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March 27, 2013 @ 5:24 pm Posted in News Comments

New comedy writers will have their work showcased at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival and the New York Television Festival. Call for applications now open!

London, 27 March: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and Rocliffe today announced a call out for scripts from emerging comedy screenwriters for a chance to showcase their work in front of the cream of the UK and US television industry at two major international television festivals. For the first time, the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum will take place at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF) in August, as well as for a third consecutive year at the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) in October.

Places for both events are open to British UK-based comedy screenwriters who have not yet had a television series commissioned, although they may have broadcast writing credits. The successful entries will be selected by an industry jury of comedy professionals from the UK and US. The jury for the NYTVF in 2012 included Jennifer Saunders, Chris Addison, Vicki Pepperdine, Andrew Newman, Damon Beesley, John Morton, Kevin Cecil, Mark Freeland, Shane Allen, Margot Gavan Duffy, Jill Offman, Saskia Schuster.

Last year's winning entry was performed by actors in front of an audience. See link below for how to apply.

BAFTA, with its branches in New York and in Scotland, and Rocliffe are offering this opportunity in partnership with British Airways, GEITF and the NYTVF, and the chosen writers will receive:

  • ·         A BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum showcase featuring professional actors performing their work in front of an industry audience at MGEITF or the NYTVF. Audience members across the festivals will include representatives from BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, Comedy Central, Sky, FOX, FX, VH1, MTV, IFC and major independent production companies;
  • ·         Feedback during the event from top TV industry guests – gaining vital tips and encouragement. Previous guests at NYTVF have included Jenni Konner (Girls) and Phil Rosenthal (Everybody Loves Raymond);
  • ·         One-to-one development mentoring sessions by top UK and US comedy commissioners and independent production companies;
  • ·         A MGEITF festival pass and/or a New York Television Festival ‘Official Artist’ pass;
  • ·         Pitch training;
  • ·         Travel and accommodation for the festival for which they are selected;
  • ·         One-to-one meetings with top UK talent agents;
  • ·         Bespoke industry networking opportunities.

The writers who took part in last year’s NYTVF have received a very positive reception to their work. Writing partners Matthew Barry and Kayleigh Llewellyn said: “Winning BAFTA Rocliffe New York 2012 was akin to being awarded a Golden Ticket into the industry. It was the launching pad we needed to bring our project to the attention of the top comedy commissioners. Since returning from New York our script,Grey, has been optioned by Company Pictures and is currently in development with the BBC for a BBC One primetime series. We are also developing a second project with Objective Productions and have signed with a top literary agent. All of these opportunities were afforded to us because of BAFTA Rocliffe.”

Sarah Courtauld has been hired as a writer on a new sketch show, The Kerry Howard Show, slated for BBC Three in 2013, she also won the Hasbro Studios development deal with a children’s TV concept, Buckle and Swash at the NYTVF in 2012.

Jury Chair Andrew Newman, said: “We encourage any budding comedy writer, whatever their background, to apply. Participants will continue the legacy of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum which, for over 13 years now, has helped launch the careers of new writing talent.”

Director of the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Louise Benson said:

”The TV Festival is constantly seeking ways to identify and support new talent so I’m very proud to be partnering with BAFTA and Rocliffe. The scheme will join a suite of opportunities we provide for stars of the future and I can’t wait to see the finalists’ work in Edinburgh!”

Founder and Executive Director of the NYTVF, Terence Gray, said: “We’re honored to continue our relationship with BAFTA and Rocliffe and look forward to welcoming the 2013 writers to the NYTVF in October. There’s an incredible demand for great comedic voices and creators in the US television market right now and we’re thrilled that this unique partnership provides a viable State-side showcase for great UK-based talent.”

Farah Abushwesha co-founder of Rocliffe said: “We have seen first-time writers plucked from obscurity to become the next new players on the television comedy stage with both option deals and representation. It proves UK talent has universal appeal.  This scheme is about supporting new writers, finding the diamonds in the rough, giving their work the polish it deserves and ultimately helping them gain paid employment.”

The closing date for entries for the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF) and the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) is 22 May, 2013. Applicants must submit a ten page extract from their sit-com or sketch show for consideration for the schemes. Each script will be considered for both events albeit different writers may be selected for each event.

All writers who submit receive an industry standard report to enable them to progress their idea.

@BAFTA and @Rocliffeforum will hold several online tweetups to answer writers’ questions, using the hashtag #EnterRocliffe.

Full application details and terms and conditions can be found at:

by Amy Walker

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