity’s Variety Workshops. Media and Publications work has included BBC TV and Radio, E4, Nickelodeon TV , Sky News, and BBC London Radio as a regular guest contributor and commentator. He has written scripts for Radio 4, Five and for the BBC World Service for whom he created its first ever comedy talk show The Junction Box. Published books include A Singer’s Guide to Getting Work (with Julie Payne), A Dancer’s Guide to Getting Work (with Jenny Belingy), Writing Comedy (now in its 4th edition), and The Agent E-Book (with Mary Elliott Nelson). John is co-director with Lola Williams of New Wonder Management and in 2016 received the IARA Special Recognition Award for promoting Diversity in the Performing Arts.

Twitter: @dearjohnbyrne

Laura Smith, award winning director

Laura Smith director

Laura is an award-winning film and television writer and director. Her feature films in development include horror MONSTER- selected for the CANNES FILM FESTIVAL/ FRONTIÈRES Co-Production Market in Montreal and described by INDIEWIRE as “an intriguing marriage of the psychological and the visceral”; a supernatural thriller set in rural England (finance from CREATIVE EUROPE) and an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation as part of Lunar Lander Film’s BFI VISION AWARD funded slate. Her first feature script- a thriller set in outback Australia- won the BBC FILMS/ NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL Development Award.
Her short films include commissions from CHANNEL 4 and the BFI and were filmed on location in the UK, Germany and Australia. She has directed over fifteen hours of television drama commissioned in the UK and sold worldwide, including working on all three series of BBC teen-drama THE CUT, children’s action adventure THE SPARTICLE MYSTERY (BBC) and CHANNEL 4’s multi BAFTA winning HOLLYOAKS. Laura is a graduate of the UK’s NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL and an alumnus of the prestigious GUIDING LIGHTS mentoring programme, FILM LONDON’s Micromarket and CREATIVE EUROPE’s Passion to Market feature development schemes.

Twitter: @LauraSDirector

Casting Director Shakyra Dowling

An amazing Casting Director, Shakyra Dowling Casting is responsible for casting so many incredible award-winning pieces, cinema releases, Netflix films and more. Specializing in British Independent Feature Films, European co-productions, TV and commercials, Shakyra is also part of the Casting Directors Association and a voting member of the European Film Academy and a member of the Casting Society of America.

Credits include Clay Kickers (Sam Hazeldine, Tom Goodman-Hill), The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013), Look Again and Again (2016) and Spaceship (2017) as well as TV Moscow Noir and Coconut.

Twitter: ShakyraDowling